If the shoe fits: Artsy Delabar colors up cleats

If the shoe fits: Artsy Delabar colors up cleats

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- A pair of bright blue cleats were placed inside Chris Colabello's locker inside the Indians' clubhouse on Tuesday morning. The first baseman had been waiting for these special spikes, which he plans on wearing while playing for Team Italy during the World Baseball Classic.

Stretching from the toe box and across the side of the shoes was the green, white and red Italian flag, painted to look as though it were waving in the wind. The spikes were modified for Colabello by Cleveland pitcher Steve Delabar, who has taken up shoe personalization art as a hobby over the past couple years.

"It's just something I enjoy to do," Delabar said. "It takes my mind off the game whenever I go home."

Delabar said drawing has been a hobby of his since high school. The idea to paint his own spikes -- or doing so for his teammates -- was inspired by fellow Major League reliever Joe Beimel a few years ago. Delabar noticed that Beimel personalized spikes and talked to him about the process. Delabar then did more research and began trying his hand at it last spring.

During Spring Training this year, Delabar has painted Colabello's spikes for Team Italy and added some small tweaks, including a Puerto Rican flag, to cleats belonging to Tribe catcher Roberto Perez. In his own locker, Delbar pulled out a pair of his shoes, which he altered from all black to a mix of blues and grays.

"I'm one of those guys that, if I see it, I can draw it," Delbar said. "Like, I could sit here in this corner and draw this entire clubhouse. [For this], it's just being able to take what the shoes is, and then being able to put the thought of what you want to do on it."

When Delabar is not personalizing spikes, most of his drawing these days is with his young daughter and son, ages 4 and 2.

"My daughter will be like, 'Daddy, draw a pony for me!'" Delabar said with a laugh. "And we'll give the kids a piece of paper and a crayon and draw something. It's fun to get them interested in something like that, too."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.