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Ben Zobrist isn’t a fan of the new MLB cleat crackdown

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Zobrist is the most recent player to get a warning letter

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this past week, baseball Twitter was ignited in a wave of “You’ve got to be kidding me” controversy, when Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger shared a screenshot of a letter he had received from MLB officials. The letter indicated that Clevinger was in violation of MLB uniform policy when he opted to wear some custom cleats during a game, and warned that if he continued to ignore the MLB policy he might be fined, or subject to disciplinary action.

In general, the online consensus was that this was a ridiculous rule to enforce. Clevinger’s cleats had been decorated in a charcoal and pink pattern with an East Indian theme. Nothing about the colors or the graphic was distracting or offensive. In fact, from a distance I can’t imagine even the most eagle-eyed batter would have even known there was a design on the shoes.

Clevinger, not ready to take this laying down, posted that he’d be sporting the following over the Mother’s Day weekend (when pink cleats are incidentally allowed).

And now, it seems that Clevinger isn’t the only player being targeted by MLB. They’ve also come for Ben Zobrist. What pattern or image did Zobrist display that had him in violation of the rules you might ask? None whatsoever. Zobrist’s crime is in his penchant for sporting throwback black cleats during Wrigley day games.

Yes, you read that right. Zobrist is being singled out for punishment because he likes to wear plain black cleats once or twice a week.

His statement is as polite and Ben Zobrist-like as one might imagine, but when a player like Zobrist is calling out your bizarre and archaic policies, maybe it’s time for the MLB to adjust their thinking on this matter.

Because, quite honestly, they have more pressing matters to think about than whether or not a cleat is at least 51% blue.

Update: Rather than take player comments to heart, the MLB issued the following statement about custom cleats:

“We have shoe regulations that were negotiated with the union in the last round of bargaining. If players have complaints about the regulations, they should contact their union which negotiated them. We have informed the union that we are prepared to negotiate rules providing players with more flexibility, and that issue is currently being discussed as part of a larger discussion about apparel and equipment.”