MIAMI -- For most big leaguers, Players' Weekend is a unique opportunity to don a silly nickname, spice up their uniform and have some fun. For Nick Markakis, however, this weekend is the perfect chance to honor the most important people in his life: his family.Markakis, who will sport "TTT"
MIAMI -- For most big leaguers, Players' Weekend is a unique opportunity to don a silly nickname, spice up their uniform and have some fun. For Nick Markakis, however, this weekend is the perfect chance to honor the most important people in his life: his family.
Markakis, who will sport "TTT" on the back of his jersey against the Marlins this weekend, is bringing his three sons out on the field with him.
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"Taylor, Tucker and Toby, those are my three boys," Markakis said. "[My teammates] call me 'Cakes,' but I think it's more important to have my kids on there."
Although Markakis had a creative nickname ready to go, the 13-year veteran said placing his three sons' first initials on his jersey this weekend was a no-brainer. Further, "family" is written in black ink on a patch on the right sleeve of his jersey. It sits right below "thank you."
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"It's all about family. Family is first and foremost, and everything else falls into place after that," Markakis said. "I know my kids love it. They love what I do, and to have them involved and be part of it is something special to me."
Markakis isn't alone. Several players around the league are proudly representing their families in the form of their Players' Weekend jerseys. Freddie Freeman, just one locker to Markakis' right in the Marlins' visitor's clubhouse, is wearing a jersey that reads "Andrew," which honors his brother.
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"For all of us, our most important possession is our family," Braves skipper Brian Snitker explained. "For those guys that are fathers and can acknowledge their parents or a special coach or somebody like that that is big in their life, it means a lot to them."
To Snitker, the impact of family for a ballplayer is massive, and it even pays dividends on the field. Snitker would know -- after all, he's been around the game of baseball longer than some of his players have even been alive.
"I told Freddie that when he had his child, I said, 'You're going to love playing baseball so much more now.' That gives him a great perspective," Snitker said. "You have somebody else now that's really important in your life, and it's the greatest thing in the world to start a family. They don't care if you give up runs or didn't get any hits when you get home -- they're just glad to see you. It's good for these guys when that happens."
Markakis did more than just honor his kids on his jersey. On Thursday night, his boys were in the clubhouse, hanging out with the team and, best of all, spending time with their dad.
"They like coming to the field, they like being around the guys," Markakis said. "Had to get them in here at least one day, and it was a boys' night in the hotel. They came home with me and gave their mom a break. It was a good day."
As for Snitker's thoughts on Players' Weekend as a whole, the veteran manager is all for it -- especially when his team takes full advantage of the opportunity to honor those that support them unconditionally.
"I think they have fun with it, the guys do. This is kind of a big deal for them to get outside the box a little bit, beyond the traditional baseball things. If they're having fun with it, then I am," Snitker said.
Max Goodman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami. Follow him on Twitter @Max_Goodman97.