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MLB has cracked down on uniform violations, including Kolten Wong’s Hawaii arm-sleeve - A Hunt and Peck

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Kolten Wong was told to ditch the tribute to Hawaii he wore on his arm.

From Kolten Wong’s Twitter

As most have probably already heard, earlier in May Hawaii had been hit with a wave of natural disasters, notably the eruption of volcano Kilaeua along with a series of earthquakes. The disaster has left thousands without homes, the destruction unlike anything most of us have ever seen. In the words of Cardinals infielder Kolten Wong, per Joe Trezza of MLB.com: “It’s getting out of hand right now... It’s a sad, sad scene.”

The news hits home for Kolten, unfortunately quite literally. The second baseman grew up in Hilo, twenty-five miles away from the site of the damage. In an effort to help his fellow Hawaiians, Kolten, along with his wife, Alissa, launched a GoFundMe asking for donations.

The Cardinals also teamed up with Kolten, selling $15 specially-priced tickets for the game that took place on May 20, donating $10 of every one sold.

To even further raise the level of awareness, Kolten Wong donned a specially-made Hawaii arm sleeve.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Well, at least until now. According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch Major League Baseball has told Kolten to ditch the sleeve, just as it told teammate José Martínez and Cubs’ catcher Wilson Contreras to ditch their Venezuela arm sleeves.

As it has been pointed out, this all appears to be part of a wave of crack-downs against uniform violations in order to maintain the uniformity of uniforms, as Ben Zobrist and Mike Clevinger can attest.

Unless the player’s arm-sleeve is from a corporate sponsor, like Marcell Ozuna’s fluorescent arm-sleeve. As Derrick Goold noted “It’s Nike”.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

This raises the question: Is this really about uniform integrity or just keeping sponsors happy? Would Wong’s sleeve be within the rules if it sported the Nike swish? That is what it looks like, at least. As Craig Calcaterra wrote at NBC Sports Hardball Talk:

If Nike was trying to get people to buy Hawaii or Venezuela compression sleeves I’m sure there would be no issue here. They’re not, however, and it seems like creating awareness and support for people suffering from natural, political and humanitarian disasters does not impress the powers that be nearly as much.

Basically if Major League Baseball cannot monetize the equipment via sponsors (or otherwise), it is not allowed. Whether that is the intention or not, it is certainly a rather poor look for the league.

Click here to donate to Kolten Wong’s GoFundMe to help provide aid to those displaced from the disasters in Hawaii.

Kolten Wong rasing money for fellow Hawaiians | MLB.com

Report: MLB told Kolten Wong to ditch Hawaii tribute sleeve | HardballTalk

Cards notebook: Still riding the 105-mph high, Hicks downshifts to find strikeouts | St. Louis Cardinals | stltoday.com

Fundraiser by Kolten Wong : Hawaii Natural Disasters Relief | GoFundMe

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