The Red Sox' Five-Toed Socks

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It's been reported that two of the Red Sox's marquee pitchers, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima, wear five-toed socks, which they claim make them pitch better.


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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SIMON: If it is not the shoes, maybe it's the socks. As was noted, the Boston Red Sox had not been playing especially well of late. An article in the current Men's Vogue notes that two of their marquee pitchers, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima, wear five-toed socks, which they have to order from Japan.

Pitchers say that having a cozy grip on all five of their little piggies gives them better footing, to put more speed in their fastballs and more umph(ph) in their curves. Vogue says that the medical opinion it solicited is divided.

While five-toed socks may protect against hammertoe, a sports medicine specialist of Columbia warns that wearing them after learning how to pitch on toeless socks could throw off a pitcher's balance, causing corns, bunions and turf toe.

Vogue says other Major League teams have ordered the socks from Japan. But if the Red Sox blow the 14-game lead they once enjoyed in the American League East, it will be an awful lot of five-toed socks donated at the gorilla house at the Franklin Park Zoo.

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