Passion, personalities go on display during Players Weekend
Major leaguers wanted an opportunity during the season to engage fans through a celebration of their passion and personalities and they're getting that chance at ballparks across the country during the first-ever Players Weekend on Aug. 25-27.
Players will wear customized gear and colorful, non-traditional uniforms inspired by youth league uniforms during the three-day event, which was conceived as a way to allow players and young fans to connect through the sharing of their interests and cultures while bringing attention to causes they support.
“Players are increasingly interested in finding unique ways to connect with their fans by allowing them to see more of their personalities and interests,” Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark said. “The collective desire to express their diverse interests and backgrounds is what motivated players to advocate for the creation of Players Weekend.
“This will be an exciting and unique opportunity for the players to literally wear their passions on their sleeves, and equipment, too, as they embrace this chance to let their true identities shine.”
A group of star players were selected as “Players Weekend Ambassadors” to help promote and put a face the event: Yonder Alonso (Seattle), Javier Baez (Chicago Cubs), Jose Bautista (Toronto), Nelson Cruz (Seattle), Ender Inciarte (Atlanta), Francisco Lindor (Cleveland), Manny Machado (Baltimore), Anthony Rizzo (Chicago Cubs), CC Sabathia (NY Yankees), Christian Yelich (Miami) and Chris B. Young (Boston).
Players including C.C. Sabathia, Bo Schultz and Josh Thole were involved in developing the concept along with a contingent from the Players Association and MLB.
Players were also offered the opportunity to put their nicknames on the back of their specially designed Majestic jerseys and write in the name of a person or organization that was instrumental to their development on a patch on their right sleeves. The patch features a new logo that shows a progression of five players increasing in size to illustrate a player's path from youth leagues to Major League Baseball.
Additionally, New Era has created special caps, Stance new sock designs and players have been invited to customize their spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher's masks, and bats with color and imagery.
The event has a charitable component, as well, with game-worn jerseys being auctioned at MLB.com/auctions and 100 percent of proceeds going to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, which was launched in July 2015 with an initial commitment of $30 million focused on improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the United States and Canada.
The special features of the Players Weekend games will also be adopted by the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals during the MLB Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, Aug. 20 during the 2017 Little League World Series.