by Rob Joyce
In a twist, the old tradition is getting some fun injected into it. Baseball – which often adapts to and accepts change at a snail’s pace – is spicing up its jerseys later this summer, with the announcement that there will be a “Players’ Weekend”. From August 25-27 players will be allowed to have their nicknames on their jerseys. It’s an obvious attempt to generate more merchandise sale, but despite the greed it’s still nice to see MLB show a little personality.
Although there are no all-time nicknames among active players (think “The Babe”, “The Say-Hey Kid” or “The Splendid Splinter”) there are some must-see jerseys that hopefully come to fruition. Here are the five we most want to see:
Aaron Judge – “All Rise”:
It’s not his nickname, per se, but the rookie phenom has been a Twitter trend since essentially the start of the season, with his 450-foot home runs and Triple Crown numbers. The hashtag? #AllRise, an obvious play on his last name. While it would be fun to see (especially with the hashtag) it’s likely not going to happen – the Yankees don’t have names on the back of their jerseys, and there’s no word yet on whether that will change for their weekend set with the Mariners.
Bartolo Colon – “Big Sexy”:
The 44-year-old, in all of his 285-pound GIF-able glory, has struggled mightily this year with the Braves. He’s 2-7 with a 7.78 earned run average and is currently on the disabled list. Still, an authentic jersey with the name “Big Sexy” on the back of it would be hysterical to see on a major league field and would undoubtedly be among the best sellers of any player.
Marc Rzepczynski – “Scrabble”:
For obvious reasons, the Seattle reliever’s nickname is “Scrabble”. With the Mariners sitting in fourth place and already in danger of falling out of wild card contention (the division is almost assuredly out of the picture) maybe they could translate double- and triple-word scores into double and triple outs? Especially if they manage to get Aaron Judge out that weekend at Yankee Stadium, where Seattle plays.
Red Sox outfield – “Win, Dance, Repeat”:
This one is a little outside-the-box. For the last two years the Boston outfield has gathered in center after every win for a “Win, Dance, Repeat” celebration, featuring a wide variety of amusing four second dances. It would be great if, for even one game, you had left fielder Andrew Benintendi wearing “Win”, centerfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr donning “Dance” and right fielder Mookie Betts with “Repeat”.
A few issues: hosting the Orioles that weekend, the Sox don’t have names on their home uniforms. Secondly, one lineup shuffle ruins the idea. And lastly, if they lost there could be criticism, especially as they’re hosting the rival Orioles.
Seung-hwan Oh – “The Final Boss”:
The Cardinals’ reliever came to America before last season from Korea with a phenomenal nickname, “The Final Boss”. For a late inning guy it’s perfect. However he has the luxury of having a backup nickname (don’t we all?) and it’s pretty good as well. “Stone Buddha” was given to him for his propensity to show no emotion on the mound.