MLBers Pushed For Players Weekend To Help Showcase Personalities
MLB players are "aware of how in other sports, particularly the NBA, athletes' shoes have a big impact on fans and help create a connection," and thus were "itching to express themselves in a similar fashion because of the sport's strict uniform regulations," leading to the Aug. 25-27 Players Weekend, according to Tom Goldman of NPR.org. Players and owners "talked about it" during last year's CBA talks, and the "plans for Players Weekend started coming together a few months ago." MLB "hopes Players Weekend is a bridge to a younger audience." The game has been "losing that demographic in a sped-up world" (NPR.org, 8/10). However, the GUARDIAN's Les Carpenter writes the Players Weekend jerseys "look like soccer tops with each player’s nickname on the back." In a "reach to come off as young, baseball has gone the route of Brazilian football or every color-coordinated Sunday softball team with a portable beer cooler." However, MLB's "biggest problem is that its games take too long." MLB's issues are "structural and therefore not easy to confront." A cosmetic fix by "having the players wear shirts that look like soccer jerseys with nicknames like ‘Mr Smile’ or ‘Dave Human’ won’t move that 93% of people under 18 who aren’t watching baseball" (GUARDIAN, 8/11).
DON'T MESS WITH TRADITION: A N.Y. POST editorial states that no "other uniform in all of sports is as timeless and elegant" as the Yankees' home pinstripes, which "represent more than a century of class." It is a "lunacy to abandon it" for Players Weekend just for the "sake of a marketing stunt." Especially when the gimmick also "breaks the team’s as-venerable tradition of uniforms showing only players’ numbers, not their names." Yankee pinstripes "connect Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera to Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner." The editorial: "The uniform is a part of the sacredness of the game. And its beauty: Don’t let mindless obsession with fast profits tarnish it" (N.Y. POST, 8/11).
BLAND BIRDS: CSNMIDATLANTIC.com's Tyler Byrum wrote Players Weekend may be a "great opportunity for a player to build up their brand," but that is not the case for a "majority of the Orioles." Of the 23 players' jerseys that were released by MLB, seven on the Orioles "chose to still use their last name and three used their first name." However, fans will be able to buy a jersey for 1B Chris Davis that "says Crush on the back" (CSNMIDATLANTIC.com, 8/10).