|Mets third baseman David Wright was one of many All-Stars with brightly colored shoes. (Getty Images)|
KANSAS CITY -- The last time the All-Star Game was in Kansas City, the MVP -- a member of the San Francisco Giants -- bucked the trend of the regular season and wore shoes different than his team's usual black cleats. That player was Bobby Bonds and those spikes were white. Tuesday, the Giants' Melky Cabrera continued the tradition with a pair of day-glo orange cleats that nearly blurred as he ran from first to home to score the game's first run of the game on a Ryan Braun double.
Cabrera, perhaps with the aid of his florescent kicks, won Tuesday's MVP. He hadn't planned to wear any special shoes, but Nike had sent the orange shoes to him, David Wrightand other All-Stars, and since they can wear something different, many players took the opportunity.
|A close-up of Pablo Sandoval's special All-Star cleat. (C. Trent Rosecrans)|
“I brought my own spikes from San Francisco, but I wore them because I think they're cute,” Cabrera said after the game.
Adam Dunn, who didn't get into the game but had his own pair of the orange shoes, noted, “they're fast.” We didn't get to see that in action, but the orange shoes seemed to work to speed up another Giant -- Pablo Sandoval hit a triple in the first inning, something he hasn't been able to do wearing the normal black shoes of the Giants, while wearing a slightly more muted hue of orange shoes made by Under Armour.
Like his teammate with the Giants, Sandoval said he didn't have any input on the shoes, he didn't request them, he didn't know they were coming, they just showed up and he put them on.
He did lament that he wouldn't be able to wear them again -- two years ago his teammate, closer Brian Wilson, tried to wear his orange cleats in a regular-season game and was told to change. He used a Sharpie to bring them up to code, but it might take a couple of coats of the finest latex paint for Wright or Cabrera to conceal their latest fashion.
Other players got their own colors -- Bryce Harper had a pair of red high-tops with gold accents, Joel Hanrahan's black shoes had gold toes and other highlights and Baltimore's Adam Jones went with a white shoes with orange trim. While gold was a popular accent color choice, others went with gray shoes, such as Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and R.A. Dickey.
The trend of white shoes grew in the ‘70s, with many of the members of Cincinnati's Big Red Machine rebelling against the team's strict dress code once they were out from under the control of manager Sparky Anderson. That 1973 All-Star Game was the first -- as Bonds, Cesar Cendeno, Chris Speier and Willie Stargell were the first to make their uniforms not-so-uniform on baseball's big stage, according to Jeff Helfenstein of the Fleer Sticker Project -- of many shoe shenanigans at baseball's showcase event, and that trend has continued to today.
“I don't know how they go about the colors, but some of them are pretty outrageous,” Dunn said. “They were hideous, but it's the All-Star Game, so you've got to bring out the weird, bro. It's an All-Star Game, you've got to have fun.”