“Tsunami,” “No Panic,” Don’t You Know,” “Dirty Craig” Ready For Players Weekend
Monday, August 14, 2017 at 11:29AM
NYSportsJournalism.com in MLB, MLB, MLBPA, Players Weekend, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

August 14, 2017: MLB has always been a breeding ground for great nicknames: "Joltin' Joe" DiMaggio, Reggie "Mr. October" Jackson, Franke "The Fordham Flash" Frisch, Jay "Dizzy" Dean, Leo "The Lip" Durocher, Ozzie "The Wizard Of Oz" Smith and George Herman Ruth, who came with a plethora of nicknames (including "Babe", "The Bambino", "Sultan of Swat" and "Colossus of Clout").

This month, MLB picks up the modern-day gauntlet with Players Weekend, during which players will wear jerseys from Majestic with their hand-picked nicknames on the back.

Game-worn jerseys will be put up for auction at a dedicated MLB site, with 100% of proceeds going to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation.

Some of the players were already known by the nicknames they selected, others delved into their past for nicknames of their childhood, others selected nicknames they felt were apropos for this special event and some chose nicknames to honor a parent or relative.

Some harken back to the short-lived and infamous days of the XFL, when players were allowed to wear nicknamed jerseys during games, led by Ron Smart’s "He Hate Me."

Among the MLB Players Weekend jerseys: “Hollywood” (Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks), “RedTurn2” (Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers), “No Panic” (Roberto Osuna, Toronto Blue Jays), “Don’t You Know” (Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners), “Tsunami” (Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals) and “Dirty Craig” (Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox).

Seeing-Hwan On, a native of Korea who is a relief pitcher for the Cardinals, has his nickname written in Korean. Conversely, Eric Thames of the Milwaukee Brewers, who played three seasons for the NC Dinos in the South Korea Baseball Organization, is going with the nickname in Korean, "Sang Nam Ja,” the translated equivalent of “Real Man.”

"I think it's cool," A.J. Pollock of the Arizona Diamondbacks, aka “Pollo,” told MLB.com. ”Some guys will have nicknames that are way out there, and some guys have nicknames that people aren't really aware of, so I think it's going to be fun."

Added teammate Paul “Goldy” Goldschmidt, "I think it will be fun as a player to see what other guys across the league, what their nicknames are, because you don't know everyone's nickname, so that will be interesting,"

Other equipment is also being specially designed for the three-day event (Aug. 25-27), including hats from New Era and Stance socks.

According to MLB and MLB Players Assn., the "customized gear and colorful, non-traditional uniforms (were) inspired by youth league uniforms (and) conceived as a way to allow players and young fans to connect through the sharing of their interests and cultures while bringing attention to causes they support."

Players also have the opportunity to write on a patch on their right sleeves the name of a person or organization that was instrumental to their development. The patch features a new logo that "shows a progression of five players increasing in size to illustrate a player's path from youth leagues to Major League Baseball," according to MLB.

The special features of the Players Weekend games will be worn first by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cardinals during the MLB Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa., on Aug. 20 as part of the 2017 Little League World Series.

In addition to putting their nicknames on the back of their jerseys, players were able to write in on a patch on their right sleeves "the name of a person or organization that was instrumental to their development."

"Players are increasingly interested in finding unique ways to connect with their fans by allowing them to see more of their personalities and interests," Tony Clark, MPBPA executive director said in a statement. “The collective desire to express their diverse interests and backgrounds is what motivated players to advocate for the creation of Players Weekend.

Several players have been named as Players Weekend Ambassadors to help promote the event: Yonder Alonso (Seattle Mariners), Javier Baez (Chicago Cubs), Jose Bautista (Toronto Blue Jays), Nelson Cruz (Seattle), Ender Inciarte (Atlanta Braves), Francisco Lindor (Cleveland Indians), Manny Machado (Baltimore) Orioles, Anthony Rizzo (Cubs), CC Sabathia (New York Yankees), Christian Yelich (Miami Marlins) and Chris B. Young (Boston Red Sox).

"Players are increasingly interested in finding unique ways to connect with their fans by allowing them to see more of their personalities and interests."

Sabathia, Bo Schultz (Toronto) and Josh Thole (Diamondbacks) were among the players involved in developing the concept in conjunction with MLB and MLBPA.

In addition to Majestic jerseys, New Era hats and Stance socks, players are allowed to customize their spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher's masks and bats with color and imagery.

Game-worn jerseys will be auctioned at MLB.com/auctions, with 100% of proceeds going to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation.

The Foundation was launched in July 2015 with an initial commitment of $30 million focused on “improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the United States and Canada.”

People can now shop for replicas of the Players Weekend jerseys at MLBShop.com ($199.99).

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