For a brief stretch earlier this year, Willson Contreras wore his heart on his sleeve: a very cool tribute to his home country in the form of a Venezuelan flag sleeve under his uniform.
It looked cool, it was a nice personal touch, and there’s just no way it was bothering anyone. Nevertheless, MLB had gone on a spree of alerting players about unapproved uniform choices (including Ben Zobrist’s harmless black cleats), presumably to grab future leverage in CBA negotiation talks (sigh), and Contreras’s sleeve was a casualty.
But Contreras wants to bring it back, and – maybe as a first step – he’s marking the All-Star Game for its return.
“I’m going to try to wear my Venezuela sleeve during the All-Star game; that way I can represent my country here,” Contreras told the Sun-Times. “I’m proud of where I come from and proud to be a Venezuelan.”
Excellent. I very much hope he does it. And I hope it’s only the first step in him being able to bring it back periodically in the regular season if and when he wants. Let the players be themselves in ways that aren’t hurting anyone, eh?
Speaking of which, an extremely on-point interview with Mike Trout that Contreras shared on Twitter:
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 10, 2018
You’ve got that right, Mr. Trout. The game’s very best player may not want to be an especially flashy guy, but that’s his choice. And he recognizes that the sport could do more to let other guys similarly be themselves, even if “themselves” isn’t exactly like Trout.
You can read more on Contreras’s All-Star selection in the Sun-Times article, including him making peace with Yadi Molina after the whole “respect the ranks” thing.