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All you need to know about Players' Weekend

MLB.com @castrovince

Sure, the name on the front of the jersey will always carry more weight than the name on the back. But when Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association first introduced Players' Weekend last summer, the game embraced individuality, allowing the charisma and creativity of players like "Mr. Smile" (Francisco Lindor), "Big Maple" (James Paxton) and "Wild Horse" (Yasiel Puig) to rise to the surface like never before.

Players' Weekend presented by Valspar will again bring a bright splash of color to baseball the weekend of Aug. 24-26 with a relaxation of uniform rules and an opportunity for players to salute those who helped pave their paths to the bigs.

Sure, the name on the front of the jersey will always carry more weight than the name on the back. But when Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association first introduced Players' Weekend last summer, the game embraced individuality, allowing the charisma and creativity of players like "Mr. Smile" (Francisco Lindor), "Big Maple" (James Paxton) and "Wild Horse" (Yasiel Puig) to rise to the surface like never before.

Players' Weekend presented by Valspar will again bring a bright splash of color to baseball the weekend of Aug. 24-26 with a relaxation of uniform rules and an opportunity for players to salute those who helped pave their paths to the bigs.

:: Players' Weekend presented by Valspar Stain ::

Once again, nicknames will replace surnames on jerseys, which will feature colorful concoctions and youthful designs. The bats, spikes, batting gloves, wristbands and catcher's masks will beam a little brighter. Players will have the option of wearing T-shirts highlighting a cause or charity during pregame workouts and postgame interviews.

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And on the right sleeve of each uniform will be a patch on which players can write the name of a person who either aided in their development or inspired them. The patches and caps will also feature the "Evolution" logo, showing a progression of five players increasing in size to demonstrate the process of a player's path from Little League, through youth leagues and to the Majors -- a show of solidarity with youth baseball and softball programs.

Game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off at MLB.com, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, a joint effort focused on improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the United States and Canada. Ozzie Albies, Jose Berrios, Alex Bregman, Edwin Diaz, Didi Gregorius, Enrique Hernandez, Rhys Hoskins, Brandon Nimmo and Albert Pujols will be serving as Youth Ambassadors, promoting the event and connecting with young fans in advance of the weekend.

The alternate appellations will be back in full force in 2018. Some of the many standouts include "The Conductor" (Chris Sale), "Stringbean Slinger" (Carl Edwards Jr.), "Sabanero Soy" (Ronald Acuna Jr.) and "Brotein Shake" (Brad Hand).

Video: Get ready, 2018 Players Weekend is August 24-26

This is a weekend in which we get a little wider window into the personalities of the players, and the vibrancy of the unis (with jerseys by Majestic, caps by New Era and socks by Stance) and playfulness of the nicknames take both the athletes and the viewers back to the time when the love of the game was so deeply imbued.

"We were extraordinarily pleased that the first Players' Weekend gave fans greater insight into the players, their stories and their paths to the Major Leagues," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "By highlighting their positive influences, Players' Weekend showcased the significance of youth baseball and its role in the development of Major Leaguers. We look forward to the event returning and continuing to bring fans closer to the greatest baseball players in the world."

The Players' Weekend idea emanated out of efforts by MLB and the MLBPA -- efforts that include MLB's wide-ranging Play Ball program -- to more effectively market the sport's stars and to engage a young audience.

"Players envisioned Players' Weekend as a way to express themselves and connect with fans in a fun and more personal way," MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said. "And the opportunity for players to honor those who first stirred their passions for baseball at a grassroots level helps reinforce the way our game is handed down from generation to generation."

In one Players' Weekend game, in particular, that notion will be notably precise. The Mets and Phillies will be playing the second annual MLB Little League Classic presented by GEICO in Williamsport, Pa., at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 19. The regular-season game, which will be broadcast nationally on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball," will take place at Bowman Field, just up the road from the Little League World Series site at Howard J. Lamade Stadium, and will be attended by a crowd made up primarily of Little League players and their families.

So this will be a weekend for players to feel -- and look -- young again. Baseball will always be a team sport, but this celebration of individual expression is a special way to showcase the people who make the game great.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.