MLB Allowing More Freedom For Players’ Footwear Is Marketing Gold

Major League Baseball relaxing its rules on the colors players can wear on their cleats is a great marketing avenue and way for players to express themselves, and it’s long past due. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

If you’ve watched an NBA game this season, you might notice something new. The footwear is a bit more colorful, a touch more noticeable and a bunch more fun.

The neon greens, pinks, reds and whatever other colors you can think of are squeaking up and down the hardwood now that the NBA has given players full freedom to wear whatever color shoes they desire. This rule change took effect this season, and it was long overdue. The NBA is already a marketing machine, but this new tweak will help it market itself in new ways.

Now, Major League Baseball is down to let the colors fly.

After years and years of warnings, fines and upset players, MLB is finally going to allow its players some wiggle room on the kind of cleats they wear. They aren’t going full NBA and letting guys run completely wild with their colorways, but it’s a start – the rule, announced last week, eliminates the 51-percent rule that stated a player’s shoes must feature at least 51 percent of the team’s primary color.

The rule is now relaxed, because, you know, MLB still doesn’t want us to have too much fun. The new rule says cleats can have black, white and gray in any proportion, feature any color on the uniform and any other colors designated by the team. So there might be ways to skirt the rules a bit, and that would be wonderful.

The rule also designates one weekend a season where players can go bananas and wear absolutely any color cleats they want.

This rule change comes a season after the uproar from players was loudest, after warnings and fines for footwear infractions became more and more ridiculous. Chicago Cubs utility man Ben Zobrist made the loudest complaint after he was warned by MLB for wearing all-black cleats