Arizona Diamondbacks have fun with MLB player weekend nicknames

Brad Boxberger jersey for the 2018 MLB Players Weekend.

Major League Baseball players go wild for the second annual Players’ Weekend starting Friday.

Instead of traditional surnames, teams wear special jerseys and caps with custom nicknames on the back of their respective jerseys. Players are also permitted to use and wear custom cleats, bats, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves and catcher’s equipment.

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo, who attends the festivities under the nickname ‘Sal’, said Players’ Weekend is a way for players and fans to connect in ways they couldn’t. not otherwise.

“It’s part of their personality that comes out,” Lovullo said. “You see nicknames that spark interesting conversation. … I know baseball has always done a great job of trying to find ways to do that. It’s a really special time for all of us.

“We’re exposing ourselves a little differently and sharing something with the fans that you might not otherwise see.”

Diamondbacks right-hander Brad Boxberger is perhaps the owner of the most talked about nickname this year, which consists of two emojis of a box and a hamburger. Boxberger is the first player in MLB history to wear emojis on the back of his jersey.

“It turned out great,” Boxberger said of the precursor moniker. “It matches my last name and I was able to get it approved by MLB, so that was fine. … It’s on the back of my jersey, so I can’t even see it.

Boxberger said he didn’t expect all the attention the nameplate emoji garnered, including being named a finalist by MLB Network for Best Players’ Weekend Nickname.

“I didn’t even know what an emoji was until about three years ago,” Lovullo said. “I have kids this age who should be able to tell me what’s going on, but I live in the dark. But I think it’s great for baseball and I’ve always said that baseball is cutting edge and always leaning towards very popular things, and this is an example of that.

Several Diamondbacks players also drew attention to the custom shoes and accessories they made especially for the weekend.

Outfielder Jon Jay, a famed University of Miami product, will wear Hurricanes-inspired props, while injured right-hander Taijuan Walker has cleats honoring “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” TV show.

Second baseman Ketel Marte, whose nickname “Pike” refers to his swaggering and flashy style, said he’s been looking forward to Players’ Weekend for some time.

“You already know it’s going to be a fun weekend,” Marte said. “You have nicknames on the back of our shirts and that shows it’s a game. You have to have fun there and I think that’s why they started players’ weekend – to start something different. and try to have fun.

off the bench

Jay was not in the Diamondbacks’ starting lineup for the third straight game in Friday’s series opener against the Seattle Mariners at Chase Field.

Lovullo said he was “trying to get a full mix of guys” in the roster with four capable outfielders at his disposal in AJ Pollock, David Peralta, Steven Souza Jr. and Jay. But Lovullo also sees the value in Jay on the bench.

“We have good players and I know Jon Jay will be ready,” Lovullo said. “My discussions with him have underlined that, but he’s going to play – and when he doesn’t it’s a great luxury to have on the bench.”

Jay had a significant impact off the bench Tuesday when he started the ninth inning with a hit-per-pitch. He ended up scoring on a throwing error in a knockout win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Lovullo said Jay, along with infielder Daniel Descalso, has proven to be exceptional merchandise when not starting.

“Pinch hitting is very difficult,” Lovullo said. “If you’re going to come up and give quality at bat once every four at bat, you’re a really good hitter. They do that; they go there with the ability to chase a pitch and execute. What I see every day is that when they’re not playing, they’re on the bench and talking about baseball. Then when it comes to round four or round five, I look over there and they let loose and get ready.

“Sometimes you have to look for someone to tell them to let go, that’s not the case with these two. I could turn to Daniel after the fifth round and tell him everything I need that do, and it is a great luxury to know that I have them prepared and ready.

Short jumps

  • Right-hander Shelby Miller (elbow) threw 100 feet but has yet to start throwing a curveball, according to Lovullo. It has yet to be determined when Miller might face live hitters.
  • Outfielder Jarrod Dyson (bottom core) continues to participate in baseball activities but has yet to start running the bases. Lovullo said no timeline for Dyson’s return has been set.


Richard Morin covers the Coyotes and Diamondbacks for azcentral sports. He can be reached at [email protected] and by phone at 480-316-2493. Follow him on Twitter @ramorin_azc

Neal T. Doss