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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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As "sweep suit" anniversary approaches, Brewers relax their dress code


Over the next several weeks, Brewers fans can feel free to worry about the health of Ben Sheets, the inconsistent starting pitching, the sometimes lackluster defense or whether or not the club will retain the services of leftfielder Carlos Lee.

All of those topics are fair game.

One thing fans won't have to worry about, though, is a return of the "sweep suit."

Sweep suits became part of franchise lore nearly five years ago. After sweeping three games from the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Brewers players pulled on some outlandishly freaky suits for a charter flight to Pittsburgh. The "sweep suits," which had been held for just such an occasion, were supposed to represent a show of team unity and set the tone for a run at a winning record and / or a wild-card berth.

Things didn't work out that way.

After wearing the sweep suits, the Brewers traveled to Pittsburgh with lofty dreams and a 38-34 record and ended up on the losing end of a four-game sweep. They finished the season by losing 60 of their final 90 games and limped to the finish line with a 68-94 mark.

Saturday marks the five-year anniversary since the sweep suits were unveiled.

How do we know it won't happen again? How do we know history won't repeat?

Simple.

Brewers manager Ned Yost has relaxed the team's dress code for flights. Suits were never mandatory, though many players wore them. Sportcoats, however, were required apparel for every team flight until Yost relaxed the code before a trip to Cincinnati last week. Jackets are now optional, and the players are happy.

"The first thing we did when we got on the play was shed them, anyway," righ tfielder Geoff Jenkins said.

Damian Miller, who enjoyed a relaxed dress code in Arizona, agreed.

"I always wondered who we were dressing up for," he said. "Most of the time when we travel, the only people who see us are security guards and bellhops."

Minnesota recently relaxed its sportcoat policy, too. Some teams, notably the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals, allow players to wear jeans on team flights. Yost isn't going to go that far. Brewers players must wear khakis or dress slacks and they are not permitted to wear logo-emblazoned golf shirts.

When asked about the change in policy, one player said "I guess Robin (Yount, the bench coach) finally wore Ned down."

Yost said that Yount, who is not a fan of dressing up, was not a major factor in the decision, which he added was temporary. "It was more the players than anything else," he said. "We wanted them to be comfortable. We're just doing it for the summer."

With a trip to Atlanta and Miami looming on the schedule, the players aren't about to complain.

"It kind of felt weird coming to the field last week without a jacket," reliever Matt Wise said. "The whole time I was like "I hope I'm not the only one. Please, don't let me be the only guy to take advantage of this."

Wise was relieved to discover that he wasn't alone. When the Brewers board their plane for Kansas City today, only the forgetful or the traditional will still be wearing jackets.

"I'll still wear one," hitting coach Butch Wynegar said.

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