DETROIT -- Ian Kinsler has gone by the nickname "Kins" ever since he joined the Tigers three seasons ago. Very few people know him by the nickname "Bootsie," but the few that call him that have a story behind it.Once Kinsler puts the latter nickname on his jersey for the
DETROIT -- Ian Kinsler has gone by the nickname "Kins" ever since he joined the Tigers three seasons ago. Very few people know him by the nickname "Bootsie," but the few that call him that have a story behind it.
Once Kinsler puts the latter nickname on his jersey for the upcoming Players Weekend, it might be a little more popular.
"I didn't know what else to put on the back of my jersey, so I went with that," Kinsler said.
• Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com
If there's ever a time to use a creative nickname, Players Weekend (Friday-Sunday) is it. All players will wear colorful, non-traditional uniforms, caps and socks featuring alternate designs, and they will have the opportunity to place a nickname on the back. Players can also use uniquely colored and designed equipment like bats, batting spikes, batting gloves, wristbands and compression sleeves. During pregame workouts and postgame interviews, they'll wear T-shirts highlighting a charity or cause of their choice.
Kinsler expects to have a unique bat design through his Warstic Bat Company, which he co-owns with Detroit rock star Jack White. But the nickname might garner the most attention. It goes back a decade to his early years with the Rangers.
• Players Weekend: Nicknames of the game
"That was a nickname [former Rangers manager] Ron Washington gave me back in 2007," Kinsler said.
Kinsler missed a month that season with a stress fracture in his left foot. He was walking around in a boot for part of that time while the fracture healed, which Washington found funny.
"He just started calling me Bootsie," Kinsler said. "He called me that through my career in Texas. And then when I got here, we got David Price, and then he started calling me that. I don't know how he found out about it or what, but he started calling me Bootsie."
Kinsler thought the nickname was dead once the Tigers traded Price a couple years ago, until Lloyd McClendon revived it when he arrived as hitting coach this spring.
"McClendon and Wash are really good friends," Kinsler said, "so McClendon started calling me that. It's kind of made it through somehow. It's kind of stuck."
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 to whom they are grateful for helping them advance their careers, such as family or a coach.
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 U.S. and Canada.
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 during the 2017 Little League World Series. That game will take place at Bowman Field, home of the Williamsport Crosscutters, a Phillies affiliate in the Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.