Logo on 'Tatman': There are limits

April, 7, 2014
Apr 7
6:24
PM ET
BOSTON -- New Red Sox infielder Ryan Roberts has at least 30 tattoos, many of the inspirational variety. He has Japanese characters around his neck signifying family, and around his collarline has "God gave us a fairy tale," referring to his daughter, Hudsyn.

The nickname “Tatman” was a natural. On Monday, someone asked him if he planned to add a Red Sox logo to his artwork.

“I don’t think I can do that," Roberts said. “They got a new rule."

The rule isn’t new -- it has been in place at least since the current collective bargaining agreement was adopted in 2011 -- but MLB prohibits corporate markings or logos, essentially, banning tattoos that would serve as advertisements (Sorry, Samsung).

Here’s the rule:

No Player may have any visible corporate markings or logos tattooed on his body. In addition, no pitcher shall have markings on his body that are potentially distracting to the umpire or batter.

Markings that are potentially distracting include tattoo(s) or other marking(s) which, in the opinion of the umpire, could interfere with the umpires’ ability to make calls, endanger the health or safety of a batter or otherwise interfere with the play of the game.

(a) If an umpire determines that a Player’s tattoos or other markings violate the above standard, the umpire shall inform the On-Field Department of the Office of the Commissioner, which shall notify both the Player and the Players Association. The umpire will not require the Player to cover the tattoos or markings prior to being instructed to do so by the Office of the Commissioner.

(b) If a Player desires to appeal the umpire’s decision to the Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations, he must do so within 24 hours of receiving notice. The Player will not be required to cover his tattoos or markings between the filing.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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