Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported on Wednesday that Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association will allow and encourage the use of nicknames on the back of jerseys and a unleash new rainbow of colored equipment on the field.
One of the talking points about baseball is that it’s a sport with an aging audience. Sometimes the game feels like it’s not willing to embrace and extend when player culture is meshing well with pop culture, memes, or society. But other times they dive in out of nowhere.
News: MLB players can wear nicknames on back of jerseys, crazy-colored footwear, for "Players Weekend." Details: https://t.co/Rwuek0d4fz— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 14, 2017
This just might be one of the times baseball gets it right. It has the makings of a fun series of games that mixes in a little more personality just before the playoff push begins in September,.
The event, called Players Weekend, is planned for Aug. 25-27 and was negotiated between the league and MLB Players Association. Players long have sought to express their personal style on the field and capitalize on the intersection of fashion and sports in a way other leagues don’t allow, and the result will be a test of boundaries baseball may be inclined to stretch in the future depending on the weekend’s success.
Players will have the option to wear a jersey with a nickname – though they are limited to just one, according to the memo, and “inappropriate or offensive” nicknames will be banned.
The items with minimal color restrictions include spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves and catcher’s masks. The colors, according to the memo, must avoid interfering with the game and an umpire’s ability to make a call. White gloves, wristbands and sleeves are prohibited.
After Player’s Weekend concludes, the jerseys will be sold to benefit the Youth Development Foundation of with both MLB and the MLBPA participate in.
You may remember the NBA doing a similar event a few years ago with LeBron James’ jersey featuring the King James moniker. Can you imagine Dustin Pedroia wearing Laser Show on his back? Sandoval going simply by Panda? If only we got to see David Ortiz’s #34 offered up adorned with Big Papi.
The guidelines for equipment are reasonably broad, with white-colored accessories being the only major no-no. Other than that it sounds like players can take their pick among wacky alternatives.
Between road trips to play the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays, the Sox will be at home facing the Baltimore Orioles for Player’s Weekend. Which means this might be a really special event for the Fenway Faithful as typically the Sox home uniforms have no names at all on the back.
Is there a player nickname you want to see on a jersey?
Matt Barnes is participating