The Los Angeles Dodgers renewed their historic rivalry with the New York Yankees in a rare Interleague series at Dodger Stadium and what could very well be a potential World Series preview.
However, the matchup has also been noteworthy — if not overshadowed a bit — because it marked the beginning of Players Weekend around MLB.
During the three-game stretch, players on all 30 teams are permitted to substitute the last name on the back of their jersey for an approved nickname. Custom-designed bats, cleats and other equipment are also encouraged by the league.
Kiké Hernandez, A.J. Pollock and Justin Turner took advantage of the perk and have been among the many Dodgers players to show off their customized cleats.
While Players Weekend allows some of the sport’s biggest stars to freely express themselves, there is a sense of disappointment that the event has intertwined with the highly anticipated Dodgers and Yankees showdown.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone expressed his displeasure that both teams were prohibited from wearing their iconic uniforms, via Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
“I feel like this isn’t necessarily the best weekend for us because with this matchup, to have them in their uniforms and us in ours, that would be cool,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was more vocal with his criticism of the Players Weekend uniforms, likening them to an ugly Christmas sweater:
Roberts compared the uniforms to what he wore to the last ugly sweater party he attended. “I don’t know,” he said. “I guess it’s good for the game.”
Unlike the past two seasons which saw players wear Little League-inspired jerseys, this year brought about uniforms that are in a monochromatic black and monochromatic white color scheme.
The Dodgers, as the home team, opted for white, while the Yankees have sported black jerseys. Both uniforms have the team name outlined in silver, though pitchers will be required to wear a black cap regardless of whether or not they are the home team.
Prior to the series opener, the Dodgers reached out to MLB and asked if an exception can be made for one game, where both teams could wear their regular uniforms. The idea, however, was unfortunately shot down.