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Say It Loud: I'm a Low-Cuffer and I'm Proud

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Uni Watch Blog readers who’ve worn their baseball pants down low were asked to explain why they opted for that style. Here are some of the responses:

“I was forced to go low in high school because it’s what the majority of our team chose (I was in the minority). I found it better for several reasons: (1) It’s more comfortable, like wearing pajamas. lus I was a catcher, so the shinguards fit much more comfortably over the full-length pants. Squatting on bunched-up high pants can get old, too. (2) If we had cool striped socks, I would have dealt with the discomfort, but we always had just plain, boring socks so I never saw a need to show them off. Plus I have large calf muscles, so it was difficult to find socks that fit me the way I would have liked. (3) Low-cuffed is how major leaguers do it, and I want to do things exactly how I see the best in the game do it, from the way I throw to the way I wear my hat, sunglassess, pants, etc.” — Kevin Adkins

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“My cousin plays baseball at Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri. Their baseball team, the Roughriders, receives a uniform allotment from Nike at the beginning of the season, and all the pants are baggy, with the elastic cuff band pre-removed. He says that they fit like jeans.” — Justin Bates
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“I play baseball at Emerson College up in Boston, and I’m proud to say I’ve been a low-cuffer since my sophomore year of high school. I wear Rawlings Pro Flares. I must say, things have gotten a lot easier for us low-cuffers since Rawlings and other brands have come out with ‘baggy pro-style’ pants in the past few years. Before, I always had to buy unhemmed pants (37″ inseam, typically) and choose a larger size to ensure they’d have a baggy fit, and then hem them to about 34 inches. Anyway, I like going low-cuffed and baggy because I think it’s 100 times more comfortable, I like the way it looks, and I look pretty foolish sporting the high-cuff style, because it makes my lower leg look really short Some people just can’t pull off high cuffs properly — you need to have the proper upper- to lower-leg ratio. Also, if someone has little chicken legs, they don’t need to making it worse by going high-cuffed. In addition, I find that low-top cleats look way better with the high cuffs — it’s all about maximizing the amount of sock that is shown.” — Jeff Buege
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“When I played baseball in high school, all the goodie-goodies, suck-ups and coaches’ pets went high-cuffed. So in my own mini act of rebellion and non-conformism, I decided I had to go low-cuffed. It was also easier to maintain, and it just looked cooler to me.” — Mike Chamernik
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“I wear low-cuffed baseball pants for one practical reason. Most of our games are at night in the summer, and the mosquitoes are so bad out here that they’ll bite right through your socks, so the choice is to go low-cuffed or cover myself in Off (which I can’t stand). We generally have one trip to Florida for a tournament every year and you can get the occasional fire ant infestation — another reason for the longer pants. I do wear pants with elastic cuffs, though. I tried going elastic-less and I didn’t like dirt and pebbles going up the pants on slides.” — Russ A. Dewey
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“I started trying the low pants style six or seven years ago, when I saw big leaguers going with the over-the-cleat look. I cut small holes in each side of the pants, just above the elastic. Tied a piece of lace in one side, put my cleat on, and than wrapped it around and tied the other side. I also tried sewing the lace into the pants. This would work for a few innings, but the first time I would dive or slide, there was way too much tension and the strings would break. A few years ago, I finally found some pants that hung over the cleat, and they really are comfortable to play in. I like hearing the pajama reference, because it does feel like you are wearing PJs.” — Kevin Dugal
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“I played high school baseball from 2000-2002 and I liked my pants down, in part because I like my real-life pants and jean baggy — I am 6’3”, 250, so I’ve always hated tight pants. I am now a high school coach and I still like the baggy pants, but the super-baggy pants look stupid. Also having the pants hooked into the back spike I will not allow. You can cover your shoes, but to have your back cleat spiked through your pants is totally bush league and will not be tolerated.” — James Dupler
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“The first time I remember going low-cuffed was when I was 12 or 13. Frank Thomas was one of my favorite players, so I tried to match his look. My parents bought me a pair of high-top cleats and I would pull my pants down low and actually tie them into my shoes because the elastic would cause them to ride back up. In high school our coach had us go high-cuffed, and in college I went back and forth between the two styles. A few years ago a guy on my men’s league team said he could get us a deal on some pants, so I went all in and bought these. They’re the most comfortable pants I’ve ever worn. The only problem is I bought mine the same size as I wear jeans so they’re too long, so I’ve had problems stepping on them while I play. I’ve been able to shrink them down pretty well over the last few years but whenever it rains or is humid they get wet and start to get loose.” — Jose A. Frontanes
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“There are obvious reasons to going low-cuffed, the most obvious being comfort. That includes the added protection the long pants provide when sliding. I have witnessed many strategies for keeping your pants low-cuffed, including pulling the back of the pants thru the back spike (hate this, ruins the pants), cutting two small holes in the front of your pants and tying your shoelaces thru them, dampening the bottoms of the pants and hanging bricks in them to stretch overnight, and also just tucking them directly into your shoes.” — Casey Garms
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“A full team in high cuffs is definitely a sharp look on the field, but I think that’s where the benefits end. I tried going high-cuffed one season and found it to be somewhat itchy, and during cold-weather games early in the season (I’m in Canada) the wind would blow right through the socks, leaving my lower legs freezing cold. I picked up lots of nicks and cuts on my lower legs. I also found it to be a pain to keep the level of my pants even — any slide, or even just the wear and tear of running, would make things uneven and I’d need to readjust. Also, at this younger level, there were no dressing rooms, so we did a lot of things in uniform — long road trips, visits to restaurants and convenience stores, that sort of thing. In these situations, when you’re wearing sandals and a jacket, you want to blend in to a certain extent, and high bright red socks can certainly make you stand out in a non-baseball crowd. The next season I went back to longer pants. They’re just easier to deal with — you put them on and don’t think about it again until you take them off. I once tried experimenting with removing the elastic — in hindsight, I have no idea why — and quickly found that it looked lousy and was a good way to fill your pants up with dirt.” — D.G.
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“I play high school ball for the Beacon School in Manhattan. Our whole
team has the pajama pants look because, as you can see here, our pants don’t even have elastic cuffs. The place where we get all our gear and uniforms doesn’t even sell elastic-cuffed pants and they basically make uniforms for almost all the teams in Manhattan.” — Dylan Horowitz
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“I grew up wearing high cuffs all the time through Little League and into Babe Ruth League. But halfway through my sophomore high school season, I noticed that there was too much material at my knees when catching, so I started to wear my pants down and still showed some sock. When the fad really became to wear them over the shoes I followed suit, cutting out the elastic so I didn’t have to always pull the cuffs down to the shoetops.” — Ryne Jungling
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“I am 33 years old, have played high school and college baseball, and currently play beer league softball, and I’ve always worn my pants as low as I can get them. I tried going high-cuffed for a couple of games, but it was so uncomfortable. The bunching of pant and sock material around my upper calf was very irritating.” — Jacob Kuriakose
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“There’s a benefit to PJs has made me switch to them, and it may be a reason many of the pros do as well: After two ’scopes and rehab, I frequently need to wear my knee brace, which virtually impossible to wear with high pants. Either the elastic can’t stretch over the brace (and the protective sleeve you slide over it for baseball) or you have to wear the brace outside which means you can’t slide on that leg. The long, baggy pants allow me to put on my suit of armor and still look relatively normal.” — Nathan Long
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“All throughout Little League, I wore my pants pulled up to my knees (I even had my mom customize the length of my pants so I didn’t have all that extra fabric just sitting there). But as I got into junior high I began to get annoyed with constantly having to fix my pants whenever they began sliding down. So in my freshman year I started wearing my pants down, but pajama-style pants weren’t available to the public yet, so I just cut a slit in the cuff, essentially rendering the elastic useless. Once I was able to get pants with an extra long inseam, I did. For me, it’s a comfort thing.” — Samuel McAlear
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“I wore my pants high-cuffed all throughout Little League, but when I got to high school, I was made to wear my pants low. My coach was a former player in the Indians system, and he told us that a high cuff clearly showed your knee and therefore clearly defined the lower part of the strike zone. He said that an umpire is less likely to call a lower strike on a low-cuffed player.” — Josh McDaniel
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“Being the only non-Dominican player in my fast-pitch softball league, I wanted to make an effort to fit in with the guys, so I went online and found the biggest pants I could find and bought them. I could not believe how big a response I got when I showed up at the first game of the season wearing the ‘Dominican style.’ There were so many guys patting me on the back, saying, ‘Check out the white guy rocking the pants,’ it made me feel welcome. Wearing this style does have some drawbacks — the cuffs of your pants get dirty and get holes in them from where you hook them around the bottom of your cleats, so each season you need to pick up a new pair. Other than that, you can’t beat the comfort. — Michael Niekamp
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“I play on an amateur team in Wisconsin and I wear my pants low, with the elastic cut out. I have two main reasons for this. First, and most importantly, I find it far more comfortable. When I wore my socks up, I couldn’t stand the feeling of elastic constantly digging in to my knees. Second, I refuse to wear my cuffs high unless I’m wearing actual stirrups, since I think the soccer socks look is no good at all. Finding actual stirrups, though, is not always easy, and it requires some online digging. I am not against the stirrup look, but the comfort and convenience of wearing low cuffs are too great to pass up. — Luke Nowinski
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“I used to wear high pants in Little League. But when I was around 10 or 11, I was put on a travel team and I needed a new pair of pants. My dad went out and got me a pair of gray baseball pants, and when I tried them on I noticed they weren’t super-tight — way more comfortable. And I didn’t have to worry about fixing the elastic band at the end of the pants. (I don’t know about you but I can’t stand the elastic band, which is annoying and uncomfortable). So from then on out I would always buy those same type of pants, even if my team wore a different brand.” — Joe Plate
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“I grew up playing baseball and I always wore stirrups and was proud of it. But when I got to the University of North Dakota in the mid-1990s, the pants were cut to the ankle, so you had to go out of your way to show socks, and I wasn’t a star so I just thought I should fit in and not stand out. I rememer being in the bullpen and asking my teammates, ‘Don’t you guys think they’re making our pants a little too long now?’ Little did I know how much longer they’d get.” — Adam Nelson
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“I used to show off my socks, but in my senior year (2000)= we got updated uniforms, including pajama pants. I tried to go high-cuffed, as I had in the past, but they were too baggy around my knees. I eventually got used to the pajama look, and found it greatly was superior to the high-cuff style when sliding. Now when i play softball, I wear a baggier pant in the event I might have to slide or dive.” — JC Prescott
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“During my freshman year of high school, one set of pants from my summer AAU team was a little big on me, so I opted to wear them down. I played first base and pitched, and soon I started to prefer the cuffs down. First off, it felt more comfortable, and second I felt that umpires call lower strikes when you’re high-cuffed because they can use your socks as a guideline for the low strike.” — Brandon Schwartz
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“I play high school ball, and the pants the gave us were kind of big, so I cut out the elastic and hooked them to the bottom of the cleat, like most Dominicans. I find it to be more comfortable and easier to maintain. If I had my choice I would probably wear the high pants with stirrups, which I was going to do, but Sports Authority was out of stirrups and gray pants.” — Sam Shillet
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“I used to be a diehard high-cuffs guy. Butduring my sophomore year of college I fell into a bit of a slump and decided to pull the cuffs down. What I hadn’t realized was how much more comfortable it was. I never had to worry about readjusting the cuffs after a slide or dive, which was quite a nuisance on the basepaths. From that point on I decided to wear my pants cuff down, except when my team-issued pants did not reach all the way to the cleat, creating the ‘floods’ look. If that was the case, I would go high-cuffed.” — Michael Sparks
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“I think the pajama look is so attractive because it replicates the popular look of jeans gathered over the shoe, so that the whole shoe is not visible. I used to cut the elastic out and sew in straps to keep the pants down, or pull them over my ankle and tuck them in my shoe, or pull them over the back of my spike. I only modified them because no one sold pants long enough to wear pajama-style. The only reason for the elastic is to keep the pants up high so when people wear long pants with elastic it makes no sense. I say go pajama, like a real pair of pants.” — Jamin Svendsen
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“Unless you have a nice pair of pants with medium-strength elastic in the bottom, going high-cuffed can cut off the circulation to your lower legs. It is just more comfortable to let the pants hang. Also, it is a proven fact that girls love, and I mean LOVE, high cuffs, so when a dude rocks the high cuff he can be seen as a pretty boy or whipped because his girlfriend made them do it.” — Lendsey Thomson
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“I am the high school and Legion coach in my hometown. I tell my guys, you can wear your pants two ways: all the way to the top of your shoelaces or cuffed right underneath the kneecap. Of the 17 kids on the varsity roster, all wear their pants down to the shoe. I think we look great, and I have received nothing but compliments from other coaches, many of whom want to know where they can find the custom-length pant because their kids want the same look. You get more protection on the lower leg during the pop-up or hook slide. Much more comfortable, no elastic squeezing your calf, and it looks good. I am all for tradition and history, but to me it’s a no-brainer: The longer the better!” — Colby Van Bockern
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“I am currently a D3 baseball player at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. All the players on the team wear their pants low because the pants are specifically made to be worn down. There’s no way to wear them up because they’re too baggy and there’s no elastic at the bottom of the cuff. … I personally hate the low-cuffed look. I feel like the extra bagginess slows me down and restricts the movement of my legs. Plus, it just doesn’t look as classy as going high-cuffed.” — Kevin U. Wilson
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“While playing college ball at TCU (1994-98), I personally went medium-cuffed with stirrups, but we had several people that chose the low-cuff style. I remember asking one of the guys why he chose to take the elastic out of the bottom of his pants and go with the ‘Dockers’ look. He said he thought it made his legs appear longer. Our shortstop (who was also short in stature) agreed with him and said it helped make him not look like a midget.” — James Wortham
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“I love the look of pants up and socks showing, but I started wearing them down for comfort. I played catcher, so when I caught and wore pants up, the pants would bunch up where straps of my shinguards are located, right in back of knee. From crouching and the straps and pants being bunched up behind knee, it was just uncomfortable. So I went to pajama pants.” — Joseph Young