This past weekend, the MLB experimented with a little idea that gave the league’s players an opportunity to show off their personalities and have some fun. That idea was the Players Weekend nickname jersey. Players on each team had special nicknames on the back of special jerseys for that weekend’s games. Some players, such as Brett Gardner, put their own last name on the jersey since their respective teams don’t put names on jerseys, other players showed off with crazy nicknames. The Daily Campus sports staff discussed their favorite nicknames from Players Weekend in this week’s Roundtable.
Matt Barresi - Staff Writer
My personal favorite, which I discovered while watching the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Williamsport game a couple weeks ago, was ‘Davehuman’ for David Freese. The Buc’s third baseman’s choice was somewhat humorous upon first glance and the unique story to it is why I liked it. It’s not rocket science where nicknames like “Cutch” for Andrew McCutchen or “Super Nova” for Ivan Nova came from. If you don’t know the origin, Freese owns a dog named Bob, who is often taken care of by his friend named Bob. When Bob the human got a dog, he named it Dave. I just thought the uniqueness of the nickname made it better than some of the ones that come from phonetic origins.
Kristina Carretero - Campus Correspondent
My favorite nickname jerseys are definitely biased since I am a die hard Mets fan. Jose Reyes’ jersey is “La Melaza,” which translates to ‘molasses’, not because he’s slow but for years he’s used this term to describe how his game was sweet as the syrup. Another favorite from the Mets’ team is rookie Chris Flexen’s jersey that reads “Big Baby,” a nickname given by Dave Racaniello and used by the Mets. The nickname was given to Flexen because he’s the “baby” on the team and happens to look like one, too. These are personal favorites of mine because they’re humorous and relate to the team in unique way, instead of just shorter versions of the players’ names.
The MLB jersey I was most shocked about is Bartolo Colon, Minnesota Twins’ pitcher. Myself, and I’m sure many fans of Colon, were expecting his jersey to be “Big Sexy,” his nickname that has stuck throughout his MLB career. Colon went with “Morales,” which was a tribute to his mother, Adriana Morales.
Rachel Schaefer - Campus Correspondent
Josh Phegley of the Oakland A’s summed up perfectly how it feels to be a player who glides under the radar:“PTBNL.” While he himself was never actually traded as a PTBNL, he refers to himself as an anonymous backup catcher and thus thinks the name is fitting. For those unaware, PTBNL stands for Player To Be Named Later. This is an oft-used part of trades, where teams are looking for someone to make the trade just a little better, but aren’t quite sure what that missing piece will be yet. They’ll complete the trade, acknowledging that one team will be sending a PTBNL. Some famous PTBNL include David Ortiz, Coco Crisp and Noah Syndergaard. Sometimes it pays to be undervalued.
Connor Donahue - Digital Editor
I need to take this space to acknowledge prolific Red Sox tweeter and Barstool Sports writer Jared Carrabis. His uncanny ability to create a nickname for basically every Red Sox player resulted in not just one, but two players using nicknames he created for their jerseys. The first being former Red Sox third basemen and current Milwaukee Brewer Travis Shaw. He has the hilarious nickname “Mayor of Ding Dong City” for his knack of hitting home runs (ding dongs). Since it’s a rather long nickname, Shaw cut it down to “Mayor-DDC.” The other nickname that made it onto a jersey belonging to current Red Sox player Mitch Moreland. The first basement started the season hitting an absurd amount of doubles, earning him the name “Mitchy Two Bags” from Carrabis. So clearly, Moreland had to choose the nickname “2-Bags” for his jersey this weekend. Hopefully this Little League Weekend becomes an annual thing and Carrabis can keep doing what he does best.
Andrew Morrison - Staff Writer
Thirty years from now, baseball fans will likely remember the name Corey Seager. The Dodgers shortstop is already one of the game’s brightest young stars. His brother Kyle, however, is a bit more forgettable. The Seattle veteran third baseman was an All-Star in 2014, but his career numbers are not exactly Cooperstown material. So it’s only fitting that Kyle’s nickname jersey appropriately read, “Corey’s Brother.” It’s great to see Kyle acknowledge his brother’s success, while also providing some perfectly executed self-deprecating humor. I’ll also give an honorable mention to Kyle’s teammate, Robinson Cano, who went with “Don’t You Know.” The nickname is a reference to Yankees’ radio announcer John Sterling’s home run call for the former Yankee second baseman. Yankees fans have a complicated relationship with Cano to say the least, but it’s always nice to see a player tip his cap to a former fanbase.
Dylan Barrett - Campus Correspondent
Who’s pitching? Ray’s hurler Chih-Wei Hu took advantage of his name and Abbott and Costello’s famous comedy routine “Who’s on First?” to create one of the more interesting and humorous nicknames from the weekend. Surely, he created a gateway for fans and announcers surrounding the Rays to run their own version of the routine with “Who?” written on the back of his jersey. With amusing confusion, Hu’s nickname was one of the better ones from the event.
Kenny Beardsley - Campus Correspondent
I’m going to use this space to vent a little bit. Players Weekend is a solid idea in principle but it felt extremely unnatural. In professional sports like basketball and soccer the players’ personalities come out naturally both on and off the pitch. Conversely, baseball has always struggled with the transparency of player personalities. The brunt of the blame can fall on the “Cardinal Rules” of baseball; these unwritten rules of the game unfortunately include no showboating, translation, all forms of emotion. This often creates a sensation of reservation within the players to hide their true personalities. Not Yasiel Puig. The weekend was a good way to get the ball rolling for a personality driven league in the future but some players like Brett Gardner who had “Gardner” on his jersey didn't totally buy in. The only way to have players truly show who they are is through natural occurrences. *Takes a deep breath*. That being said seeing some of the heroes of the game wear their famous nicknames was pretty cool; “All Rise” for Aaron Judge and “The Machine” for Albert Pujols for example.
Chris Hanna - Associate Sports Editor
I have to agree with Andrew on this one. No doubt about it, Kyle Seager had the best nickname jersey of all because everybody loves a little bit of self-deprecation while giving some love to a the better athlete of a sibling. His “Corey’s brother” nickname jersey will hopefully end up in Cooperstown one day for its sheer brilliance.
I also have to give some love to Aaron Judge for his “All Rise” jersey. Even though his numbers are way down since the All-Star break, as a Yankees’ fan I appreciate him giving homage to his last name and the pandemonium that has come out of his fantastic year at the plate, which could very well lead the Bronx Bombers back to the playoffs.
I have one last honorable mention for my favorite likely future Yankee Manny Machado, aka Mr. Miami, who gave a shout out to his hometown on the back of his Players Weekend jersey.