Because it did not conform to uniform guidelines (apparently), MLB told Willson Contreras that he had to stop wearing his Venezuela sleeve or risk a fine.
At the time, in addition to thinking that was an utterly ridiculous and backwards-thinking move by MLB, many folks wondered why certain Cardinals players weren’t receiving the same kind of warning from MLB.
Ah, but it turns out they were! … just not the guy you were thinking.
Within this notebook: Kolten Wong has been told by #MLB to take off his Hawaii sleeve, just as Jose Martinez has had to stop wearing his Venezuelan sleeve. But Ozuna's neon sleeve is Nike, not home, so it's OK: https://t.co/YroFJAIZfz #stlcards #Cardinals #MLB
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) May 24, 2018
As Derrick Goold writes:
Cardinals infielder Kolten Wong, who has been trying to generate attention for his native Hawaii and support for the rebuilding effort there as a result of an erupting volcano, has been notified by Major League Baseball that he will face a fine if he continues to wear an unapproved sleeve that features Hawaiian emblem. Wong said he will stash the sleeve, like Jose Martinez had to do with his Venezuelan-flag sleeve, and find other ways to call attention to his home island ….
Baseball has been notifying players about violations of uniform rules in recent weeks, though Marcell Ozuna has not heard anything about his fluorescent sleeve. It’s approved. It’s Nike.
Like I said with respect to Contreras, this is just be one more thing for the players and the league to fight about in the coming years, and just one more thing that a sport already fighting for attention does not need. I understand what the word “uniform” means, but can we be a little more flexible, MLB? The players want to show some individuality and national support in way that doesn’t bother anyone … why would you take a stand against that, especially at a time when sport is fighting as hard as ever for positive attention in the long-term?