The MLB is doing something out of the ordinary to celebrate their league, introducing what they're calling "Players Weekend" to spice things up at the end of the season.
The celebration, which will take place from Friday, Aug. 25 to Sunday, Aug. 27, is aimed at allowing the players that make up the league a chance to let their personalities shine. Every team will have a fresh uniform worn during Players Weekend only, along with fresh New Era hats and Stance socks.
It's going to be a huge splash of color and personality for a sport that many feel lacks that kind of individuality compared to leagues like the NBA. Players will be allowed to wear "uniquely colored and designed" cleat spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher's masks and bats.
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On top of that, players will be allowed the chance to put a nickname on the back of their jersey instead of their usual last names. New York Yankees star Aaron Judge, for example, will have "All Rise" stitched on his back through the weekend. Some of the nicknames are clever and hilarious, while others are pretty standard.
MLB is hoping this shift will help the league find more common grounds with a younger audience that has strayed away from watching professional baseball. The average viewer age for professional baseball is 53, the highest among all of North America's major sports.
Here's a look at some of the jerseys:
Half of MLB's viewers are over the age of 50, according to Nielsen ratings, while youth player numbers have been on a steep decline. Things like Players Weekend are there to give players a breath of fresh air, but the league also hopes it helps reach a younger and wider demographic.
"Players are increasingly interested in finding unique ways to connect with their fans by allowing them to see more of their personalities and interests. The collective desire to express their diverse interests and backgrounds is what motivated players to lobby for the creation of Players Weekend.
"This will be an exciting and unique opportunity for the players to literally wear their passions on their sleeves, and equipment, too, as they embrace this chance to let their true identities shine," MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said.
Overall Players Weekend looks solid, and ultimately it should be plenty of fun for both players and fans alike.
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