July 28, 2010
It's not as if Brian Wilson(notes) needs another advantage over opposing batters. The San Francisco Giants closer, after all, currently leads the bigs with 30 saves, wields a 1.99 ERA and has 62 strikeouts in just over 45 innings.
But if there's another edge for Wilson to hold, it's gotta be in the bright orange shoes that he debuted at the All-Star Game and then wore during the ninth inning of San Francisco's 6-4 win over Florida on Tuesday night.
That's because the mere sight of Wilson's kitschy kicks offended Florida Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez to the point of complaining to the umps about them.
And if a rival manager is focusing on your shoes?
Well, I'm going to guess that he and his charges are probably not concentrating on more important aspects of winning the game.
"A little bit too bright, too flashy," said Rodriguez, who complained to umpires at the start of the ninth inning.
"We asked if there was any rule about that and he said the rule is more intended for the sleeves and there's no rule for the shoes." [...]
"There's rules for jewelry and all kinds of things. Shoes like that are a little bit too much," he said.
"I think there should be a rule. They should be consistent. There's a rule for the uniform and there should be a rule for the shoes."
Yikes. Wilson's shoes might be ugly, but they're not deserving of baseball banishment.
Look, I don't blame Rodriguez for being distracted and acting like the Fashion Ump. After downloading that photo of Wilson above, I started thinking about creamsicles and had to go to the store to go buy a box. This post would have gone up a lot faster had I been able to focus.
The Marlins are professional athletes and I'd expect them to be a little more steadfast in their approach. Who the heck looks at a pitcher's shoes when he's throwing a 95-mph fastball with his right arm? Let Wilson wear whatever he wants and then just go out and beat him.
Or Spain to his Netherlands.
Or the entire NFL against his old-school Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Because as Walkoff Walk's Drew Fairservice so astutely points out, "the Marlins have offended us all with the vast sea of (empty) orange seats for years, what makes these shoes so different?"
Answer: These are a lot more fun for fans to look at.
UPDATE: Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Wilson was fined $1,000 by the National League for "wearing non-conforming shoes and was told that half of each shoe had to be black." Wilson responded by using a Sharpie to color half of the shoes black.
"Too flashy. I didn't know that's in the rulebook," Wilson said. "Oh it's not in the rulebook. The fact that (Rodriguez) thinks these shoes throw 97 to 100 with cut might be a little far fetched. I guess we should have these checked as performance-enhancing shoes."
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