Jeremy Guthrie’s time with the Royals came to an end after last season, but his presence still lingers in the Kansas City clubhouse like the smell of new sneaker leather.
Guthrie’s passion for collecting shoes spread to his teammates, leaving a few current Royals following in his footsteps as major sneakerheads.
On the field, outfielder Jarrod Dyson says functionality and comfort are the only factors when it comes to footwear. But when he doesn’t have to wear cleats, Dyson can appreciate the style and tradition of a timeless classic: retro Air Jordan sneakers.
“(Guthrie’s) on a different level,” Dyson said. “He kind of got me into them. I was always a fan. I was always wearing them, but I started buying more and more when I was around him.”
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First baseman Eric Hosmer tells a similar story — he was always interested in sneakers, but Guthrie’s massive collection and level of shoe knowledge turned his casual interest into a passion.
“He would always get different boxes with different shoes and it was really cool how he knew the background stories of all the shoes,” Hosmer said. “I started looking some up and started buying some that I like.”
Now, the Instagram feeds of Hosmer or Dyson reveal Guthrie’s influence. Both players use the platform to show their love for baseball, friends, family and, of course, sneakers.
On any given day, the Surprise Stadium practice facilities are like the showroom of a sneaker collector’s dreams.
From the veteran Dyson’s “White Cement” Air Jordan 4s to rookie Raul Mondesi’s “Oxford Tan” Yeezy Boost 350s, the Royals cover all their bases in any Yeezy-versus-Jumpman debate — a debate that Dyson likely feels more strongly about than Hosmer.
“I’m a big fan of everybody,” Hosmer said. “If the shoe looks good, I’ll definitely rock it. I’m not one specific brand when it comes to the shoe game, outside of the field. I’ll mix in some Yeezys, mix in some Nike Air Maxes and definitely some Jordans.”
Dyson, on the other hand, said he wears “strictly Jordans.”
Yet the two share one favorite in common, a pair of shoes that fits two of the key members of the Royals’ playoff run well. Both Hosmer and Dyson listed the “Playoff” Air Jordan 12 among their favorite sneakers.
Hosmer rates his collection of about 10 shoes highly, but it’s dwarfed by the 400-plus sneaker collection Guthrie had by the time he left the Royals. Still, Hosmer takes great pride in one practical distinction of his wardrobe.
“That’s the big thing with me — all the shoes that I buy, I wear,” Hosmer said. “I don’t buy any shoes to keep up in the hall of fame or anything like that.”
Dyson, on the other hand, has a larger collection. He guessed that he might own every high-quality model of Jordan sneakers, before adjusting to the approach of any great athlete staying hungry in the sneaker game.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do when it comes to shoes,” Dyson said. “There are a lot more pairs I want.”
Jayson Chesler is a senior at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.