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MLB Players Weekend: See Yankees, Mets uniforms and nicknames

New MLB Players Weekend uniforms. 

New MLB Players Weekend uniforms.  Credit: MLB Communications

TORONTO — Brett Gardner didn’t get overly creative in determining what to put on the back of his jersey.

Aaron Judge let Todd Frazier determine it for him.

Chase Headley went the obvious route and Gary Sanchez stuck with the nickname Brian Cashman gave him in 2015.

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association jointly announced Wednesday “The Players Weekend,” a three-day period Aug. 25-27 in which players can wear nicknames on their uniforms, among other things. The Yankees will be home that weekend against Seattle.

“I think it’s a cool idea,” Judge said. “I never really had my name on the back of my jersey.”

Judge, for example, will have “All Rise” on the back of his No. 99, Headley is going with “Head,” and Sanchez will sport “ Kraken.”

“Todd Frazier picked it out for me,” Judge said. “Was going to put my last name or ‘A.J.’ [a college nickname], which was too simple. He kind of said that’s too vanilla for me, so he said ‘All Rise,’ and I said ‘why not?”’

“I wanted to participate because I think it’s a cool idea, I think it’s a neat thing for a lot of guys to be able to have fun with it and have a weekend where you kind of do your own thing,” Headley said.

Cashman dubbed Sanchez “The Kraken” while discussing the catcher, then the organization’s top prospect, during the 2015 winter meetings.

“Definitely something different and something that I’m pretty sure the fans are going to like,” Sanchez said through his translator. “It’s something fun . . . the nickname has been around for a little bit now, so I just decided to use that. I thought it would be fun to use the same one people have been using. I see that people enjoy that nickname so I’m cool with that.”

The Yankees, of course, never have had names on the backs of the uniforms so there was some predictable blowback, at least on social media, to the breaking of tradition.

“I think it’s kind of the age that we’re in,” said Joe Girardi, who added he was “not sure” whether he would put something on his No. 28. “I think fans are excited about it, I think players are excited about it, I think Major League Baseball is excited about it . . . I think there’s some traditionalists that may not care for it, I think that’s in everything when there’s change in life, but I think there’s going to be a lot of people that really like it. I think the younger generation’s really going to love it. But that’s something we go through all the time when there’s changes in the world, changes in sports. And that’s OK, too.”

Headley laughed when told Gardner planned to put, well, “Gardner” on his No. 11 jersey.

“I told him, ‘put Gardy, why not put Gardy?’” said Headley, who is close friends with Gardner.

The veteran first baseman/third baseman laughed again.

“If you want to not have a good time,” Headley said, “leave it up to Brett.”

As for the Mets, unsurprisingly, Noah Syndergaard went with the well-worn “Thor” nickname. Matt Harvey’s “Dark Knight,” however, won’t be showing up on any jersey. He’ll be donning the far less flashy “Harv.” Michael Conforto, who once said he had no idea why his teammates call him “Scooter,” has seemingly embraced his fate. That nickname will grace his jersey. Steven Matz went for “Reno,” which, he said, was a nickname his dad gave him when he was a kid.

Yoenis Cespedes will stick with “La Potencia,” a hat tip to the way the fans chant his name, Jay Bruce opted for “Bruuuce.” Of course, not everyone went with something quite so obvious. Josh Smoker is “Brown Bear” and Travis d’Arnaud is “Lil D.” Seth Lugo, one quarter Puerto Rican, selected “Quarterrican.” Erik Goeddel is Goopy, and the wiry Jerry Blevins is, naturally, “Gordo.”

With Laura Albanese

New York Sports