NEW YORK -- When the Rangers travel to Oakland for a three-game series against the Athletics from Aug. 25-27, the names on the back of some players' jerseys may seem a tad odd or unfamiliar -- and it won't be because the players will be different.Instead, MLB players will have
NEW YORK -- When the Rangers travel to Oakland for a three-game series against the Athletics from Aug. 25-27, the names on the back of some players' jerseys may seem a tad odd or unfamiliar -- and it won't be because the players will be different.
Instead, MLB players will have the chance to place their nickname on their jersey rather than their last name as part of Players Weekend, MLB and the MLB Players Association announced Wednesday.
• Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com
In addition to the fun wrinkle of using their nicknames, players will sport new jerseys from Majestic Athletic, specially designed cleats and fresh socks from Stance, and caps from New Era. On each jersey, a blank space will give the players an opportunity to honor someone who has helped advance their careers.
Some Rangers already have a good idea how they will take advantage of the weekend. Drew Robinson, for instance, said he is planning on using his nickname, "Petey," on the back of his jersey. Robinson said showing off a nickname or revealing a little personality will be a way for fans to see the camaraderie in the clubhouse and players' creativity.
"I think we're gonna have fun with it," Robinson said. "I'm excited to see what happens with it."
Robinson's cleats will be painted with a Las Vegas theme, he said, a homage to his hometown. Delino DeShields is also going to use his nickname, "Poppa," that weekend, on top of cleats based on his favorite cartoon growing up.
And which cartoon is that?
"You're just going to have to see," he said.
DeShields thinks players should have more opportunities to express themselves like this, which would help the game connect with the younger generation.
"You can sit there and watch them create this guy, and that's what they want to see," DeShields said. "I think it's a great idea to kind of connect with the younger generation of kids. I think it's something that should be done more often. I think it's gonna be good. I think it's gonna get a lot of good feedback."
There's also a charitable aspect of the weekend. During pregame workouts and postgame interviews, players will wear T-shirts highlighting a charity or cause of their choice. Game-worn, Players Weekend jerseys will be auctioned at MLB.com/auctions with 100% of net proceeds donated to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, which focuses on improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the U.S. and Canada.
Here's a list of nicknames that some Rangers are expected to sport on the back of their jerseys on Players Weekend:
• Adrian Beltre: "El Koja"
• Elvis Andrus: "Comando"
• Cole Hamels: "Hollywood"
• Mike Napoli: "Porterhouse"
• Rougned Odor: "El Tipo"
• Nomar Mazara: "Big Chill"
• Joey Gallo: "Joe Joe"
• Carlos Gomez: "El Titere"
• Shin-Soo Choo: "Tokki 1"
• Delino DeShields: "Poppa"
Chris Bumbaca is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.