MLB, MLBPA in Discussions to Loosen Footwear Rules Amid Criticism

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 16:  View of the baseball cleats worn by Andrew McCutchen #22 of the San Francisco Giants as he waits on deck in the seventh inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Changes may soon be on the way for Major League Baseball's footwear policy. 

According to Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, MLB and the MLB Players Association are in the midst of negotiating changes to the footwear policy "that would relax the restrictions on colors and designs players can use on their cleats."   

Passan added officials are "optimistic" changes will be made to the current rule, which states: "At least 51 percent of the exterior of each Player's shoes must be the Club's designated primary shoe color and the portion of the Club's designated primary shoe color must be evenly distributed throughout the exterior of each shoe."

The reported negotiations come less than a year after MLB hosted its first-ever Players Weekend, which allowed players to sport nontraditional uniforms and flashier cleats. 

However, MLB has continued to take a stern approach with players who have tested the policy since that brief experimental stretch. 

Earlier this season, Chicago Cubs infielder Ben Zobrist clashed with the league office after he received an official warning to stop wearing all-black PF Flyer kicks with his white uniform. 

"Dear @mlb, I still like you but this is rediculous. For the last two years, I have worn black spikes exclusively at Wrigley Field for Day games to pay homage to the history of our great game, and now I am being told I will be fined and disciplined if I continue to wear them," Zobrist wrote on Instagram in May. 

"...I have heard nothing but compliments from fans that enjoy the 'old school' look. Maybe there is some kid out there that will be inspired to look more into the history of the game by the 'flexibility' that I prefer in the color of my shoes."

Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger also drew the ire of MLB officials when he donned tie-dyed cleats featuring sunflowers. 

"I'm still going to be me," Clevinger said after receiving a warning, per Cleveland.com's Joe Noga. "I'm not going to change what I'm doing because someone's not getting their share of the cut, or whatever the case may be."  

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