Baseball's got a new merchandising partner, and it is one of the last companies you'd expect to be selling gear emblazoned with baseball logos. Victoria's Secret is producing items for six different teams, which would seem like a good way to capture the sizable market that enjoys watching both David Ortiz and Adriana Lima strut their stuff.
Alas, it isn't frilly underthings being sold, but t-shirts and sweats and the like through the company's Pink brand. The shirts are relatively inoffensive, and would make a nice enough gift for a guy looking to share his baseball fandom -- so long as he roots for the Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Phillies or White Sox -- with an uninterested wife, girlfriend, sister or daughter.
What's harder to figure out is why a female baseball fan would buy one for herself. Women can enjoy everything about baseball exactly the same way that men do, right down to wearing t-shirts that are actually in the team's colors. The female fans I spoke to about this line found it more than a little patronizing to be treated as if they were some kind of foreign entity that could only be approached through specific avenues.
The game doesn't have to appeal to their femininity in some particular way to get them interested, something that baseball continually misunderstands in their hamhanded attempts to draw women to the game. You've had the pink hats, the Dodgers instituting a broadcast specifically for women and other misfires in the past. It's safe to add this line to the list.
After all, if it were directed at serious baseball fans, would they be selling Red Sox shirts with the number 86 on the back? That's a number with some pretty positive connotations in New England. It may be some kind of corporate branding deal, but it really speaks to the cynical nature of the clothing line that they don't even notice a connection between the team and the number on the back. Can't wait for their Pearl Harbor '41 tank tops, though.