ST. PETERSBURG -- Inside of every Major League ballplayer is a young boy who once dreamed of becoming that ballplayer, and every one of those young boys had someone special to help them get there.
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The Red Sox will get the chance to recognize that special person -- whether it be a coach, teacher or family member -- as part of the inaugural Players Weekend on Aug. 25-27. Along with alternate color schemes and uniform designs, each player will have a custom patch bearing the name of someone that was essential to their own progression into a Major Leaguer.
Red Sox outfielder Chris Young will use the opportunity to commemorate his mother, Carolyn Reece.
"She sacrificed a lot for me to play this game," Young said. "I definitely had a lot of coaches and mentors along the way, but it was my momma that always made sure I had the best bat available on the market."
Red Sox starter Rick Porcello will also be wearing his parents, Fred and Pat, on his patch.
"They are the reason I have the opportunity to play at the big league level," Porcello said. "They were the ones that made sure I got to all my baseball games, football games, basketball games and everything they sacrificed so that I could play sports. They taught me all the life lessons that have let me remain in the league for as long as I have. I have them to thank for everything."
Along with uniquely colored and designed spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher's masks and bats, each player will have the opportunity to have their Majestic Athletic jersey custom-made with their choice of a nickname on the back. 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.
"I thing it's pretty cool," said utility man Brock Holt, who will sport "Brock Star" on the back of his uniform. "It gives players to show some of their personality a little more than they are usually able to do. I think it should be a fun weekend."
"I'm just going to go with 'Veintidós' since that is what all the Latin guys call me," Porcello said. "It's not very original, but I'm going with it."
After the weekend, the jerseys will be auctioned off, 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 U.S. and Canada.
The opportunity to get creative with their uniform monikers has several of the players anticipating what their teammates will go with.
"I'm using 'C.Y.' since it has been my nickname forever," Young said. "I want to see which nickname [second baseman Dustin Pedroia] will go with. He's got, 'The Laser Show' and all. [Starter Drew] Pomeranz's nickname is 'Big Smooth,' so I'm curious to see if he's bold enough to put that on the back of his jersey."
Fans will get their first glimpse of the novel uniforms during the MLB Little League Classic between the Pirates and Cardinals on Aug. 20, which will be played in Williamsport, Pa., during the Little League World Series. That game will take place at Bowman Field, home of the Williamsport Crosscutters, a Phillies affiliate in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League.
Here's a list of nicknames that some Red Sox are expected to sport on the back of their jerseys on Players Weekend:
• Xander Bogaerts: "X"
• Hanley Ramirez: "EL TRECÉ"
• Dustin Pedroia: "LASER SHOW"
• Andrew Benintendi: "BENNY"
• Jackie Bradley Jr.: "JBJ"
• Rick Porcello: "VEINTIDÓS"
• Thomas Pomeranz: "BIG SMOOTH"
• Chris Sale: "STICKMAN"
• Craig Kimbrel: "DIRTY CRAIG"
• Mookie Betts: "MOOKIE"