Players’ Weekend -- a time when charisma, color and creativity are celebrated with looser uniform rules -- returns this weekend across MLB.
Here’s everything you need to know about the festivities in a handy FAQ format.
What is Players’ Weekend?
Think of it as baseball’s version of Casual Friday. As part of an agreement between MLB and the MLB Players’ Association, it is a relaxation of the uniform rules so that players can express their individuality through self-selected nicknames and colorful cleats and equipment.
Which games are part of Players’ Weekend?
Every game on the schedule Friday through Sunday.
Nationally broadcast games include:
Saturday: Yankees-Dodgers, 4:05 p.m. ET (FS1); Rockies-Cardinals, 7:15 p.m. (FS1)
Sunday: Nationals-Cubs, 2:20 p.m. (TBS); Yankees-Dodgers, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball)
Why do they do this?
Players’ Weekend began in 2017 as part of a broader plan to give fans more access and insight into the game’s players and to appeal to a younger generation of fans. It also coincides nicely with the “Let The Kids Play” ad concept at a time when rosters are trending younger and players are more encouraged to let loose and have fun on the field.
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Is every player wearing a nickname?
No. Some have chosen to wear only their last name, as is their right. That said, the percentage of players opting out is lower than it was when Players’ Weekend was first unveiled in 2017.
Where can I find a full list of player nicknames?
We’ve got you covered right here.
I don’t have time to read the whole list. Can you just tell me the best nicknames?
It’s all a matter of personal preference, ultimately. But our friends at Cut4 had a pretty good rundown of the 12 best.
And if reading is generally not your thing, you will be heartened to hear that many players are using emojis on their unis this year.
What will the uniforms look like?
In past years, they have been styled to resemble the kind of duds worn in Little League. In a new twist this year, teams will wear specially designed (jerseys by Majestic, caps by New Era Cap and socks by Stance), monochromatic uniforms that are either all-white or all-black.
You can see what the jerseys, caps and socks look like (and buy them for yourself) at MLBShop.com.
So home teams will wear white?
Not necessarily! The home team had the option of selecting the all-white or the all-black look. So it is conceivable that road teams could wear white for a change.
Won’t the white caps on pitchers be distracting to batters?
This has already been addressed. Pitchers on teams wearing white will have black caps to ensure batters and umpires have clear visibility of each pitch.
Why are they wearing the monochromatic look?
Think of these uniforms like a canvas. They will make the players’ choices of colorful cleats, bats, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves and catcher’s equipment all the more vibrant.
The uniforms were also inspired by players’ fashion choices away from the field.
Are there any other uniform changes for Players’ Weekend?
Players have the choice of wearing a patch honoring the late Tyler Skaggs, the Angels pitcher who passed away unexpectedly on July 1, at the age of 27.
For one of the three games this weekend, a group of nine players -- Brewers outfielders Ryan Braun and Christian Yelich and third baseman Mike Moustakas, Nationals starter Patrick Corbin, White Sox starter Lucas Giolito, Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty, Braves starter Max Fried, and Rangers reliever Jesse Chavez and first baseman Scott Heineman -- will wear jerseys with a tribute to Skaggs in lieu of their previously chosen Players’ Weekend nicknames. All but Fried will be wearing the Skaggs tributes on Friday, while Fried will wear it for his scheduled Saturday start. You can read more about the Skaggs tribute here.
Also, this will be the first MLB event with a league-wide batting helmet. The Rawlings helmets will be decorated in matte black or matte white to further accentuate the uniforms.
Are there any other rule changes for Players’ Weekend?
As has been the case each year, players have the option of wearing a T-shirt highlighting a cause or charity of their choice during pregame batting practice and postgame media interviews.
This year, MLB is allowing an expansion of mobile device usage. Prior to the national anthem, players are permitted to use their handheld devices, such as smartphones and tablets, on the field or in the dugout to promote the event on social media.
How can I find that social media content?
Look for the hashtag #PlayersWeekend, where MLB, the MLBPA, the 30 teams and, most importantly, the individual player accounts will highlight the standout designs and the fun of the event.
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.