At the end of August, MLB teams, including the Baltimore Orioles, will be celebrating “Players Weekend.”
But, unlike most teams, the Baltimore Orioles are sucking the fun out of the event.
The players will be wearing new jerseys that show off their nicknames and numbers. Yes, this whole event seems like a giant ploy by the MLB to sell more jerseys and shirseys, but the nicknames are rather fun.
As the MLB attempts to appeal to a younger demographic, this might actually work. It certainly grabbed the attention of the kids that I know (especially the 13-year-old in my house who quickly began to quiz me on the nicknames).
There are several firsts happening with the Players Weekend event that will begin August 25 and end on August 27. Wearing nicknames is just the tip of the iceberg and it signals the first time the New York Yankees will actually have names on their jerseys! According to Mark Newman with MLB.com:
“In addition to nicknames on the backs of jerseys made by Majestic, players can wear and use uniquely colored and designed spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher’s masks and bats.”
While the rest is exciting, it is the nicknames – or lack-there-of – that are drawing the most attention. Players were allowed to choose the name they wanted on the backs of their jerseys. On some teams, including the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, Detroit Tigers, and Texas Rangers, every player chose a nickname.
But the Orioles were in a league all their own. Sadly, they win the award in the American League for the most players who can’t have fun. In alphabetical order, these are the Orioles who could not come up with anything better than their own last names: Richard Bleier, Dylan Bundy, Miguel Castro, Wade Miley, Seth Smith, Ruben Tejada, and Mark Trumbo. Even Trey Mancini went with “Trey” and J.J. Hardy chose “J.J.”. And, Joey Rickard, really – just “Joey”?
Even Steve Pearce, who was once an Oriole, put “Pearce” on the back of his Blue Jays jersey. Do O’s players really lack that much creativity?
Despite the fact that real baseball will be played over the weekend, the jerseys-nicknames thing was an attempt to create some lighthearted fun. Like the Powderpuff Football game or (if anyone remembers) Donkey Basketball from high school days.
Choosing not to participate in the nickname thing is a big blow to the fans. They love to see their favorite players add some personality to the game.
The Orioles aren’t alone in their lack of creativity. The St. Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Padres showed their lack of creativity, too.
The Orioles are a better team than that and their fans deserve better. It’s unbelievable that someone could not help Trumbo – whose name rhymes with Jumbo – come up with something. Or, that Smith just went with Smith. Boring.
Some of the nicknames are hilarious and their jerseys will sell like mad. Take for instance, Carl Edwards, Jr. His nickname “Carl’s, Jr.” is hilarious and while most people would never consider buying a jersey with his real name on it, the Carl’s Jr. model should sell. Max Scherzer went with “Blue Eye” even though he could have gone with the color of his other one.
Some players even came up with names, just to come up with them. Bryce Harper‘s nickname on his jersey will be “Big Kid” and it is unlikely that anyone has called him that. “Flow” would have been priceless. But, he’s got one on the jersey and kids will buy it. Ironically, Mike Trout‘s jersey also has the word kid on it, but spelled “KIIIIID”. Why not “Fish”? It would have been different than Harper’s.
Hopefully, after the first year, players will catch on and get more creative in 2018.
Now that all of the jerseys have been revealed on social media, those numerous Orioles players who chose not to partake in the fun will suffer the consequences. Somewhere, someone will track the sales of all of those jerseys. The numbers will be posted for all to see and those boring Orioles nicknameless jersey sales will look pathetic next to those for teammates Mr. Miami, B-Rad, Beef, and Swaggy T. I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on a Mamba. Or, maybe a Beef – just because.