Cubs

Presented By Cubs Insiders
Cubs

Power in numbers.

When the usually mild-mannered Ben Zobrist fired a shot at Major League Baseball in an Instagram post Saturday afternoon, Joe Maddon supported his longtime player and pointed to the power of people rallying together to enact change.

The "change" hasn't occurred yet, but Zobrist certainly has people rallying together.

Zobrist defied the league and continued to wear his P.F. Flyers and black cleats over the weekend and then again on Monday as the Cubs and Braves made up the game from Jackie Robinson Day on April 15.

Steve Cishek and Kyle Schwarber joined Zobrist in wearing the black cleats Monday afternoon, though that was more for the throwback day and to pay homage to Robinson and the era than specifically trying to make a statement toward the league.

That being said, the players are standing behind Zobrist.

"There's definitely something going on," Cishek said. "Last year, when we had all the nicknames and stuff like that [during Player's Weekend], guys wore whatever they wanted on their shoes and it turned out awesome. MLB gave us full reign to wear whatever we wanted, so they didn't really put any restrictions on us.

"Nobody said anything to us this year. A lot of guys ordered their custom spikes, what they wanted to wear and go out there and show on the field and grow the game. Now all of a sudden, just out of nowhere, they're dropping warnings and fines on people.

 

"It's just been interesting. If they want us to work together in a lot of situations, then they crunch down on something as small as this, it's just really confusing.

"...It's like, where did this all come from? From what I understand, MLB was telling their companies — New Balance, Nike — 'like hey, they can do whatever they want.' I think the big word here is just confusion amongst the players."

Zobrist echoed those thoughts and said he planned on calling MLB executive Joe Torre Monday evening to try to have a discussion about this particular issue.

His main point of contention is that he's worn the P.F. Flyers at various points the last couple years at Wrigley Field and never heard anything from the league.

"My question's gonna be 'why?'" Zobrist said. "We'll see what kind of answer I get. Why now? I think all players are kinda wondering that. Hopefully I get an answer and we can move forward."

Willson Contreras has also been told by the league he's not allowed to wear his arm sleeve depicting the flag of his home country of Venezuela. 

The sanctions from MLB are confusing to fans, too, who don't understand why their favorite players can't show their individuality and express themselves with their accessories.

"I just heard nothing but positive stuff from fans and players," Zobrist said. "I think that's the direction the game needs to go — more freedom with expression in certain ways like that which are small compared to arm sleeves and other things."

Maddon has very few rules in his clubhouse, famously choosing to let his players be themselves and express themselves however they choose.

So of course he hasn't backed down and still stands behind Zobrist and Co.

"Listen, you know how I am about individuality," Maddon said. "I'm sure the boys may have gotten together and talked about it. I'm anticipating some adjustments to the rule at some point. Whenever the guys hang together, I'm always behind them."