PITTSBURGH -- Last weekend, the Pirates and Cardinals gave baseball fans their first in-person look at the special uniforms all 30 Major League teams will wear for the upcoming inaugural Players Weekend.In case you missed it, the Bucs and Cards took the field at the MLB Little League Classic sporting
PITTSBURGH -- Last weekend, the Pirates and Cardinals gave baseball fans their first in-person look at the special uniforms all 30 Major League teams will wear for the upcoming inaugural Players Weekend.
In case you missed it, the Bucs and Cards took the field at the MLB Little League Classic sporting colorful alternate jerseys and caps. The Bucs' brighter shade of yellow wasn't all that changed, however. Taking advantage of the opportunity to stretch the more relaxed uniform restrictions, players swung uniquely designed bats and put nicknames on the back of their jerseys where their last names would typically appear.
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Players also have the option to honor individuals or groups that were instrumental in their development from Little League to the Major Leagues. Some players opted to stick with their last name on their jersey, or they simply joined the team too late to get a special Players Weekend nickname.
Here is a breakdown of the Pirates' nicknames and some of their tribute patches:
Sean Rodriguez: "Chich"
Rodriguez initially picked "Chi Chi," a longtime nickname that may be related to golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez when he was with the Braves. He joined the Pirates and had it shortened to "Chich," though he would have liked to make a last-minute change to "Serpico," the Pirate/pirate nickname he was given in Pittsburgh.
Tribute patch: Giselle, Sofia, Gogo, Vanelope, Zekiel, Mom -- Giselle is Rodriguez's wife, still recovering from the offseason car accident in which Rodriguez suffered a torn rotator cuff. Sofia, "Gogo," Vanelope and Zekiel are the couple's four children, often seen in close proximity to Rodriguez.
Josh Harrison: "J-Hay"
You're more likely to hear him called "J-Hay" than either his first or last name, and apparently it's been that way since he was a child. So there was little doubt what Harrison would wear come Players Weekend. It's even his Twitter handle: @jhay_da_man.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- After making his second All-Star team this July, Harrison remembered his parents' dedication to send him to the University of Cincinnati without a full scholarship. He recalled Vince Sr. and Bonita saying, "We'll find a way. We'll find a way," and they did.
Starling Marte: "Tato"
This is a common nickname for young boys from Latin American nations. It stuck enough for Marte, a native of the Dominican Republic, to use it for Players Weekend.
Tribute patch: Noelia, Papiro -- Noelia is Marte's wife, mother to their three children. Papiro is the nickname of Ramon Genao, the trainer who helped Marte sign with the Pirates.
Jordy Mercer: "The Rook"
Mercer is a veteran now, though he's quick to point out he's a "young" 30 years old -- he'll turn a "young" 31 on Sunday. Mercer earned this nickname as a freshman at Oklahoma State University, though he typically goes by "Jordy" or "Merce" around the clubhouse.
Tribute patch: My family -- An all-encompassing nod to his parents, wife Kasey and sons Maverick and Maddon.
Juan Nicasio: "Arenoso"
You won't often hear Nicasio go by this nickname around the Pirates' clubhouse -- they call him "Nicky" there -- but he says it's his go-to when he returns home to the Dominican Republic. He's from a small town called Arenoso in the Duarte province. Whenever he goes into a bigger city, like Santo Domingo, he says people greet him with a call of his hometown: "Hey, Arenoso!"
Tribute patch: Mother, Father -- A nod to his father, Francisco, and mother, Aurelia. Their support was invaluable when Nicasio suffered a broken neck when he was hit by a batted ball in 2011.
Chris Stewart: "Stew"
Always reading, studying opposing hitters or practicing his patented "smart hitting," the veteran Stewart goes by a simple shortening of his last name. You'll rarely, if ever, hear teammates call him "Chris."
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad.
Andrew McCutchen: "Cutch"
There might not have been a more obvious choice in the Pirates' clubhouse. This is the nickname by which the face of Pittsburgh's franchise is known.
Tribute patch: Maria, Mom and Dad -- Maria is McCutchen's wife, who is expecting their first child later this year. McCutchen never downplays the impact of his parents, Lorenzo and Petrina, have had on his life and his career.
David Freese: "Davehuman"
It might be funny for five people, Freese admits, but it's among the more amusing Players Weekend nicknames. Long story short, Freese and his wife, Mairin, have a dog named Bob. One of Freese's good friends, who goes by Bob, has a dog named Dave. When they're together, Freese goes by Davehuman and Bob is Bobdog to avoid confusion.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- Freese actually took some time away from baseball in college, a decision supported by his father, Guy, and mother, Lynn. They've been there throughout the historic highs and lows of his baseball career.
Adam Frazier: "Fraz"
A traditional, one-syllable baseball nickname for the Pirates' do-it-all super-utility man.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- Tim and Danielle Frazier, his parents, have supported their son's career from youth baseball to Missisippi State University, and now, the Majors.
John Jaso: "Easy J"
It's a fitting nickname for the easy-going Jaso, known now for his flowing dreadlocks and laid-back demeanor. The reputation doesn't do justice to Jaso's intelligence and work ethic, but it fits his natural curiosity and bigger-than-baseball perspective.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- Jaso's father, Greg, was perhaps his biggest influence -- and his biggest comfort during a trying first full professional season 13 years ago. Greg flew across the country just to see his son and lift his spirits.
A.J. Schugel: "Schug"
Schugel might have been better-served choosing his Twitter handle -- the well-received @Schug_Knight -- but opted instead for the abbreviated version of his last name.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- Schugel grew up around baseball thanks to his father, Jeff, a longtime scout. He chose to recognize him and his mother, Tammy.
Francisco Cervelli: "Cisco"
You're more likely to hear his pitchers call him "Cervy" when they're working with him or praising his work behind the plate, but he chose an abbreviation of his first name for Players Weekend.
Tribute patch: Damelis and Emanuele -- Cervelli's father, Emanuele, emigrated from Italy to Venezuela and started a family with his wife, Damelis. Both have been instrumental in Cervelli's career, offering tough love and support. They often visited their son during his time bouncing between the Majors and Minors with the Yankees.
Jose Osuna: "El Gocho"
Don't be fooled by the direct translation. Like Diaz, Osuna chose this nickname to represent his native Venezuela. Those who live in the mountains or at high elevations are known as "gochos," so Osuna decided to be "El Gocho."
Tribute patch: Mama and Papa
Chad Kuhl: "Chet"
It's essentially an alter ego for the friendly, mild-mannered Kuhl. When he takes the mound and kicks into competitive mode, unleashing 99-mph fastballs, he transforms into "Chet." The nickname was given by fellow pitcher Trevor Williams.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- For Clint Sr. and Wendy Kuhl, always his biggest fans. This Mother's Day, Kuhl described Wendy as "ultra supportive and always there" for him and his siblings.
Daniel Hudson: "Huddy"
Hudson has gone by "Huddy" since high school, so he didn't have to think too hard when making his choice.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad, Sara, Baylor, Parker -- Hudson's family provided valuable support during his comeback from two Tommy John surgeries. Sara is his wife, and their two children are Baylor and Parker.
Steven Brault: TBD
Brault was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis just before the MLB Little League Classic and recalled on Tuesday.
Tribute patch: TBD
Gerrit Cole: "Cole Train"
Late MLB.com beat reporter Tom Singer bestowed this nickname upon Cole after his Major League debut. Singer had a knack for nicknames, once creating "K-Rod" for Francisco Rodriguez. "Cole Train" quickly took hold on social media among Pirates fans and is now on the back of Cole's jersey.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- For Mark and Sharon Cole. The former No. 1 overall Draft pick attributes his remarkable ability to process and retain information to his father.
Ivan Nova: "Super Nova"
When Nova is at his best, as he was down the stretch last year and this April, he shines like a star pitcher. The catchy nickname has caught on since he joined the Pirates last August.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad
Jameson Taillon: "J-Mo"
Spoken like it's spelled, "J-Mo" is the way to identify Taillon in the Pirates' clubhouse. After he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in May, the Pirates donned wristbands with the hashtag #JamoStrong for their friend and teammate.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad, Kyle Chapman coaches -- In addition to his parents, Taillon singled out coaches from the Kyle Chapman organization, who dedicated their free time to help him from eighth grade all the way through high school, specifically Mike Rutledge.
Johnny Barbato: "JB3"
This one is as simple as it looks: He's the third of his name, passed down from his grandfather and father, so he's always been known that way. Look closely, and you'll see "JB3" on the right-hander's glove.
Tribute patch: TBD
Josh Bell: "JB"
First- and last-name initials are enough to identify the Pirates' standout rookie first baseman.
Tribute patch: Mom and Pops -- Bell's time playing in the backyard with his father, Earnest, was his "first connection to the game."
Trevor Williams: "EV"
This is more of a tribute than a nickname. The rock-music enthusiast was hoping to more explicitly honor Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, but had to settle for his initials.
Tribute patch: Steve Garcia, Mark F., Pat Edwards, Dad, EZ, Snake, Fuzz, Blalock -- "Dad" is the obvious one, a tribute to his father's influence on his life and love for the game. The others are names and nicknames for various coaches who helped him from youth baseball through college at Arizona State University.
Max Moroff: "Maxwell"
As he writes in his Twitter bio, "Some people call me Maxwell." Moroff decided to roll with that and draw out his first name on the back of his Players Weekend jersey and have everyone call him Maxwell.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad
Felipe Rivero: "Nightmare"
Have you tried to hit him? Doing so might help explain this nickname for the Pirates' dominant young closer. He had designs on a jersey featuring the name of his walk-up song, Marc Anthony's "Aguanile," but opted instead for this moniker.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.