We had a lot of fun watching our favorite players loosen up during Players Weekend. Who could forget all the... comfort? A quick refresher, in case you hadn’t heard of Players Weekend before just right now and were wondering why the players were wearing different uniforms with odd names on the back:
teams will wear alternate jerseys inspired by youth league designs, and individual players can also replace last names with nicknames on jersey nameplates. They will also be permitted to wear custom-designed flashy equipment, from batting gloves to bats, that shows their personalities.
I like the word “permitted” being in there because in the league’s own press release, they’re basically saying, “Players will be permitted to have fun and show their personalities.” How gracious.
This was the second year of Players Weekend, an event the league came up with as a marketing tool for hooking a younger audience. I’m not sure the gambit will pay off — hey kids, once a year, the players are allowed to have fun is not a great hook — but if the Players Weekend is to continue, here are five suggestions I think can help make a bigger deal out of it than just some slightly different uniforms and a modicum of permissible flair.
I believe it’s important for professional athletes to not look ridiculous. Although there are fans out there who don’t like the little league-inspired jersey tops at all, I think what works against them more than anything are the pants. They’re just the team’s road or away pants, and quite frankly, I could do without seeing this goofy pairing.
Nomar Mazzara looks like he dressed in the dark. Mark Melancon looks like he’s pitching in a rehab game.
I’m thinking sweat pants or track pants. I’ll go with shorts if that’s what the league comes back to me with, but if they go the shorts route, then I think both rompers and kilts should be in play — whatever a player is comfortable with. The most important thing is that they actually match the uniform jerseys.
Reading mean tweets
This has been a popular bit on a late night talk show starring one of TV’s many Jimmys and it works because it forces empathy for the target of the mean tweets. Don’t like Chris Pratt? Well, you might feel a tinge of what he’s feeling when he reads some tweet about how his mustache reminds the tweeter of a gross uncle. My Players Weekend version of this has a bit of a wrinkle, one that’s more in line with baseball players and confrontation:
The person who wrote the mean tweet will be in the stadium. So, after Jeff Samardzija reads
I wish I got paid $90 million to suck at my job as much as Jeff Samardzija sucks at his— Richie DiStefano (@RichieD18) May 9, 2017
Richie DiStefano would come out and stand before Jeff Samardzija, in front of the entire stadium. DiStefano would then be given a choice: Samardzija and the Giants roast DiStefano in front of his family (who would also be there) or...
That’s right. My suggestion for improving Players Weekend includes adding a pre-game Dunk Tank portion where hecklers and bad fans could challenge a player they hate to trying to dunk them in a dunk tank.
Wait. Why limit it to a pre-game activity? Keep the Dunk Tank active, and every inning, some new player target sits in it, and if a player feels like it, while they’re tossing the ball around the horn or after a fielder catches the third out of the inning, they can decide to turn and fire a throw at the tank. The person in the tank would be susceptible to foul balls knocking them in the water, too.
The seat wouldn’t have to be reserved for mean tweeters, either. Drunk hecklers could be escorted down to the tank if a player flags them. Or maybe fans who’ve been previously ejected from the stadium could have their bans rescinded if they humiliate themselves for the players’ benefit. And since California is in a drought, maybe it’s not water. It’s, like, soda or milk or beer.
Fishing in McCovey Cove
Every single offseason we hear about how Brian Sabean has to fly a seaplane out into the middle of nowhere to deliver a message to Bruce Bochy or a Giants pitcher about how their contract has been renewed and that’s because Baseball players be fishin’. Baseball players love to fish more than they love to play baseball!
AT&T Park is adjacent to McCovey Cove. Put some boats out there, put the players out there during the game, let ‘em fish. It’s not that they’ll catch anything, it’ll simply be the act of fishing. You want players relaxed and showing their personalities? Put ‘em in a fishing boat.
A goddamn home run derby
Why should the All-Star Game festivities monopolize a fun event? This could simply be a flashier version of batting practice — which the players are already going to do — where players of all stripes try to launch home runs — which they are already going to do. I wanted to see Madison Bumgarner compete against Adrian Beltre in the final round of a meaningless home run derby this Players Weekend.