MILWAUKEE -- Among the features of Players Weekend on Aug. 25-27, players around Major League Baseball will get to have nicknames on the backs of their jerseys above their numbers.Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett already uses his nickname on the field every day, so he did something a little ironic
MILWAUKEE -- Among the features of Players Weekend on Aug. 25-27, players around Major League Baseball will get to have nicknames on the backs of their jerseys above their numbers.
Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett already uses his nickname on the field every day, so he did something a little ironic with his jersey. Gennett will wear his given name, Ryan, above his No. 4. His full name is Ryan Joseph Gennett.
• Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com
"I think a lot of people ask, 'What is your real name?' A lot of people don't know," Gennett explained. "I think that's maybe a way to eliminate some of those questions. You never want to get asked over and over the same question. To be able to put it out there, and answer some of those people's questions, is pretty cool."
As a little kid in Lebanon, Ohio, outside of Cincinnati, Gennett adopted the name Scooter, who is one of the characters on "The Muppet Show." His favorite cartoon at the time was "Muppet Babies."
"I think it just stuck more in baseball. I didn't answer to Ryan for a year or two," Gennett said. "My teammates had to call me Scooter. I think it fit well in baseball. All my friends would call me Scooter. Teachers, a lot of them called me Ryan. Baseball, for some reason, it just fit."
• 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.
All game-worn jerseys from Players Weekend will be auctioned at MLB.com/auctions, with 100 percent of net proceeds being donated to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, which is focused on improving amateur baseball and softball programs in the United States and Canada.
The special uniforms will first be worn by the Pirates and Cardinals during the MLB Little League Classic to be played in Williamsport, Pa., on Aug. 20 during the 2017 Little League World Series. The Reds will be hosting the Pirates at Great American Ball Park on Players Weekend.
"It's a way for players to express themselves a little more," Gennett said. "Maybe we can bring more attention to that weekend of baseball, and that these guys actually have personalities and aren't robots playing baseball.
"I think it's awesome what MLB is doing this year. It's new to everybody, but I'm sure it will continue to happen. I think people appreciate it. We appreciate being able to express ourselves a little bit."
Each player also will be sporting a special patch on his sleeve with a logo that shows the progression of a child evolving into a Major Leaguer. There is white space under the logo where players can write the name of a person they are grateful to for helping them advance their careers.
"We have people we want to thank, but unless you're in front of a camera or someone is asking you, it's kind of hard to get that out there," Gennett said.
Gennett has chosen to thank and honor his father, Joe, on his sleeve patch.
"He worked with me all the time," Gennett said. "We've had some good moments on the field, some bad. But they were all directed toward getting me better and ultimately getting a college scholarship. Everything above that was kind of the cherry on top. All of that work and sacrifice he made to allow me to be the best I can."
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.