Players Weekend is coming back, and this time in back, and in black. Giving a look at the jerseys above and the hats below, I’m guessing/hoping the grayscale approach to design will look better in person than it does on TV, because when nothing else is on my screen, I keep hitting the side of my monitor.
The White Sox always come out better than others when it comes to alternate designs since they don’t have a color in their default uniform, but this theme strikes me as having a low ceiling around the league. We’ll see.
These jerseys, which will be worn during Players Weekend Aug. 23-25, are vehicles for the players’ nicknames of choice. Major League Baseball released a nearly complete list of names, and as always, I’ve categorized and analyzed them below.
It’s an often silly exercise, but last year’s ended up taking a poignant turn when Kevan Smith homered while wearing Daniel Webb’s name on his back.
- Mal Tiempo (Jose Abreu)
- TA7 (Tim Anderson)
- Cove (Dylan Covey)
- Man of Steal (Adam Engel)
- Leo (Leury Garcia)
- Yo Yo (Yoan Moncada)
- Los (Carlos Rodon)
- Rey (Reynaldo López)
Nothing to say that I didn’t say last year about most of these, except that Adam Engel has stolen only three bases in 44 games this year. It seems like “Man of Steal” should require recertification every three years or so.
- Cordy (Ryan Cordell)
- Det (Ross Detwiler)
- Go Go (Ryan Goins)
- Kopey (Michael Kopech)
- O (Josh Osich)
- Seby (Seby Zavala)
Ryan Cordell is lucky Jimmy Cordero took his jersey in another direction. Otherwise, it would’ve been last year’s embarrassing “Avi” situation all over again. Ross Detwiler bypassed the opportunity to distinguish himself from Dylan Covey, whose nickname at least informs those watching that his name is pronounced with a long “o.” The White Sox took it upon themselves to separate Covey from Detwiler by optioning the former to Charlotte after the doubleheader.
“Go Go” is the best of the bunch for historical reasons, although I doubt it was intentional. The hope is that Michael Kopech will put some thought into his before next year, when his jersey should be one of the more popular ones for purchase. God willing.
- Frenchy (Jace Fry)
- McCannon (James McCann)
- Super Nova (Iván Nova)
- Forgetting Sarah (Evan Marshall)
Unlike Engel, James McCann doesn’t need to validate his nickname, as he’s tied a career high with extra-base hits, is one away from his personal best home run total, and he’s helped the Sox raise their caught-stealing rate from 23% to 29%. Jace Fry better work on his pronunciation of “chowder.”
Evan Marshall won the headline for his effort, and he should be lauded for realizing “good enough” is never good enough.
“In baseball, everybody calls me Marsh, which I think originally was what I was going to put on there,” the White Sox reliever said in between games of Tuesday’s split doubleheader with the Tigers. “But it’s ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall,’ it’s a hilarious movie.
“It has some of my favorite actors in it. It’s just kind of whenever you think ‘Forgetting Sarah,’ you think ‘Marshall.’ I thought if they can squeeze it on a jersey, it would be a funny one. The movie is great.”
Iván Nova could learn something from him, in the sense that one doesn’t have to lead the crowd all the way through the reference. “Super” would have sufficed.
- The Big Baby (Eloy Jiménez)
- The Horse (Alex Colomé)
- Baba (Matt Skole)
James Fegan dug into Eloy Jiménez’s many nicknames last year, which covers his Players Weekend debut here:
But the most optimistic comparison and accompanying nickname came from his own uncle, and also Rick Hahn, and is the inspiration for his Instagram handle @the_bigbaby74.
“My uncle, when Rick Hahn was talking about how I look like Big Papi on the field, my uncle said, ‘Oh now Big Papi left, and now Big Baby gets into the game,’” said Jiménez, before ending this nickname story like he ends most of his stories.
Jiménez resembles David Ortiz more in the outfield than at the plate at this point in time, but optimism remains high.
Alex Colomé is embracing his past, in the sense that he was suspended in 2014 for taking a horse steroid. Matt Skole just got here, so give him a minute to explain.
- Gerard (Jimmy Cordero)
- Noah Alan (Yolmer Sánchez)
“Gerard” is Cordero’s middle name, and perhaps it’s a family name beyond that. Yolmer Sánchez is wearing the names of his sons; Alan was born in May.
- 305 J (Jon Jay)
- El De Guacara (Jose Ruiz)
305 is Miami’s area code, and Ruiz hails from Guacara, Venezuela.
- Cease (Dylan Cease)
- (Lucas Giolito)
Cease could have delighted journalists the world over by using “-30-” as his nameplate, but going with his last name is on brand as somebody who doesn’t get up for anything. Giolito, who went with “Big Foot” last year, was omitted from this year’s list. I’m guessing it was unintentional. A Twitter search shows his name surfacing for a vastly different reason.