As the pennant races heat up near the end of the dog days of summer, the inaugural Players Weekend concludes today after connecting fans with players for a celebration of creativity and individuality.
Here's everything you need to know about the festivities in a handy FAQ format.
What is Players Weekend?
Players Weekend is a first-of-its kind opportunity for players to show their individual flair and allows fans to get to know them better. Established in conjunction between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, all 30 clubs will be participating through all games running through Sunday, and every team will be in action each of those three days.
All clubs are wearing non-traditional alternate uniforms, and each player is allowed to wear his nickname of choice on the back of his jersey, and a patch on his sleeve to pay tribute to a person or persons who aided their career.
The non-traditional alternate uniforms, designed by Majestic, were inspired by uniforms you would typically see in Little League, tying into the theme of the youth involvement that Commissioner Rob Manfred has invested in since taking office ahead of the 2015 season. Players are also allowed to wear and use uniquely colored and designed spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher's masks, and bats. New Era is also providing specially-designed hats, and colorful socks are being provided by Stance.
What do the patches on the players' sleeves symbolize?
On each player's right sleeve is a blank patch which he can fill with the name (or names) of a person, organization, league or value that was instrumental in his development. A modified Major League Baseball "Evolution" logo will be perched at the top of the patch, showing the evolutionary progression of a player to demonstrate their path to the big leagues. Under the logo is the phrase 'Thank You,' which sits just above the blank space for each player to inscribe the name of their respective influential figure(s). Many players are selecting members of their families.
What are some notable nicknames to be donned on the back of jerseys?
Perhaps the most fun aspect of Players Weekend will be the throng of nicknames -- one of the game's cornerstones of individuality, more unique in baseball than any other sport -- donning the back of each jersey. The usual suspects will go with their mainstream monikers, such as Jose Bautista ("Joey Bats"), Andrew McCutchen ("Cutch") and Carlos Gonzalez ("CarGo"). But others are capitalizing on the creative capacity.
Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager is going with "Corey's Brother" as a humorous quip alluding to the stratospheric launch of his younger brother's career with the Dodgers. Eric Thames will wear "Sang Namja", a Korean phrase, to pay homage to his three-year tenure playing overseas. Hunter Pence will wear 'Wawindaji,' the direct translation of his first name in Swahili.
All players have been encouraged, but are not required, to wear nicknames.
Will this be an annual event?
MLB and the MLBPA haven't formally announced any plans for Players Weekend beyond 2017, though it did align with last Sunday's Little League Classic, which Manfred has said he hopes will develop into an annual event. The Pirates and Cardinals each gave audiences a preview of their Players Weekend garb in the nationally telecasted game at historic Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa.
What are the best avenues for fans to follow the action?
Fans can follow and take part in the conversation by using the hashtag #PlayersWeekend on all social media platforms.
Will there be any charitable proceeds from Players Weekend?
Game-worn jerseys from Players Weekend will be auctioned at MLB.com/auctions, with 100 percent of proceeds to be donated to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, an establishment focused on improving the caliber, effectiveness and ability of amateur baseball and softball across the U.S. and Canada.
Players will also have the opportunity to wear T-shirts highlighting a charity or cause of their choice during pregame workouts and postgame interviews.
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.