Just days after Ben Zobrist received a warning letter from the commissioner's office for violating Major League Baseball's uniform policy, teammate Willson Contreras was reportedly told he's not allowed to wear an arm sleeve depicting the flag of his native Venezuela, according to Tony Adracki of NBC Sports.
Contreras, who debuted with the Chicago Cubs in 2016, started wearing the sleeve last July as political and economic turmoil - precipitated by the increasingly authoritarian behavior of president Nicolas Maduro - plagued Venezuela.
"A lot of people are dying because the (Venezuelan) government wants to do whatever it wants," Contreras told MLB.com's Carrie Muskat last July. "We have to be able to grow up in a country where you can think of your future and your son’s future and your kids, and that’s something we don’t have right now. That’s it. I was playing for my country today."
Contreras' custom sleeve being deemed objectionable will likely only compound the confusion in the Cubs' clubhouse over what's acceptable to wear on the field.
"Nobody said anything to us this year," reliever Steve Cishek said. "A lot of guys ordered their custom spikes, what they wanted to wear and go out there and show on the field and grow the game. Now all of a sudden, just out of nowhere, they're dropping warnings and fines on people."
Zobrist, who was told he'd be fined and disciplined if he continues to wear his all-black cleats, expressed his frustration Saturday on Instagram, slamming the league's sudden decision to enforce its uniform policy.
"I am curious as to why @mlb is spending time and money enforcing this now when they haven't done it previously in the last year and beyond," Zobrist wrote. "I have heard nothing but compliments from fans that enjoy the 'old school' look."