Spare Parts: Kevan Smith gives meaning to Players’ Weekend

On ESPN, Sam Miller wrote a great piece about the 20 rules for creating an MLB nickname, and it goes a long way to explaining the bulk of the names you see on the back of the Players’ Weekend jerseys around baseball.

Looking over the guidelines, I have one of the three-syllable last names that “makes the system start smoking.” It either falls under the purview of Rule 12, Rule 15 or Rule 19, resulting in Margie, J-Marg or Marg(s). Nobody said they’re clever, and indeed, most of the nameplates are unremarkable. Miller says novelty takes a backseat to fostering a sense of belonging among players who often change locations.

Kevan Smith is bound by Rule 2 — “If you’re name is Smith, you’re Smitty” — and that’s indeed what teammates and coaches call him. Yet he went in a different direction with his jersey this weekend. He chose “Webby” in honor of his teammate, the late former White Sox pitcher Daniel Webb. I hadn’t realized that Smith had been at the party where Webb died in the ATV accident.

It created a cool moment on Saturday night. Wearing “Webby” on his back, his first swing with that jersey resulted in his first homer of the season. Afterward, he only had one explanation.

Between stories like this and CC Sabathia’s spikes honoring African-American 20-game winners, it’s worth wading through the derivative nicknames and inside jokes to get to the personal tributes.

Spare Parts

In Eno Sarris’ mailbag, he delves into Yoan Moncada’s lack of traction despite tremendous plate discipline. It turns out that he has a hole in his swing against sliders in the zone, and closing that up is one path toward better productivity.

Michael Kopech’s teammates have vouched for his character after a bunch of tweets from his teenage years resurfaced online during his debut. He’s fortunate that he’s the fifth or sixth case that fits a template — a teenager using slurs as jokes among friends, published in a forever form for the entire world to find — which diminishes the shock. Everybody involved is also fortunate that they don’t seem to reflect a malevolent worldview, just an ignorance that most people outgrow.

After Yolmer Sanchez stole the scene with a cameo appearance with the replay crew, Ronald Acuña Jr. stole his move.

So Sanchez decided to take it up a notch during an off day by creating his own review kit, complete with Gatorade cups for headphones.

This was after he tied his ankle to James Shields’.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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I hope they have Yolmer work on outfield defense in the offseason, Marwin Gonzalez like utility would be valuable. Especially when combined with 80 grade bench/clubhouse skills. 


He’s the favorite player of both my wife and my daughter. My daughter loves him specifically because of the mouse ears.