By: Ross Sutton
For the second year in a row, the MLB is doing “Players Weekend”, when the players of all 30 teams wear vibrant, alternate uniforms with their nickname of choice on the back of their jersey. Players are also allowed to wear custom patches on their jerseys as well as have creative designs on their bats and cleats. Players weekend was enacted by the MLB to essentially seem cooler than other major sports leagues like the NFL, which is incredibly strict about what players can and cannot wear during games.
I understand what the MLB is trying to do with players weekend, and I think it is good that baseball seems cooler and more relaxed than other leagues during this weekend, but as a whole, I do not think it does anything for the league. The uniforms are ugly, the nicknames are forced, and the weekend does not bring any new fans to the sport. I think one of the biggest problems that players weekend shines a light on is the fact that the stars of the game are so poorly marketed, and do not have cool, marketable nicknames anymore. Of course not everyone in the league is going to have a cool nickname, but it feels like there aren't any up-and-coming stars who has a good nickname that would draw more attention to the sport. For example, Alex Bregman (pictured above) has “A-Breg” on his jersey this weekend. That certainly isn’t going to bring any new fans to the game. A ton of players have boring nicknames for this weekend, which makes me think they don’t really care about this weekend.
The fact that the players are allowed to wear patches of meaningful causes is great, and the players should be allowed to have cool designs on their bats and cleats during any game, not just three games in August. If the MLB really wanted to make themselves more marketable to the younger generations, they would let players have cool-looking cleats and bats all year long. Then, maybe the MLB would start to get more fans. The MLB’s regulations on what players can and cannot wear is ultimately not the sport’s biggest problem though, as pace-of-play and the league’s lack of ability to market their players is severely hurting the sport’s growth.
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