As I’ve repeatedly noted in the past, reader Mark Mihalik is Uni Watch’s undisputed king of footwear studies. He’s particularly adept at spotting customized or modified cleats, as he showed a few years ago when he noticed that Nomar Garciaparra was wearing Adidas spikes with a Reebok tongue. And back when I was on vacation a few months ago, he pinch-hit one day with a great breakdown of ballplayers who wear modified sneakers or cross-trainers.
A few year ago Mark noticed that Doug Mientkiewicz, who had a shoe contract with Adidas at the time, was wearing Nike cleats with clumsily drawn stripes that were unlikely to fool anyone. Now he’s discovered something similar, except the disguise job has been executed much more expertly (making Mark’s detective work all the more impressive). I hereby turn the mic over to him:
Todd Helton has been a longtime exclusive Mizuno guy. Everything’s Mizuno, including bats, batting gloves, cleats, and his first baseman’s mitt. So I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on this until now, especially since it’s been going on since April 17th, but he’s been wearing Nike Air Zoom Clippers almost all season. They’ve just been Mizuno-ized all over. [Meanwhile, check out the bag of seeds in Matt Holliday’s pocket, plus the repair job on what appears to have been a tear on the left leg of his pants. — PL]
Unlike Mientkiewicz’s botch job, this was a much more professional cover-up. It looks he had the the big Nike swooshes on the sides blacked out and had Mizuno logos sewn or glued on over the top (you can tell because the Mizuno logo looks a little more downward-tilted than normal, to run at the same angle as the swoosh it’s covering up, and you can barely see the swoosh outline in some pictures), plus he had the white swooshes on the outsoles blacked out, and even had Mizuno logos added on the heel and tongue. He also had the same treatment applied to a pair of Clipper MCS molded cleats. To go through all that effort, Mizuno’s real cleats must seriously be killing his feet.
Big thanks to Mark for once again sharing the fruits of his impressively obsessive footwear studies.
Uni Watch News Ticker: According to a small item at the very bottom of this page, the Penguins’ had to lower their sleeve numbers slightly in order to make room for their 250th-anniversary patch (with thanks to Casey Blick). … Support our sponsors: Note that Jersey-Joe is offering free shipping on MLB jerseys this week, and the No Mas ad in the right-hand column now links directly to their cool line of T-shirts (including my all-time favorite). … Clinton Portis wore gold shoelaces on Sunday. Further details here (with thanks to Mike Peasley). … How many lower-leg irregularities can you spot in this photo? Or this one? (With thanks to Braden Russell.) … Yesterday I noted that many Illinois players wear “Team” on their nose bumpers. That led Joe J. to note that Eastern Michigan wears “Pride.” Any other interesting nose bumper messages floating around out there? … Man, did those Bills throwbacks look magnificent or what? And sure enough, just as I had suggested might be the case, their helmets had no American flag and no NFL logo (although they did appear to have the warning decal. … Jeremy Brahm notes that the Chinese Basketball Association uses a European-style 7 and the discarded NBA ball from last year (although the design on their all-star uniforms shows a standard ball). … Scott Player and his single-bar facemask are looking for a job.