White cleats earn Gardner a warning
NEW YORK -- More than a half-century has passed since Joe Namath shocked the establishment while wearing white cleats for his snaps with the fledgling Jets. As Brett Gardner learned this week, the color of an athlete's footwear can still be a touchy subject.
Gardner said that he received warnings from Major League Baseball and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman about being out of uniform after he wore a pair of bright white New Balance spikes out to left field for Sunday's 2-1 victory over the Mariners.
"I don't think anyone came to my locker and took them, but I won't be wearing them again," Gardner said. "That was a one-time thing. I definitely got several warnings on that already -- unofficial and official from the bottom all the way to the top."
The shoes were sent to Gardner for the All-Star Game in Cincinnati, but he said that he could not use them because they clashed with the road gray uniform. The Yankees didn't believe they went all that well with pinstripes either; by the letter of the law, Gardner said, his shoes need to be at least 51 percent black.
Gardner said that he was not fined, but he could be if they appear again. He said that he wore the shoes at the urging of Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia, who pitched six innings of one-run ball on Sunday afternoon against Seattle.
"I was unpacking my stuff and a couple of guys were like, 'Oh, those shoes are sweet,'" Gardner said. "CC wanted me to wear them. I forgot about it, and Sunday morning CC was pitching. It was 12:15 and he was walking out of the training room and getting ready to go outside for the game.
"He's like, 'Hey, if you don't have those white shoes on, you keep your little [rear end] inside!' So I was like, 'Well, I guess I've got to put the white shoes on then.' I made the big guy happy. Maybe I'll take a little credit for how well he pitched too, because of the cleats, I guess. It was fun, but a one-time thing."