Major League Baseball’s Players’ Weekend will be August 23-25. The monochromatic jerseys (more on that in a second) were revealed this week, as were the player nicknames, and social media was promptly set aflame with hot takes on everything. The colors, the visibility, the nicknames, it was all up for debate. The Cubs game is still hours away because Cincinnati doesn’t believe in Friday Afternoon Baseball, so I compiled my favorite takes from Twitter, a few takes of my own, and am very interested in your takes in the comments.
I want to be really clear at the outset. I understand what MLB thinks they are doing with these hard to read all-white or all-black “canvases” as Anthony Castrovince referred to them. In case you missed that, here is the official explanation:
The uniforms will be black and white. The players will bring the color.
In a new twist on what has quickly become a vibrant event, Players’ Weekend, to be held this year on Aug. 23-25 – an opportunity for players to showcase their passions, backgrounds and interests by putting their personal touches, including nicknames, on what they wear and the equipment they use -- will feature monochromatic black or white uniforms.
They are simple and sharp, and they will help the creatively colored and decorated equipment -- including bats, spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves and catcher’s equipment -- pop. With jerseys by Majestic, caps by New Era Cap and socks from Stance, they are the black-and-white canvases upon which players will paint their personalities for the weekend-long event planned jointly by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association.
Like, I get it. But also I have some concerns.
My primary concern is that I’ve never worn a piece of all white clothing in my life without spilling something on it immediately. Let’s be honest, there is nothing magical about an all white jersey with a big yellow stain on it:
My second concern is that it’s really hard to see some of the numbers and details, particularly on the white uniforms. It took me three passes to find the Cubs hat in the gallery MLB sent over with their press release:
Finally, the whole black and white look is just a little jarring on the eyes. Here are some of the insta-reactions from Cubs Twitter:
Players weekend gonna look like. pic.twitter.com/72wOzeOvn4— Danny Rockett (@SonRanto) August 7, 2019
Who designed those jerseys? Boss Hogg? pic.twitter.com/zHX7CvB3fY— Chevel (@Chevelpr) August 6, 2019
The jerseys are only part of the equation in players’ weekend. The other part is absolutely the nicknames. Below are the Cubs with their actual players’ weekend nicknames and my assessment.
Albert Almora Jr.: Tico - B: It’s fine. It’s clearly his nickname, he’s gone with this before.
Javier Báez: El Mago - A: This may be the most well-known nickname in baseball, and Javy has never let any of us down with his magic acts.
David Bote: Boat - B: The only problem with this nickname is that there is a better version of it, it was even a bobblehead this year. Can you just be McBoatface ONE TIME?
Kris Bryant: KB - D: Is this even a nickname? It’s just initials... There are so many better options.
Victor Caratini: Vic - D: Seriously, guys. You need to have a creativity party in Spring Training to figure this out.
Nicholas Castellanos: Artist - B: It is a nickname, I have no idea what it means. I will prefer to believe this is only on his jersey b/c he hadn’t come to Chicago yet and had no idea we would come up with gems like “The Stick” or “Big Energy.”
Tyler Chatwood: Chatty - B-: This feels slightly better than Vic, but not by much.
Steve Cishek: Speedpass - A-: This is good, I like it. It’s a nickname, it could conceivably relate to baseball.
Willson Contreras: Venezuela - A: He’s literally wearing his heart on his jersey. The only way this would be better is if MLB would let him just put the flag on his back.
Yu Darvish: Yu-San - C: Admittedly, I don’t know enough about the cultural implications to know and if I’m wrong I will be gladly clapped back at in the comments, but this feels just like a riff on his actual name.
Taylor Davis: BTD - B+: See how easy it is to bump your initials from a D to a B+, KB?
Ian Happ: Happer - B-: See comments on Tyler Chatwood.
Cole Hamels: Hollywood - A: This is clearly a nickname, it references his movie star good looks. Great work.
Kyle Hendricks: Hendo - B-: This thing where you take part of your name and add a new letter is lazy nicknames.
Jason Heyward: J-Hey - B: Still just a combination of actual letters of the name, but one that is distinct enough (and used enough) that it is actually his nickname.
Derek Holland: Dutch - A: This is a clever play on the whole Holland thing.
Tony Kemp: Chieng - B-: I was torn on this. It’s his wife’s maiden name. So it’s just a family name and not really a nickname, but it’s a nice gesture so I bumped the grade.
Craig Kimbrel: Dirty Craig - A: I admit, I lol’d.
Brandon Kintzler: Salt - A: I’ve always loved this nickname. A++
Jon Lester: Lefthander: B-: He’s improving, I guess? I mean it wasn’t that long ago he just went with Lester. Would it be too hard for him to go with BDJ?
Brandon Morrow: B Mo: C-: So I almost left him off this list he’s been gone so long, but he could play in September. This is like J-Hey, except fans don’t actually call him that, so it’s not as good.
David Phelps: Phelpsy - B-: See Chatwood
Jose Quintana: Lelo - A: Definitely a nickname even if it’s not one we use.
Anthony Rizzo: Tony - B-: I mean, Tony is a nickname for Anthony, I guess..
Kyle Ryan: KR91 - B+: The numbers after the initials boost this to BTD territory.
Kyle Schwarber: Schwarbs - B: It’s a nickname, we use it for him, basically J-Hey territory
Pedro Strop: Stropy - B-: See Chatwood
Rowan Wick: Row - C: What did I say about portions of actual names?
There were some great suggestions on Twitter for these as well, here were a few of my favorites:
Lester=BDJ— the bad Katie (@KatieKatCubs) August 9, 2019
Um, 100% yes re: Caratini. How is that not his jersey?
Favorites: el mago, venezuela— CubFanMike (@Cams322Mike) August 8, 2019
Least favorite: anyone that is just shortening a last name, or KB, c'mon, that's just initials
Best suggestions: Kb should have gone with "Clutch", I mean eff the haters
Schwarbs should go with "Smash" or "Hulk" or "Banner"
Happ should be "Waffles"
CubFanMike is totally channeling what I think this weekend should be all about. I would LOVE to see KB go as Clutch and Schwarbs to embrace the hulk.
Ebsoftball did a whole set and I love him for it:
What say you, readers? Do you like the uniforms? What about the nicknames? Have at it, BCB.