Chided for their failure to market stars, Major League Baseball took steps toward accomplishing as much by implementing Players Weekend. It allowed for players to wear jerseys inspired by Little League, complete with nicknames, plus wear unique cleats and customized batting gloves, bats and other equipment.
The specially-designed jerseys also included a patch with a blank space on the right sleeve so players were able to write the name(s) of a person or organization that was instrumental to their development and reaching the Majors.
Some Los Angeles Dodgers went with predictable nicknames — “Wild Horse” (Yasiel Puig), “Kersh” (Clayton Kershaw), “Silver Fox” (Chase Utley). Then there was Corey Seager, who bypassed the option.
That drew the ire of his older brother, Kyle, who placed among the favorites with his “Corey’s Brother” nickname.
With Players Weekend officially in the books, the DodgerBlue.com staff shared their thoughts on the lighthearted break from tradition and some offered suggestions for future seasons.
Matt Borelli (@MattDodgerBlue):
I think Players Weekend was a success and that it should return for next season.
It was cool to see players from all over the league express themselves with a nickname on the back of their jerseys, along with customized cleats, socks and bats.
The only thing that I wasn’t a fan of was the color scheme of the uniforms. I would’ve preferred that the Dodgers wore their traditional home whites. Or at the very least a jersey that resembled the Dodger blue look.
But all-in-all, it was a fun weekend for the fans, and players who showed the lighter side of the game for a Little League kind of feel.
Eric Avakian (@AvakEric):
I believe that Players Weekend was a huge success, as it allowed players a break from the stern traditions of baseball. Although MLB cracked down on the use of some nicknames, it gave players an opportunity to lighten the mood roughly one month before intensity picks up in the postseason.
The overall design of the uniforms added to the unique jerseys, with colors players would never usually see on from respective teams. I think Players Weekend also did a good job appealing to the youth fan base of baseball, with players allowing fans a closer glimpse into the type of person they are and the meaning behind their nickname.
Players Weekend should become an annual tradition, providing the players a creative outlet for the jerseys, a new uniform apparel line to make sales from and to connect with youth.
I wasn’t necessarily a fan of the Dodgers and their light blue caps, and I prefer a cap perhaps closer to the navy found in their Players Weekend jersey. However, it was just a bump in the road in what was a successful weekend.
Jared Massey (@JarredJMassey):
I thought the Players Weekend uniforms were a nice change of pace. The nicknames were pretty good; I still can’t believe Utley agreed to participate and then went with ‘Silver Fox.’ Engaging the fans, especially young fans, is crucial to continue growing the game.
Daniel Starkand (@DStarkand):
I think Players Weekend was a cool edition to Major League Baseball, as in a 162-game season games can get really repetitive. So it was a nice change to see players wearing different jerseys with nicknames on the back, wearing personalized cleats, and using custom bats and other gear.
I personally wasn’t a fan of most of the jerseys that the teams were wearing, but it was just for one weekend so it wasn’t a huge deal.
Players Weekend should definitely return next season, but I think the players should be able to design their jerseys. It could be cool to see what some of them come up with.
Jeff Spiegel (@JeffSpiegel):
I’m always in favor of more fun in sports, so as far as I’m concerned, Players Weekend was a huge success. After all, any opportunity I get to see Kyle Seager referred to as “Corey’s Brother” or Chase Utley as “Silver Fox,” I’m in.
That said, I think fans should have more input on some of the names. We could have done better than “Cody Love” (Cody Bellinger), “Kersh” (Clayton Kershaw) or “Seager” (Corey Seager), right?
At the end of the day, though, I’m a fan of the idea and would love to see it happen again.