ST. PETERSBURG -- "The Buffalo" will be roaming among the myriad names on the backs of Rays jerseys when the inaugural Players Weekend takes place Friday-Sunday.Fans can look forward to seeing players wear non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs and nicknames. And, of course, that means Rays catcher Wilson Ramos will
ST. PETERSBURG -- "The Buffalo" will be roaming among the myriad names on the backs of Rays jerseys when the inaugural Players Weekend takes place Friday-Sunday.
Fans can look forward to seeing players wear non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs and nicknames. And, of course, that means Rays catcher Wilson Ramos will have "The Buffalo" on the back of his jersey.
•Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com
Ramos has owned the nickname since former Washington Nationals teammate Ian Desmond anointed him with the moniker. The veteran catcher explained his nickname's origin.
"I was catching one day, and it was one of those rough days," Ramos said. "I'm catching all kinds of heat. Balls were hitting me all over the place, and I'm getting bruises all over my arms. Ian tells me, 'I don't know how you do it. No matter what happens, you're always ready to go. You're a buffalo.' After that I was 'The Buffalo.'"
And the name stuck.
"Everybody started calling me Buffalo," said Ramos with a smile. "It's like Buffalo, Buffalo. And I liked it."
•Players Weekend: Nicknames of the game
Players 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.
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.
Also, 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, and 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.
"I know a lot of guys will like [the Players Weekend]," Ramos said. "Nothing better than having fun at this job. Should be a fun weekend for everybody."
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.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays from MLB.com since 2005.