Shoe cleanliness is a big deal to ball players. Don’t’ ask me why—They’re just going to get them dirty again. If you’re the pitcher, they’ll be dirty before you even get on the game mound because you have to warm up first. Hell, if they’re clean, that means you aren’t playing so you’d think you’d want them to be dirty!

Everyday a player will drag their cleats through clay and dirt and mud. And yet, in the face of this truth, there are those anal types that get pissed at the clubby every time their cleats come back with a speck of dirt on them.

But it isn’t just cleats in baseball. It’s the whole package. The whole Baseball Barbie wardrobe that needs to look right. Guys want to look good, even when they don’t have anyone to look good for. They want their pants to fit perfectly, to drape around their shoes and accent their butts. They want their wristbands to make their forearms look muscley. They think a healthy coating of “TV tape” will make them look like athletes even if they play like crap. Image for the sake of image.

Guys think that if they look like a big leaguer, they are going to play like a big leaguer. Honestly, if you’re in the minors no one cares what you look like. In fact, you aren’t getting paid enough to look good, so why bother spending the extra five-spot on a can of scrubbing bubbles just so you can polish up your shoes for a thirsty Thursday crowd that’s only concern is if you’ll strikeout so they can have discount beer?

Save the cash. If you play like shit, no amount of polish is going to make you look better. In fact, the last time I checked, there is no bracket on a scouting report that covers the player’s cleat cleaning ability.

I guess there is a sense of therapy in shinning your cleats and making sure you look stunning. In a game where belief in one’s self comes from any and every location, I suppose the way you look in your shoes or uniform is as good a source as any. However, if you play the other side of this, then you must realize that getting hung up over your looks is a really trivial reason to go into a game doubting yourself. If you need a tidy uniform to play right, you aren’t cut out for the minors wherein uniforms are bought in bulk with pre-determined size ranges that will hang on you like a bed sheet, or squeeze you like latex gloves.

Sure, when you get to the Bigs you can have your pants tailored, and one of the many clubhouse elves spit shine anything and everything. But you have to prove you can survive the salt mines before you get to be in the show and looks are just another obstacle.

My advice, forget about the uniform’s cut and the shoe’s gleam. It’s the man underneath it that makes all the difference. And be thankful you are in an environment like baseball, where appearances don’t mean anything and production means everything. You could be in a job where what you look like means more than what you are capable of. Why try to switch one of baseball’s greatest strengths into a weakness?