Cubs' Marcus Stroman on embracing players’ personalities, MLB’s inconsistent equipment fines


(Audacy) Cubs right-hander Marcus Stroman is one of the most colorful personalities in baseball and has been outspoken in terms of showing off his personality both on and off the field. Of course, it hasn't always been commonplace for players to have fun and showcase their style on the field.

Stroman joined WEEI’s Rob Bradford on the Audacy Original Podcast “Baseball Isn’t Boring” to discuss how baseball culture has changed in recent years and what MLB can do to help that moving forward.

“You’re starting to see the game kind of turn, and I think you’re starting to even see the old school traditional players start to be OK with the young guys having fun and letting their talent show, which I think is how it should be,” Stroman said (5:08 in player above). “I came up in an era where you kind of had to be quiet until you were established. I kind of tip-toed around the clubhouse for two or three years until I felt like I was a guy.

“So nowadays you have guys coming up, and I think it’s important because it allows the individual to be their best self. If you tell a guy that they can’t have fun or they can’t be who they really are, now you’re not getting the best version of that individual each and every day. So you have to be yourself each and every day, not only in baseball but in life.”

Stroman, 31, tries to make sure young players feel comfortable.

“If a rookie comes up, I treat him as if he’s been there forever," Stroman said. "I want him to feel comfortable. I want him to feel like he can go out and perform without feeling like anyone’s going to be behind his back saying, ‘You shouldn’t be doing this or that.’ Like I said, I’m all for the young guy coming up celebrating, really being himself because now you’re going to see the best version of him. If you tell that same guy, ‘Hey, you need to tone it down,’ now you’re probably going to get a watered-down version.”

Stroman has played eight MLB seasons for three different teams, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was in those rookie’s shoes. He recalls “some veterans, some higher-ups in the organization” critiquing not the way he played but what he wore and how he acted.

“I just remember everybody always critiquing every little thing -- the arm sleeve, the socks," he said. "'Why are you wearing this? Why are you wearing chains? Why do you have tattoos?’ A bunch of things that don’t matter. I’m all for the game going where it’s going.”

MLB has been more open about letting players wear different colored cleats, gloves and other accessories. However, Stroman believes the league is still picking and choosing who to fine.

“I get fined for the color of my glove, sometimes how I wear my pants, the color of my shoes, for putting HDMH – which is my slogan (Height Doesn’t Measure Heart) – on my glove,” he said. “They just kind of pick and choose whoever they want to hand down these violations to. Like I said, it should be open. Everybody’s out there, you got (Bryce) Harper wearing green cleats, you got (Ronald) Acuna wearing yellow. Everyone’s going to wear whatever they want to. I just don’t think you can discipline anymore.”

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