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Cubs’ Ben Zobrist ‘optimistic’ MLB will make right call about shoe issue


ATLANTA — Cubs utilityman Ben Zobrist didn’t get a chance to talk about his outlawed footwear with Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s top game-discipline official, on Monday night. But he left a message with the players’ union and said he hopes to talk with Torre sometime after hearing back from the union.

“I’m not optimistic that I’m going to get all the information I would like to know, but I think I’m optimistic that eventually baseball will make the right call and allow players to have more flexibility in regard to this,” Zobrist said of letters that went out to some players threatening fines for uniform infractions — including Zobrist’s use of all-black throwback shoes during home day games.

Zobrist wouldn’t speculate on whether the sudden crackdown on longstanding individual practices has anything to do with growing labor tension, which festered during the winter when the free-agent market slowed down.

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Ben Zobrist's illegal shoes, during Friday's game.

Three Cubs wore all-black shoes Monday, including Zobrist, but they were exempt from the rule because the Cubs-Braves game was part of a rescheduled Jackie Robinson Day at Wrigley.

Zobrist said he talked previously with the union about the issue, but only to get the definition of the rule and background.

“They said it’s up to you — you can do what you want,” he said. “They’re not ever telling us what to do.”