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SEE ALSO: BA Prospect Pad Archives
SAN DIEGO—On a day marked by prodigious performances by prodigious talents, product brands and agents made sure the players’ apparel spoke as loudly as their performances.
Although Angels superstar outfielder Mike Trout wouldn’t take the field at Petco Park until the evening of the All-Star Game, his presence was felt throughout the clubhouses on Sunday morning before the Futures Game got underway.
Waiting inside the lockers of several of the prospects was a pair of the latest version of his Nike brand shoe. This version featured a combination of neon green and black interwoven stripes and looked not unlike a radioactive zebra with cleats attached. There was also a more understated version, with white and black stripes interplayed under the same neon green accents, including the signature swoosh.
Cardinals catching prospect Carson Kelly had a pair waiting for him when he got to his spot in the home clubhouse at Petco and was excited for his unexpected bounty.
“Nike hooked us up and gave us a little present. I think these are the new Trouts,” he said. “So those are pretty cool. I (also) got some bats, some cleats, basically everything you need to play a ballgame.”
The Trouts, however, weren’t the only pieces of flashy footwear players found waiting for them in the morning. Rangers infielder Travis Demeritte had a pair of particular patriotic cleats arranged at the base of his locker as well. Those shoes were made by New Balance, and they featured red soles, white heels, and a blue toe area enveloped with white stars. Old Glory had become Soled Glory.
They paired nicely with the stirrups worn by U.S. teammate and Red Sox prospect Andrew Benintendi, who was representing America from the bottom of his feet to the middle of this thighs during batting practice.
“My agent actually got them for me . . . he said he had a surprise for me. He said I didn’t have to worry about customizing any cleats or anything, and he came through once again,” Demeritte said. “I love them. The rest of the (new gear in his locker) is just from New Balance. He got me (the American flag cleats). I came to my locker today and came to find it was flooded with a bunch of pairs of shoes. I don’t even know how I’m going to get these all back home. I’m loaded in here, man. It’s Christmas in July.”
Even with the all the shoes, plus a haul of custom bats and the Futures Game jersey, Demeritte said his most prized piece of swag wasn’t a piece of clothing. Rather, it was a watch, a slate-colored timepiece from David Yurman, to be exact.
“If I want to go out and I’m trying to make an impression,” he said, “I might throw that on.”
Everybody at the Futures Game, thanks to their agents and sponsors, went home with a little bit more gear than the brought to California. Nobody, however, collected more than the World Team catcher Gary Sanchez. Because of his position, he had a leg up on other the players.
After the game was over and players were preparing to jet back to their next city to resume their regular season, Sanchez had all of his gear assembled in a large box in front of his newly vacant locker. Aside from the standard jersey, bats and shoes, Sanchez also had his protective gear customized for the event. His hockey-style catcher’s mask, chest protector and batting gloves were all styled to match with the All-Star Game’s designated colors of yellow, gray and black. The batting gloves even included an all-star week logo.
“Last year they did the same thing, too, custom gear for matching uniforms,” Sanchez said, with the help of Cardinals righthander Alex Reyes as translator.
It wasn’t only the players, though, who got to take a little bit extra home with them. Jose Leger, the manager of the low Class A Columbia Fireflies in the Mets’ system, had more than a few keepsakes from his time in San Diego as well.
“We are allowed to keep our jerseys and our hat, and I also brought some souvenirs to take home as well,” he said. “It’s a great experience. I also got a baseball signed by all the players, all these future big leaguers.”
Leger, who was selected to the Futures Game coaching staff by manager Moises Alou, also took home a mug and a shot glass, as well as pair of hats for his children so they, too, could commemorate their time at the all-star weekend when they become adults.
Rays righthander Chih-Wei Hu took home a pair of new Nike Vapor cleats, and Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzman flew back to Double-A Frisco with shiny, silver cleats and batting gloves courtesy of Under Armour. Guzman, like many of the other players and coaches, also made sure to snag the nameplate from above his locker as a unique keepsake. Each player in the game, too, received a customized souvenir bat from Louisville Slugger.
The 33 prospects who showed up to Baseball America’s Prospect Pad the evening before, also received customized lumber from Slugger as well.