Tony Clark, Executive Director of MLB Players Association, looks on...

Tony Clark, Executive Director of MLB Players Association, looks on prior to Game 1 of the World Series between the Diamondbacks and the Rangers at Globe Life Field on Oct. 27, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. Credit: TNS/Stacy Revere

TAMPA, Fla. — Tony Clark seems very much ready to talk about something else publicly.

The executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association is making his usual tour of big-league camps at this time of year to meet with his membership. In the early stages of those visits, he heard complaints about one topic in particular: the uniforms.

This year’s uniforms, designed by Nike and manufactured by Fanatics, have drawn the ire of players across the sport. The most common criticism has been the see-through nature of the pants.

“The idea that it was a topic and has been a topic of conversation when we really should be talking about which teams are best positioned to be the last team standing, you just don’t expect to have conversations about uniforms,” Clark told Newsday and The Associated Press on Thursday afternoon after meeting with Yankees players.

One picture especially, that of the Giants' Casey Schmitt, went viral because of . . .  well, the see-through nature of the pants. 

In a recent statement to the Wall Street Journal, Major League Baseball said: “The uniform pants have the same material and thickness as the uniform pants used last season. There were changes to the fabric of the jersey, not the pants."

Still, few in the game were able to recall seeing a spring training picture like the Schmitt one before.

Clark, who played 15 years in the majors, said his first reaction upon seeing the photo was from the perspective of a player and not as the MLBPA executive director.

“Having worn cleats and understanding and appreciating the importance of a uniform that fits well and not having to worry about whether or not a slide into second is going to reveal more than it should at any given time,” Clark said of his thoughts.

There have been discussions with the involved parties and, despite the league’s initial nothing-to-see-hear-folks reaction, player criticism has seemed to die down a bit in the last week.

“It’s calm because the commentary that’s being offered suggests that the powers that be are paying attention to the concerns that are there and are engaging in how best to address them moving forward,” Clark said. “And so the tension that was drawn early, the concerns still exist. We’re hopeful that as we sprint toward Opening Day over the course of the next month or so that we don’t have a second batch of commentary around the pants when the lights come on."

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