After a months-long pandemic-induced delay, baseball fans were ecstatic this weekend when the MLB finally made its return.
And one of the biggest storylines out of the MLB’s opening weekend centered around Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen — and his unconventional choice of footwear. When Lorezen took the field at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati during Saturday’s game against the Detroit Tigers, eagle-eyed fans noticed that he was wearing custom Vans cleats.
Known for its skateboarding shoes, Vans doesn’t actually manufacture cleats. Lorenzen appeared to be wearing a pair of Vans’ Sk8-Hi, a $65 high-top sneaker with a canvas and suede upper, a padded, supportive ankle and Vans’ signature waffle outsole. His pair featured metal spikes attached to the bottom. MLB players typically wear more conventional styles, built for baseball, from the likes of Nike, Adidas and New Balance
Lorenzen didn’t have such a great day on the mound — he entered the game in the top of the seventh inning to try and hold a 3-2 lead against Detroit. While he managed a groundout and a strikeout, he gave up a home run to Miguel Cabrera in between, leading to a blown save. The Tigers went on to take the game, 6-4.
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Nonetheless, his fashion choice seemed to be a winner, as it even caught the eye of former MLB All-Star Jered Weaver.
“By far the sickest thing I’ve ever seen on a baseball field! You don’t know how jealous I am of this… anyone who played w me knew I wanted to do this so bad… well done!!” Weaver wrote on Twitter.
Just a few years ago, Lorenzen’s shoe choice wouldn’t have been allowed, as players were required to wear shoes with an exterior that was at least 51% the color chosen by their teams — or they’d face a hefty fine. However, the MLB loosened regulations in 2018, allowing players to wear cleats featuring black, white, and gray in any proportion, in addition to team colors.
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