Today, Major League Baseball and its teams unveiled the new jersey and cap combinations to be worn for the upcoming Players Weekend on August 25th through 27th. The idea is that MLB is going to take the weekend to highlight their players personalities and passions like never before by wearing colorful jerseys. The Reds jersey is a new twist on a current formula.
Along with a new jersey and cap, the players were allowed to choose a nickname to be displayed on the nameplate, replacing their traditional last names. The results are mostly great.
Cincinnati Enquirer scribe Zach Buchanan has the full list on display right here, and first things first, we need to talk about that #19 Tokki 2 jersey.
That is obviously the nickname that Joey Votto has decided to display on his back for the special weekend, but it wasn’t immediately clear why, or what it meant. Red Reporter’s very own Charlie Scrabbles dug up this little tidbit, all the way back from 2013 (do you remember 2013? Such simpler times).
According to Votto, Shin Soo Choo was the best player on that Reds team in 2013. He explained it in a way only Joey Votto can.
A few weeks ago Votto asked Choo if he had ever been to a dog track. Choo said no.
“I told Choo, ‘You are my rabbit.’ And he said, ‘What do you mean?’ And I said, ‘There is a rabbit out in front of the dogs and they can never catch it. You are going to be my rabbit. I might not catch you, but I’m going to be chasing you like hell.’”
Votto asked Choo the Korean word for rabbit and he said, “Tokki.” So Votto said, “You are my little tokki.”
Fast forward four full years and seemingly a lifetime later, and of course Votto pulls out the deep cut for a nickname themed jersey. But, it’s not just Votto! Take a look at what one particular Ranger will be wearing.
That number 17 jersey is, of course, Shin Soo Choo.
If this doesn’t make you long for years gone by, I don’t know what will.
Aside from all the fun and games, MLB is also allowing the players to wear special t-shirts and apparel during warm ups and batting practice highlighting a charity or cause that is special to them. On the right sleeve of each jersey will be a blank plate for the players to write in an organization or person that they consider instrumental in their development as a person and player.
Additionally, replacing the official MLB silhouetted logo will be a special design that merges Little League Baseball and the pros, a direct nod to each stage of development on a player’s way to the Show.
In all, I think this is cool as hell. Anytime baseball goes out of its way to highlight its players unique personalities is a win; it’s something they don’t do often enough. For a sport that is often looked at as stiff and stodgy, I think this is a really nice piece of PR for the league, and also an opportunity for the players to let loose a bit while also doing good things for good causes.
A more in depth look at the weekend can be found here, along with a look at the rest of the league’s jerseys and nicknames.