From BR Bullpen

Spikes are a type of footwear used by athletes including baseball players. Also called cleats, they are characterized by the presence of small protuberances on the soles of the shoe that allow for better traction on grass or dirt, especially under wet conditions. The bits that stick out, also called spikes, are usually made of plastic or metal, and sometimes can be screwed on or off so that a player can adjust the length and type of spikes according to specific playing conditions. There are types of spikes designed for artificial turf as well.

The expression "to hang up his spikes" has entered the everyday language as a synonym for retirement. The idea is that someone who is no longer an active athlete will have no further use for this specialized type of equipment.

In Major League Baseball, spikes were traditionally black for decades, but in the 1970s, the Oakland Athletics introduced white shoes with some of their brightly colored uniforms. For a long time, there was a rule that "at least 51% of a player's shoes must be in the team colors". This in fact made traditional black spikes illegal for most teams, although the way of getting around that was that black was not considered a color. The rules were relaxed for exhibition games, particularly the All-Star Game, and shoes that were deemed acceptable there may have been unacceptable in a regular season context. In a famous incident, Brian Wilson tried to wear the special brightly-colored shoes he had had designed for his participation in the 2011 All-Star Game in a regular season game and was instructed by the umpires to cover some of the colored details with a black magic marker. This policy was in marked contrast to other sports, for example soccer, where players have been known to wear shoes of two different fluorescent colors, neither matching the rest of their uniform!

After the 2018 season, Major League Baseball relaxed the rules pertaining to spikes, as spikes in black, white, the team's primary colors and other colors designated by the team became acceptable. Players began to show their creativity, wearing spikes designed for special occasions with colorful motifs, in the style of the masks worn by hockey goaltenders.

See also[edit]