In the days leading up to the mid-summer classic, a somewhat unnerving development has surfaced in regards to the color of Brandon Phillips's glove.
The manufacturer of Phillips' mitt, Wilson, is being sued by Rawlings for trademark infringement as a result of Cincinnati's second baseman sporting a glove with gold webbing and stitching.
The St. Louis-based company has trademark rights on the words "Gold Glove Award", and has had so since 1957. According to the suit, it's competitor, Wilson, violated copyright law by staging promotional photos with Phillips wearing the glove.
According to Courthouse News Service, Rawlings is seeking monetary damages for trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution and false advertising; moreover, it wants to disband Wilson from ever manufacturing and distributing the glove again.
In the lawsuit (via Deadspin), Rawlings repeatedly describes baseball's only defensive award as "prestigious," adding it "is one of the most recognized and coveted awards in baseball."
That said, it's easy to confirm that statement merely because it's the only defensive award in baseball. Unlike the National Basketball Association, which honors it's top defenders with first and second team selections, in addition to honorable mentions, Major League Baseball selects just nine players from each league to win the award.
A better "P" word to describe the Gold Glove award would be prevalent only because it has no other competition in baseball.
It's easy to both understand and respect tradition in baseball, but the fact that the game has outsourced it's top defensive honor to a private entity seems a bit—words fail me now—untraditional. For example, you don't see Bauer shelling out golden sticks for the NHL's top goal scorer; nor does Nike hand out a pair of golden Air Yeezy's for the NBA's top defender at each position.
Now reaching full-circle, this relates to Phillips because he's caught in the webbing of a lawsuit coated in pine tar—sticky at the onset and, in my opinion, an unnecessary allocation of time and money.
If anything, the three-time Gold Glove winner—most notably in 2011—is paying homage to the award by wearing a golden accented glove. Like Rawlings said itself, it arguably is a prestigious award and Phillips, and Wilson for that matter, seem to believe that as well.
Prohibiting a player from wearing a glove he chooses to use, again, seems a bit nontraditional for America's pastime.
Michael Johnson wasn't reprimanded in Atlanta '96 for wearing gold spikes in his races, nor was he forbidden from doing so in the first place. The Olympics are where the "Gold-First Place" standard began, so could the International Olympic Committee file suit against Rawlings? If so, where does it stop?
The aforementioned scenario might be a bit extreme, but the point must be made that this whole situation is fruitless. It would be best for Rawlings to drop the suit against Wilson and let Phillips, and the rest of the league, focus on what it needs to do: provide entertainment this All-Star week.
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