I’m pretty excited it’s player’s weekend. It’s way more than just nicknames on jerseys and special hats. It’s the one time of the year that MLB embraces their player’s personalities and let’s them show off their gear a bit. MLB doesn’t always do the best job celebrating their players. So this is a fun way for fans to peak behind the curtain a bit and learn a bit more about our favorite players.
BCBer explosiononimpact wrote a pretty good FanPost a couple weeks ago covering the player nicknames, so rather than rehashing that (although I have to give a shoutout to Jon Lester for getting into the spirit of the weekend this year with the ridiculously creative
name description, Lefthander) I wanted to take a look at some of the cooler images from yesterday’s game and who I thought brought their A-game in terms of gear for players’ weekend. So, with no particular methodology in mind (other than I liked them) and in no particular order, here are my top five favorite gear images from players’ weekend.
Ben Zobrist’s homage to his home town
Ben Zobrist caused a stir earlier this season by having the audacity to wear black cleats during day games. The mild-mannered Cubs utility man isn’t exactly known for causing a stir and the cleats were his way of showing respect for legends of the game who wore black shoes to play. So I was curious to see what types of shoes Zobrist would don for player’s weekend, he didn’t disappoint with a touching shout out to his hometown:
Green cleats today and socks that say “Eureka Roots”. So grateful for where I am from and all the people that plugged into me as a young person. I’ll never forget what it was like to put on the Green Jersey for the first time and play for Coach Gerdes. It was a dream come true for a small town kid. Thanks to everyone from back home who helped me get here! Love you all! Still living the dream. #playersweekend
Bryzzo Bromance Bats
In 2016 the Bryzzo ad campaign took off highlighting the Cubs’ star corner infielders, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. It launched a ton of spin offs including some brilliant moments highlighting intern, David Ross and employee of the month, Kyle Schwarber. Kris Bryant has been on the disabled list rehabbing a shoulder, but apparently Rizzo’s bat heart is broken without his partner in crime. This bat set is great:
David Bote and the Chicago Skyline
David Bote has a penchant for the big moment and the Cubs fans have quickly embraced the unlikely rookie success story. While you’re going to have to custom make your Bote jersey (for now), these EveryBote In! Shirts are making appearances all over the neighborhood, and you can still get your T-shirt commemorating his walkoff slam. Bote decided to use his bat to recognize a city that has welcomed him with open arms, and I love it:
Willson Contreras got his sleeves back, and more
One of my favorite things about Willson Contreras is his energy and personality. The Cubs highlighted that well in his All-Star ad campaign, but I think he’s showing it in a slightly different way this players’ weekend. The same crackdown on player self-expression that took out Zobrist’s cleats came for Willson’s arm sleeves. The sleeves were his way of showing respect for Venezuela. So I was definitely not surprised to see Willson go all out to show his love for his country during players’ weekend.
El Mago’s cleats
Speaking of players who don’t really do small things, Javier Baez has one of the best nicknames in the entire league and he certainly embraced it with his gear this weekend. However, as much as I love seeing Javy pull a rabbit out of his hat on his shoes and on the field, my favorite part of these shoes is his tribute to his sister Noely. Baez has opened up about his sister Noely who had spina bifida and died in 2015. He pays tribute to her in his tattoos as well. It’s a touching story and a reminder that in addition to magic tricks that include towering home runs and unbelievable defense, Baez is a pretty incredible brother and person.
I’m going to keep holding out hope that MLB will eventually see how player self-expression helps them connect with fans. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my eyes open this weekend. You never know what you’re going to see during players’ weekend. If I missed one of your favorites, please share it in the comments!