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MLB Players Weekend: Are you ready for Scooter, Pickles and G?

For the first time, a player will use emojis instead of words. Diamondbacks reliever Brad Boxberger chose to use an emoji of a box and an emoji of a burger.

Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Brad Boxberger will wear

Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Brad Boxberger will wear emojis on the back of his uniform in 2018 Players Weekend games.  Photo Credit: AP/Michael Ainsworth

For the second straight season, Major League Baseball’s players were given the chance to choose nicknames for the back of their uniform tops to be worn on “Players Weekend,” which will take place on Aug. 24-26.

For the first time, a player will use emojis instead of words. Diamondbacks reliever Brad Boxberger chose to use an emoji of a box and an emoji of a burger. Ingenious! The only question is why Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius didn’t do it first.

If you’re one of the 264,000 who follow Gregorius’ Twitter account (@DidiG18), you know Gregorius has a history of posting happy recaps of Yankees wins that include emojis. He’s kind of like the king of emojis.

“I’m not the king of emojis,” a modest Gregorius said this past week.

Gregorius may not be a king, but he is a knight, and that fact is reflected in his Players Weekend uniform names from 2017 (“SIR DIDI”) and this year (“THE KNIGHT”).

Gregorius played for the Dutch national baseball team that beat Cuba in the final of the 2011 baseball World Cup. The players were knighted by being awarded the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Players from the Mets’ Michael Conforto (“SCOOTER”) to the Yankees’ Miguel Andujar (“PAPA”) had fun choosing their uniform names. Some declined to play along — “GARDNER” for Brett Gardner and “deGROM” for Jacob deGrom, for example.

“We all just call him ‘Jake,’    ” Conforto said. “I think he should have just put ‘Jake’ on the back.”

Conforto did point out that the way deGrom is pitching this season, he can call himself whatever he wants.

As for Conforto’s choice, he said it was the only one he could have made.

“I don’t really have any other nicknames in here, so it seemed like the only option, to be honest,” he said. “I’m not really certain of the meaning behind it, but it’s what a lot of the pitchers call me.”

Conforto was injured and missed last year’s Players Weekend. With the way the Mets’ season is going, it’ll be nice to have something different to talk about when they host Bryce Harper (“MONDO”) and the Nationals on Aug. 24-26.

“It’ll be fun to be part of that,” Conforto said. “I know the guys said it was fun to play those games.”

The Yankees will be in Baltimore that weekend and will get to play an extra game in the specially-made uniform tops because they have a doubleheader on Aug. 25. The Yankees won’t have Aaron Judge (Last year: “ALL RISE”: this year: “JUDGE”) or Gary Sanchez (both years: “KRAKEN”) because both are injured and aren’t expected back by then. But they should have Giancarlo Stanton (“G”) to bring the righthanded power.

Seeing the Yankees with names of any sort on their backs is viewed by some as a breach of their “no names, of course” history. And the special uniform tops will not be their usual road grays but are described by MLB as “colorful, nontraditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms.”

Of course, all of the special jerseys will be auctioned off after the weekend on MLB.com. But before you go all cynical on us, MLB says 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the MLB and MLB Players Association Youth Development Foundation.

Why is this even happening? Players Weekend was a joint product of MLB and the union.

“Players envisioned Players Weekend as a way to express themselves and connect with fans in a fun and more personal way,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a statement. “And the opportunity for players to honor those who first stirred their passions for baseball at a grass roots level helps reinforce the way our game is handed down from generation to generation.”

So that’s why Sonny Gray’s nickname will be “Pickles” for the second straight year.

“People were like, ‘Why, why, why?’    ” Gray said. “I don’t really have a good answer for them because I don’t have an answer.”

Actually, Gray’s best answer is that when he was with Oakland, they wore green uniforms. And, as Oakland catcher Josh Phegley told MLB.com last year, “It’s because he likes pickles.”

So the nicknames can go from the silly to the boring (“BIRD” for Greg Bird) to the meaningful. Some players are using them to honor their families.

Yankees reliever Zach Britton is going with “ANGLADA,” which is his grandmother’s maiden name. And starter Lance Lynn is going with “MIA,” which is the name of his 6-year-old daughter.

“She doesn’t know yet,” Lynn said. “Hopefully, when she gets to see it on TV, she’ll be excited. I’m going to get her a little jersey. It’s going to be a surprise.”

Last year, Lynn went with “LYNN” with the Cardinals because he doesn’t have a nickname. How does a ballplayer not have a nickname? What do his teammates call him?

Said Lynn, “They call me ‘Lance.’ ”

THE NAME GAME

Some of the nicknames that will be on the back of MLB jerseys from Aug. 24-26 for Players Weekend:

METS

Tyler Bashlor “BASH”

Jose Bautista “JOEYBATS”

Jerry Blevins “JER-RY JER-RY JER-RY”

Michael Conforto “SCOOTER”

Jacob deGrom “deGROM”

Wilmer Flores “CATIRE”

Todd Frazier “TODDFATHER”

Robert Gsellman “G-MAN”

Austin Jackson “A-JAX”

Seth Lugo “QUARTERRICAN”

Steven Matz “MATZY”

Jeff McNeil “JT”

Devin Mesoraco “ROCKO”

Brandon Nimmo “NIMMS”

Corey Oswalt “OZ”

Kevin Plawecki “PLAW DAWG”

Jose Reyes “LA MELAZA”

Jacob Rhame “RHAMROD”

Amed Rosario “EL NIÑO”

Paul Sewald “PAULIE”

Drew Smith “SMITTY”

Anthony Swarzak “T-SWEEZY”

Noah Syndergaard “THOR”

Jason Vargas “VARGY”

Bobby Wahl “PEANUT”

Zack Wheeler “WHEELS”

YANKEES

Miguel Andujar “PAPÁ”

Dellin Betances “EL ACIDO”

Greg Bird “BIRD”

Zach Britton “ANGLADA”

Aroldis Chapman “THE MISSILE”

A.J. Cole “AJ”

Brett Gardner “GARDNER”

Sonny Gray “PICKLES”

Didi Gregorius “THE KNIGHT”

Chad Green “GREENY”

J.A. Happ “HAPPER”

Aaron Hicks “HICKSIE”

Jonathan Holder “HOLDY”

Aaron Judge “JUDGE”

Lance Lynn “MIA”

David Robertson “D-ROB”

Austin Romine “RO”

CC Sabathia “DUB”

Gary Sanchez “KRAKEN”

Luis Severino “SEVY”

Giancarlo Stanton “G”

Masahiro Tanaka “TANAKA TIME”

Gleyber Torres “GT”

Neil Walker “WALKIE”

AROUND MLB

Jose Altuve “TUVE”

Mooke Betts “MOOKIE”

Freddie Freeman “ANDREW”

Bryce Harper “MONDO”

Manny Machado “EL MINISTRO”

Andrew McCutchen “ZOOM”

Albert Pujols “THE MACHINE”

Anthony Rizzo “TONY”

Marcus Stroman “HDMH”

Mike Trout “KIIIID”

Source: MLB.com

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