Here are Cubs' Players' Weekend nicknames
PITTSBURGH -- Some are self-explanatory. Some honor family members or causes. Others are just plain fun. No matter what category the nicknames fall under, they will be present once again on the back of the Cubs' uniforms for a handful of games this month.
For the third year in a row, Major Leaguers will don monikers on their backs as part of Players' Weekend from Aug. 23-25. The Cubs and Pirates will also wear special uniforms -- complete with the nicknames -- as part of the Little League Classic presented by Geico on Sunday in Williamsport, Pa. Chicago's Little League-themed jerseys will say "Cubbies" across the chest.
Here are the nicknames the Cubs will wear, with explanations for those that may not be immediately obvious.
Albert Almora Jr.: "TICO"
Almora is currently with Triple-A Iowa, but this is a nickname his mother gave him to differentiate from his father, who of course shares Almora's given name. "Tico" is a suffix that is sometimes added to words that essentially means small, or in this case, junior.
Though it was primarily his mother who used the nickname at home, Almora's father also started calling him "Tico" when he helped out Almora's high school baseball team.
Javier Báez: "EL MAGO"
Spanish for "The Magician," Baez was given the nickname by fans in Puerto Rico after his sensational work in the field -- particularly on tag plays -- during the 2016 postseason.
David Bote: "BOAT"
So many people have mispronounced his last name as "boat" over the years that the slugger decided to keep the nickname on his jersey for a second straight season.
"I mean I've heard 'Boat' so much anyway that I may as well just roll with it at this point," he said.
Kris Bryant: "KB"
Victor Caratini: "VIC"
Nicholas Castellanos: "ARTIST"
Castellanos enjoys painting and photography in his spare time and often signs his pieces as, simply, "Artist" when he's finished.
Tyler Chatwood: "CHATTY"
Steve Cishek: "SPEEDPASS"
Cishek worked as a gas station attendant when he was in high school in Falmouth, Mass. The gas station used a "Speedpass" device as a payment option, something that Cishek's friends saw as an opportunity for a new moniker. As a group of his buddies were driving by Cishek's place of employment one day, they rolled down the window and yelled, "Hey, Speedpass!" as they drove by. When he arrived at school the following day, Cishek discovered that, for better or worse, the name had stuck.
Manager Joe Maddon and the Cubs coaching staff call Cishek "Shrek," but the reliever opted to go with the nickname given to him by his high school friends for a second straight season.
Willson Contreras: "VENEZUELA"
Contreras has been using social media and other avenues to raise awareness for the humanitarian and political crisis in his home country of Venezuela, and Players' Weekend provides another platform. The All-Star catcher has been selling "Freedom for Venezuela" shirts with profits going to a Venezuelan foundation that provides food and medicine to those impacted by the unrest in his native country.
Yu Darvish: "YU-SAN"
The addition of "san" to a name in Japan is a sign of respect.
Cole Hamels: "HOLLYWOOD"
Former Phillies teammates Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins started calling the right-hander "Hollywood" during their Minor League days. As Hamels notes, "If you get a nickname in the Minors, it follows you forever."
Ian Happ: "HAPPER"
Kyle Hendricks: "HENDO"
Jason Heyward: "J-HEY"
Derek Holland: "DUTCH"
Holland has long held the nickname "Dutch Oven," which is also his Twitter handle. The "Dutch" part comes from a play on his last name, as Dutch is obviously the predominant language spoken in Holland. Holland, however, was born in Newark, Ohio, some 4,000 miles away from the Netherlands.
Tony Kemp: "CHIENG"
Kemp is wearing his wife's maiden name on the back of his jersey.
"My father-in-law never had a son," Kemp explained. "Only daughters. So I'm doing it for him."
Craig Kimbrel: "DIRTY CRAIG"
As one of the most prolific strikeout pitchers in Major League history, this one is pretty simple -- Kimbrel's pitches have often been described as nasty or "dirty" by opposing hitters.
Brandon Kintzler: "SALT"
As with many nicknames throughout baseball, Kintzler was saddled with this one during his time in the Minors. It came about as a result of his self-described "salty attitude at times." He was hesitant to put it on his jersey last season but was ultimately talked into it -- and he'll have the same one again this year.
Jon Lester: "LEFTHANDER"
Lester ranks among the top 20 in strikeouts all-time by a left-handed pitcher.
Jonathan Lucroy: "LUC"
Brandon Morrow: "B MO"
David Phelps: "PHELPSY"
José Quintana: "LELO"
Quintana himself often goes by "Q," but he chose to use his brother Abel's nickname "Lelo" on the back of his jersey for a second straight year.
Anthony Rizzo: "TONY"
Kyle Ryan: "KR91"
It's his initials combined with the year he was born (1991). It's a long-running tradition in his family to add someone's birth year at the end of their initials to help avoid any confusion in a group full of people with the same initials.
"All my dad's side of the family are 'KBR' initials. It goes down the line with my sister, both my uncles and dad, all the way down the line," he said. "So we couldn't always just put 'KR' or even 'KBR' on stuff, so we would always go with our birth years, so it'd be like 'KR91' or 'KR88' or 'KR68'. Then, one thing led to another, and everyone is just calling each other by their number instead of their names."
Kyle Schwarber: "SCHWARBS"
Pedro Strop: "STROPY"
Rowan Wick: "ROW"