Yahoo- Major League Baseball will relax its uniform rules for a weekend later this season, allowing players to put nicknames on the back of their jerseys, wear fluorescent-colored shoes and personalize a patch paying tribute to someone instrumental in their development, according to a memo obtained by Yahoo Sports.
The event, called Players Weekend, is planned for Aug. 25-27 and was negotiated between the league and MLB Players Association. Players long have sought to express their personal style on the field and capitalize on the intersection of fashion and sports in a way other leagues don’t allow, and the result will be a test of boundaries baseball may be inclined to stretch in the future depending on the weekend’s success.
Players will have the option to wear a jersey with a nickname – though they are limited to just one, according to the memo, and “inappropriate or offensive” nicknames will be banned.
The items with minimal color restrictions include spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves and catcher’s masks. The colors, according to the memo, must avoid interfering with the game and an umpire’s ability to make a call. White gloves, wristbands and sleeves are prohibited.
Each jersey will feature a patch with space for a player to personalize it by “writing the name of an individual or organization that was instrumental to his development,” according to the memo.
Ut oh. The strict, overprotective parent is trying his hand at playing the cool dad, and - predictably - it's coming off forced and unnatural. I'm glad that 'Major League Baseball' finally appears to realize that it needs to make some concessions to it's unwritten uptightness in order to appeal and relate to younger fans, but this is like Father Baseball showing up to chaperone in a backwards hat. Newsflash Pops, when the kids said they wanted you to chill out a bit they wanted you to make the game more entertaining, not more cringeworthy.
Admittedly, the personalized honorary patch is a great idea and I'm not afraid to admit that my stupid brain occasionally finds itself drawn to bright colors, but stealing a novelty marketing tool from a defunct football league run by a egomaniacal wrestling tycoon comes off as trying too hard. That's not to say that some players won't appreciate having the opportunity to rock their nickname, but maybe it would be wiser to focus on the problems that will still exist after one wild and crazy (relatively speaking) weekend.
For instance, if a player can't celebrate a big hit - while wearing pink batting gloves with some locker room inspired alias stitched into his back - without having a fastball whizz by his jawline his next time up then isn't the entire purpose of making baseball more "fun" largely defeated? I think it would be interesting to see who professional athletes credit for their success via an emblem on their uniform....until I fall asleep during the 7th inning of a 3.5 hour game. Baseball is always going to be slower and drag more than most sports so some of it's problems are inherent, but the ones that are simply a product of their prim and proper self importance aren't going to be solved by collectively taking on an actual personality for a few days.