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No substitute for Altherr on Players Weekend

'A-a-ron' tribute to comedy routine during Aug. 25-27 event
MLB.com

Aaron Altherr likely won't find his name in the lineup card during Players Weekend, but it hasn't stopped his chosen moniker -- "A-a-ron" -- from making the Internet rounds.

MLB and the MLB Players Association will introduce the inaugural Players Weekend from Friday-Sunday, when players will wear colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs.

Aaron Altherr likely won't find his name in the lineup card during Players Weekend, but it hasn't stopped his chosen moniker -- "A-a-ron" -- from making the Internet rounds.

MLB and the MLB Players Association will introduce the inaugural Players Weekend from Friday-Sunday, when players will wear colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs.

• Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com

They will have the opportunity to have a nickname placed on the back of the jerseys made by Majestic Athletic, as well as to wear and use uniquely colored and designed spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher's masks and bats.

Altherr, who is on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring, will wear "A-a-ron" across the back of the Phillies cream uniform with red sleeves, as a nod to the well-known substitute teacher skit created by Comedy Central duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele.

Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks is on the same page. He too will wear "A-a-ron."

• Players Weekend: Nicknames of the game

Altherr said if he weren't injured, he'd have gone more all out in designing shoes and accessories, but since he'll likely still be on the DL, it'll be flats and not souped-up spikes on his feet.

"It's still a cool thing, though. I'm still looking forward to it," he said.

Teammates call the 6-foot-5 Altherr -- the Phillies' tallest position player -- "Stretch." His last name in German translates to "old man." He forwent both options for something just a tad bit funnier.

"It was just something, hopefully, funny that people would understand where it comes from, and that people would find funny," Altherr said. "I had a good time with this. It was pretty fun. I like the whole idea of it, and I'm sure all the other guys like it, too."

He got a kick out of scrolling through Twitter last week when the uniforms were released to find the best nicknames.

"I saw A.J. Ellis has 'Dad.' That's pretty funny," he said laughing about his former teammate. "That suits him perfectly. There's a lot of good ones out there."

Each player will wear a special patch on his sleeve showing the progression of a child evolving into a Major Leaguer. Under that logo is white space where every player will mark a name of a person whom they are grateful to for helping them advance their careers, such as family or a coach. Altherr will be thanking his parents and wife.

In addition to the stylized uniforms, players will wear specially designed caps by New Era, and unique socks from Stance. During pregame workouts and postgame interviews, they will wear T-shirts highlighting a charity or cause of their choice.

The uniforms will first be worn by the Pirates and Cardinals during the MLB Little League Classic to be played in Williamsport, Pa., on Sunday, Aug. 20 during the 2017 Little League World Series. That game will take place at Bowman Field, home of the Williamsport Crosscutters, the Phillies affiliate in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League.

"Back in a simpler time when baseball was a lot different than it is now, it's just a way to remember those days and remember how fun the game was back then. And to not put too much pressure on yourself now. It's the same game we played back then. It's fun," Altherr said.

Game-worn, Players Weekend jerseys will be auctioned at MLB.com/auctions with 100 percent of net proceeds donated to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, a joint effort established in July 2015 by MLB and the MLBPA with an initial commitment of $30 million focused on improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the United States and Canada.

The six-month season drags on and in today's current climate when ballplayers' personal expressions are highly scrutinized, the weekend is a welcome respite from the norm.

"It's just something different to break the monotony of it," Altherr said. "Baseball season is long, and if we get a chance to do stuff like this, it makes it fun. Just to get a weekend to have fun and be big kids, and come up with funny nicknames. It's a good thing. I like it a lot."

Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Phillies, Aaron Altherr