MINNEAPOLIS -- Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are introducing the inaugural Players Weekend, this Friday throught Sunday, when all players will wear colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs, and Twins players are excited for the chance to show off their personalities to the fans.• Players Weekend gear
MINNEAPOLIS -- Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are introducing the inaugural Players Weekend, this Friday throught Sunday, when all players will wear colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs, and Twins players are excited for the chance to show off their personalities to the fans.
• Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com
The Twins will be in Toronto for a three-game series that weekend, and players will be allowed to have a nickname placed on the back of the jerseys made by Majestic Athletic, as well as wearing and using uniquely colored and designed spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher's masks and bats.
"The whole goal is just to get fans closer to the game," said Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, who will have 'Gibby' on the back of his jersey. "One of the cool things about today's game is that social media is hopefully allowing fans to get a good feel for who we are, not just on the field, but off the field. So whether it's designing your cleats, putting whatever you want on the back of your jersey or things like that, I think it gives fans a chance to maybe see our style."
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 who they are grateful for in helping them advance their careers, such as a family member or a coach.
"It'll be fun," said second baseman James Dozier, who will have 'Doz' as his nickname. "There's a patch with our handwriting about the most influential people in our life in baseball. It's tough because I've had a lot of people that have impacted me, but I just put the people of Fulton, Mississippi. It's my small hometown, and they mean a lot to me."
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.
"I think the NBA has done it, and the fan base loved it and the players loved it," said catcher Chris Gimenez, whose nickname will be 'G.' "A lot of times you can't really show the exuberance we have, which I totally understand why we have rules in place. But I think this will be a cool weekend for guys to show off some designs and show who they really are. People don't get to see us as much off the field as on."
Other nicknames for the Twins include 'Magic,' for Ervin Santana and 'Buck,' for Byron Buxton.
"It's something different to try," Buxton said. "I think it's pretty cool to find ways to interact with the fans more. I'm going with 'Buck.'"
Here's a list of nicknames that some Twins are expected to sport on the back of their jerseys on Players Weekend:
• James Dozier: "DOZ"
• Miguel Sano: "BOQUETON"
• Ervin Santana: "MAGIC"
• Byron Buxton: "BUCK"
• Eddie Rosario: "BAUDIDOU"
• Jose Berrios: "ORLANDITO"
• Max Kepler: "ROZ̈YCKI"
• Jorge Polanco: "CHULO"
• Eduardo Escobar: "EL DE LA PICA"
• Bartolo Colon: "MORALES"
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and **Facebook**.