Major League Baseball will relax its uniform rules for a weekend later this season, allowing players to put nicknames on the back of their jerseys, wear fluorescent-colored shoes and personalize a patch paying tribute to someone instrumental in their development, according to a memo obtained by Yahoo Sports.
The event, called Players Weekend, is planned for Aug. 25-27 and was negotiated between the league and MLB Players Association. Players long have sought to express their personal style on the field and capitalize on the intersection of fashion and sports in a way other leagues don’t allow, and the result will be a test of boundaries baseball may be inclined to stretch in the future depending on the weekend’s success.
Players will have the option to wear a jersey with a nickname – though they are limited to just one, according to the memo, and “inappropriate or offensive” nicknames will be banned.
The items with minimal color restrictions include spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves and catcher’s masks. The colors, according to the memo, must avoid interfering with the game and an umpire’s ability to make a call. White gloves, wristbands and sleeves are prohibited.
Each jersey will feature a patch with space for a player to personalize it by “writing the name of an individual or organization that was instrumental to his development,” according to the memo.
The jerseys from the weekend will be sold by MLB, which will donate the proceeds to the Youth Development Foundation, an initiative on which the league and MLBPA work together.
While the memo did not outline rules for bats, the parties at one point had discussed using so-called Home Run Derby bat rules, where players could use alternate designs and colors but needed to submit them for approval beforehand.
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