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Jackie Robinson shoes: Carl Crawford warned by MLB, might get fined for wearing them

David Brown
Big League Stew

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(USA Today)

Apparently, it does matter if your shoes are blue and white. It matters to Major League Baseball, which warned Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Carl Crawford to never again wear the special edition Jackie Robinson cleats he wore Monday.

Crawford was among several major leaguers who received two pair of the Nike Air Jordan/Jumpman/Swingman/whatever shoes — one in Brooklyn Dodgers blue, the other in white — and wore one of each on the 66th anniversary of Robinson breaking the modern color barrier in the majors. What Crawford did was a no-no, ESPN's Mark Saxon reports:

[Crawford] said his agent received a call from the league office instructing him not to wear either the blue or white special edition Nike Jordan PEs in a game again. Crawford got the idea to wear one blue shoe and one white shoe after seeing on the clubhouse TV that Jimmy Rollins had changed shoes between his at-bats Monday night.

"I was like, 'OK, he had a little fun with it, so let me have fun with it,' " Crawford said. "The league doesn't want us to have any fun, I guess."

Crawford went 3 for 5 with one blue shoe and one white, so you could see from a baseball superstition standpoint how he'd want to defy the rules and keep wearing the shoes. But he was back to typical blue cleats for batting practice Tuesday.

And we thought NFL stood for "No Fun League." Not only did Crawford receive censure from the league (via his agent) but Saxon speculates that he'll be fined, too. The league hit Brian Wilson of the Giants with a $1,000 fine in 2010 for wearing bright orange cleats to the All-Star Game. Those were the brightest — at least before Wilson took a black magic marker to them in order to get them to "conform."

Well, so much for the use of individualism in paying tribute to Robinson, who is regarded as something of a god, even officially (note everyone wearing No. 42 on Monday and Tuesday). And yet, it seems like MLB is being consistent with policy here.

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While the cause and effect of Jackie Robinson might be the worthiest of issues, if MLB lets Crawford do his thing with two different colors of shoes, then it has to let the next person pay tribute to someone else (or even Jackie) with a unique display of his own on the uniform. And then the next guy does it, and then pretty soon (hypothetically), the uniforms aren't uniform anymore. It would be haute couture anarchy!

I mean, MLB didn't even allow the Mets to wear first responder caps during a game to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. One guy might have an FDNY cap, then the next a NYPD cap, and so forth. Can't you see how un-uniform it would be? (They did OK them for batting practice this past Sept. 11, though.)

I can, a little. It's not that MLB doesn't respect and revere its past. It just needs everyone to conform a little bit to keep things neat and tidy.

The part that doesn't make as much sense: Why MLB doesn't want Crawford to wear the blue shoes, even as a pair. They would seem to come close to the shoes the Dodgers usually wear. It certainly wouldn't be the distraction that shoes of two different colors was.

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