BOSTON -- When it came down to choosing the name that would appear on the back of his jersey for the first Players Weekend, Orioles star third baseman Manny Machado had options.His first name, of course, was one choice. Too obvious for him.• O's Players Weekend gear availableHis second choice
BOSTON -- When it came down to choosing the name that would appear on the back of his jersey for the first Players Weekend, Orioles star third baseman Manny Machado had options.
His first name, of course, was one choice. Too obvious for him.
• O's Players Weekend gear available
His second choice was something he picked up while playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. That wasn't exactly right for him, either.
Instead, he went back to where it all started, to the ballfields of South Florida where he fell in love with the game, and thus "Mr. Miami" was born.
"It was hard for me to come up with a nickname," Machado said before Friday's 16-3 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. "Everyone calls me Manny. My nickname is Manny. I'm not going to put Manny on the back of my jersey. I'd rather do something a bit more important. It was either between 'Mr. Miami' or 'El Ministro,' what they were calling me during the Classic. I just want to do something to represent home, represent where I started playing baseball."
As part of the advisory committee for the Players Weekend festivities, Machado views this as an opportunity to for the players to show a bit more of their personalities through their nicknames, custom cleats, bats and tribute patches, and the fans to be able to enjoy the league loosening the reigns on uniformity on the field, if just for one weekend.
"It's just representing a little bit and showing everyone a little bit of ourselves, how we live, how we go about our business every day," he said. "Overall, it's going to be a fun weekend for everyone all around baseball. From the fans out there, for the kids watching, we always play this game for them. Now we're doing something our way, that the Commissioner's letting us have this opportunity to do this. We're going to go out there and enjoy ourselves and show everyone how we play baseball."
Machado has chosen to use his sleeve patches to pay tribute to his uncle, Geovanny Brito, who was integral in raising him in life and within the game, the Hialeah Athletics Association, where he began playing ball, and his mother, Rosa Nunez.
Along with being able to honor the people and places that helped shape him, the All-Star was also looking forward to showing off some new lumber and kicks as well.
"My bats, my cleats, everything," Machado said. "I can't wait. It's going to be a fun weekend, be on the lookout."
Asked if everyone had to wait to see what flair he was bringing to Players Weekend, an excited Machado grinned and added, "Of course you do."
Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston and covered the Orioles on Friday.