Remember those rad, “non-conforming” shoes that Mike Clevinger wore last month? The one’s that got him a slap on the wrist from the fun-hating Major League Baseball?
Well, if negotiations between the MLB and the MLB Player’s Association go well, he may be able to wear them — or another creative design — sometime soon.
Anddddddddd I’m backkkkkkkkkk ✌️ https://t.co/zkm5b9spKQ— Mike Clevinger (@Mike_Anthony13) June 28, 2018
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the two sides are working on a deal to “loosen restrictions” on the type of designs that players can have on their footwear. Clevinger is the first player that comes to mind for this, as he was vocal about having his custom cleats and the fine that came afterwards. He also recently wore batting gloves decked out in Lilo and Stitch and Moana art, but we’ve yet to hear anything about a fine.
How loose MLB would be willing to go is up in the air, but at the very least they should be aiming to allow designs like Clevinger’s (and the all-black look of Ben Zobrist) to continue. They’re harmless, fun, and it brings attention to a player’s personality and the game itself.
The one thing I do agree with MLB on is in regards to companies trying to turn the shoes into walkable billboards. As Passan said in his article:
While the league fears that brands could abuse a blank-slate policy and turn cleats into guerrilla marketing vehicles, it also understands that in its attempts to reach younger fans, shoe culture is a powerful force and a market in which baseball has no stake.
That’s a pretty reasoned stance by Major League Baseball, if you ask me. I know they’re doing it solely to make teams pay for advertising, but anything that leads to less advertising on uniforms is easily defensible.
Regardless of the outcome of negotiations, I hope we haven’t seen the end of the creativity of Clevinger and players like him. The original cleats he wore were neat as heck, the mother’s day shoes were outstanding and a great dedication to his wife and kids, and his batting gloves — while they might draw the ire of the IP-protecting Disney Corporation — were so well done and I kind of want a pair even though I’ll never pick up a bat.
I want to live in a baseball world where players can do things like this and talk about it on Twitter. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll be allowed to have personalities someday.