both of his stirrup loops poking out? And what if he did it all the time? Like, on purpose?
But this video — which was produced just prior to the start of the 2011 season and mentions Appel’s “incredible summer and fall” — is peppered with photos of his stirrups-out style, suggesting that he shifted to that format in the summer or fall of 2010. All of the 2011 images of him that I’ve been able to find show him with the loops unlooped.
I’ve never seen a player do this before, so I was looking forward to interviewing Appel and asking him about it. Unfortunately, despite my repeated requests, the Stanford PR department declined to make him available to me (seriously, guys, the whole thing would’ve taken five minutes). So here’s an imaginary interview, re-creating the discussion I suspect Appel and I would have had if I’d been allowed to talk to him:
Uni Watch: Interesting hosiery style you have there, Mark. What’s it all about?
Mark Appel: Coach says we have to wear stirrups — that’s the team rule — but I never liked the feel of the fabric under the soles of my feet.
UW: The fabric loops were uncomfortable?
MA: Yeah. So one day I tried leaving the loops out and it felt way better, so I’ve been doing it that way ever since.
UW: And your coach is okay with it?
MA: He said if it helps me pitch better, and as long as I’m still wearing stirrups, then it’s fine with him, yeah.
UW: Had you ever worn stirrups before arriving at Stanford?
MA: No. In high school we just had regular socks. In Little League, too. But when I came to Stanford, Coach said we have to wear stirrups, so we wear ’em. I don’t even really know what they’re for, to be honest.
The Jeff: Neither does anyone else. They’re pointless and they look stupid besides. Your coach should wake up and join the 21st century already.
UW: The Jeff, what are you doing in the middle of this interview?!
TJ: Don’t look at me. You’re the one who said it was imaginary.
UW: Quiet, you. Mark, have your teammates had anything to say about all this?
MA: Yeah, some of ’em kinda kidded me about it at first, because it looked a little different. But they’re used to it by now.
And there you have it, at least theoretically.
Meanwhile, just as we named the Pedro Porthole and Breathing Ethier, I think we should come up with a name for Appel’s unusual hosiery stylings. I confess that I’m stumped. Anyone..?
(Special thanks to Blair Riffel and Kevin Zdancewicz for bringing Appel to my attention.)
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