Major League Baseball is entering the sock game. The league has announced its first deal with a custom sock retailer that will begin supplying official game socks to teams and players for the 2017 season.
The deal is with Stance, a fashionable sock designer that already has a deal with the NBA as its official sock supplier.
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) May 23, 2016
One way to read the sock deal is as part of baseball's effort to increase its appeal among younger generations. Socks are near their high-water mark in terms of their novelty appeal. For MLB, they represent a simple, unintrusive way to inject the game with a bit more of a hip vibe.
Considering the league's frustrations with the current length of games, some more appealing eye-candy isn't a bad way to start. The question is whether more players will wear their socks high over their baseball pants to show them off given the new styles, or if the league will create incentives for players to choose the high-sock style, which will give the new socks much more visibility.
The deal full starts next year, but some rollout events will begin this season. Participants at this summer's MLB All-Star Game will be the first to don the trendy new socks, with other planned events on the horizon.
But fans will be most interested to see the exact style of their team's new game sock. Bear in mind, this is the reputation Stance used to seal the deal with MLB:
— Stance (@stance) May 23, 2016
Does it read like a shameless attempt to appeal to the cool young kids? Yes. Of course, the NBA did the same thing, and its blueprint for courting the younger crowd seems to be working pretty well.