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MLB reveals list of nicknames for Players' Weekend 2018, and they're not half bad

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MLB reveals list of nicknames for Players' Weekend 2018, and they're not half bad

The MLB revealed every roster's list of nicknames that will appear on the back of their jerseys for Players' Weekend this year.

Players' Weekend, started by the MLB last year, celebrates player individuality with relaxed uniform regulations, including custom jerseys featuring childhood nicknames or clubhouse names. In addition, players can choose to rock t-shirts supporting a charitable cause during pre and postgame activities. The event will be celebrated across all games from August 24 to 26.

Now, what you came here for: Washington's new signifiers.

The Nationals' nicknames did not disappoint. Here's the full list, per the MLB release.

Matt Adams: "BIG CITY"
Joaquin Benoit: "JACK"
Wilmer Difo: "EL DE"
Sean Doolittle: "DOC"
Adam Eaton: "SPANKY"
Erick Fedde: "FEDDECCINI"
Koda Glover: "BEAR"
Gio Gonzalez: "DOUBLE G"
Matt Grace: "GRACEY"
Bryce Harper: "MONDO"
Jeremy Hellickson: "HELLY"
Kelvin Herrera: "K 40"
Greg Holland: "HOLLY"
Howie Kendrick: "TRUCK"
Spencer Kieboom: "BOOMER"
Ryan Madson: "BLEST"
Justin Miller: "J. MILLZ"
Tommy Milone: "TOMASO"
Daniel Murphy: "MURPH"
Anthony Rendon: "ANT"
Mark Reynolds: "SHERIFF"
Tanner Roark: "T-RO"
Joe Ross: "JR"
Max Scherzer: "BLUE EYE"
Jhonatan Solano: "TATAN"
Sammy Solis: "BIG ANGUS"
Juan Soto: "JUANJO"
Wander Suero: "THE ANIMAL"
Stephen Strasburg: "STRAS"
Michael A. Taylor: "MIGGY"
Trea Turner: "TRIPLE TREA"
Matt Wieters: "MAUI"
Ryan Zimmerman: "ZIM"

Much like the Nationals roster, the league's choices are split between abbreviations, puns, broadcast nicknames, and epithets that we can only imagine the story behind. See, for instance, Reynold's choice of "SHERIFF", or Milwaukee's Corey Knebel opting for "BIRD DOG". Others are downright hilarious – the Indians' Shane Bieber, wearing "NOT JUSTIN", and Brad Hand, rocking "BROTEIN SHAKE", are two of the best. 

On the right sleeve of the limited-edition, childishly colorblocked jerseys will be a patch where players can write in the name of someone who was instrumental or inspirational on their path to the big leagues.

You can find more details on Players' Weekend, including information on the game-worn jersey auctions, on the MLB's website.

Between playfulness, personality, and the Nats' recent success on the field, we're looking forward to Aug. 24.

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Will the 2019 and 2020 free-agent classes stir things up the way this one hasn’t?

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Will the 2019 and 2020 free-agent classes stir things up the way this one hasn’t?

There’s an old Magnum, P.I. episode called “Home at Sea”. Magnum has been knocked off his surf ski after a too-close speedboat zips by, leaving him alone to survive in the water. His mind wanders. Flashbacks from childhood, the war, and his family, fill his head. He’s treading water and waiting.

Things are not life-and-death severe during this offseason as the baseball world wades through what has become the sigh-inducing drudgery of free agency. But, big names remain unsigned, reduced to sending out social media pings via a hat (Manny Machado seen in the background of a video in a White Sox lid) or tweet (Bryce Harper having fun with everyone’s emotions by making weather jokes or referencing Tony Romo’s prognostication abilities).

What we don’t have — yet — are results. Everyone is just treading water. Which leads to thoughts beyond today. In particular, the coming free agents in 2019 and 2020.

This class was supposed to be epic. Harper, Machado, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Donaldson. Cy Young and MVP winners along with young, generational talents. A mix rarely, if ever, seen before.

(Jose Fernandez, the talented young pitcher in Miami, was also expected to play a major role in this free agency class before he tragically died in 2016 at the age of 24.)

Instead, ongoing shrugs and muted exuberance have met this market, which gives next year a chance to deliver comparative heat. Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rendon, J.D. Martinez, Marcell Ozuna, Gerritt Cole, Chris Sale, Kenley Jansen, Justin Verlander and Madison Bumgarner could all be available. Even Stephen Strasburg could join them in the unlikely situation he exercises his first opt-out.

That grouping would be more well-rounded than the current top-heavy one. It also could suffer from the same lack of investment occurring now, which has already begun underground rumblings about the pending fight between players and owners once the collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2021 season.

Several things need to align in order for the 2019-20 free agency crowd to be awash in such prominent names. Martinez, Jansen and Strasburg would have to opt-out. Rendon would need to make it through the season without signing a contract extension in Washington, something both sides are working on and open to.

Though, if everyone hits, around-the-diamond needs will be filled.

Need a third baseman? The best and arguably second-best are available.

Need a top-of-the-rotation starter? Sale, Bumgarner, Verlander and Cole are there. 

Need a reliever? Jansen or Dellin Betances would be there.

The class also has interesting middle depth: Yasiel Puig, Khris Davis, Michael Wacha, Miles Mikolas, Brett Gardner, Matt Kemp, Scooter Gennett, Jose Abreu, Ryan Zimmerman (if the Nationals do not pick up his $18 million option). 

Another monster class hits the following year. Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Jacob deGrom can become free agents after the 2020 season. George Springer, Robbie Ray, James Paxton and J.T. Realmuto are also in the mix. Even Giancarlo Stanton could hop in by opting out, though who would want to leave that contract?

Languishing negotiations from Harper and Machado have led us here, treading water and wondering what’s to come. It at least sounds interesting. We’ll see if it turns out to be so.

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Baseball Hall of Fame Results 2019: Rivera makes history with first ever unanimous induction

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Baseball Hall of Fame Results 2019: Rivera makes history with first ever unanimous induction

The question coming in was this: three or four?

Two locks were set to be voted into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday: Legendary New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who became the first player to be named on 100 percent of the ballots cast, and starting pitcher Roy Halladay, both first-ballot Hall of Famers.

Seattle’s Edgar Martinez was expected to finally make it. He did with 85.4 percent of the vote.

That left Mike Mussina, 49 votes short last year, to hold his breath this time. He made it, narrowly, with 76.7 percent.

Mussina spent spent 10 years in Baltimore chasing 20 wins and providing annual durability before joining the New York Yankees for eight more seasons. Longevity and consistency keyed his entrance into the Hall of Fame. Mussina made 30 or more starts 12 times on his way to a career 123 ERA-plus. Only three times across almost two decades was Mussina’s ERA-plus below league average. All that work allowed him to compile 3,562 ⅔ innings pitched, 2,813 strikeouts and a 1.192 WHIP.

Rivera dominated the league with a single signature pitch, his cutter, for 19 years. His preferred music of “Enter Sandman” ran counter to Rivera’s pleasant and forthcoming demeanor off the field. He viewed the accidental discovery of his cutter as a gift from God, which made him willing to share information about the pitch with whomever asked. The slim right-hander anchored one of baseball’s great winning runs while with the Yankees. Rivera is a 13-time All-Star who owns five World Series rings. His 205 career ERA-plus is an all-time record as is his 652 saves, which is more than 50 ahead of second place and a record unlikely to be broken.

The wait, and push, for Martinez was extensive. Martinez find himself at the core of an ongoing debate about Hall of Fame candidacy for designated hitters. He didn’t become a full-time player in the major leagues until age 27. He was perpetually on base from there until his age-41 season, delivering a career OPS of .933 and on-base percentage of .418. Martinez walked more than he struck out 10 times in his 18-year career, finishing with more bases on balls than whiffs. Seattle denizens long pushed for his conclusion. It took the maximum 10 years, but Martinez is finally in.

Halladay’s inclusion is a bittersweet moment. The right-hander died Nov. 7, 2017, when a small plane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He previously told reporters his possible Hall of Fame induction would be a “tremendous honor.” Halladay twice won the Cy Young award — once in each league — made eight All-Star teams, and finished with a 3.38 ERA. He also threw a perfect game and in 2010 became the second pitcher in history to throw a postseason no-hitter.

The central characters from baseball’s so-called “steroid era” remain on the outside. Roger Clemens (59.5 percent) in his seventh ballot and Barry Bonds (59.1 percent) remain well below the 75 percent threshold for enshrinement following slight increases from 2018 voting. Curt Schilling (60.9 percent) and Larry Walker (54.6 percent) also moved up significantly in year-over-year voting. Fred McGriff moved up in his final year on the ballot, however remained well short. He should get in when considered by the Today’s Game Era Committee based on their recent selection of Harold Baines.

 

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