By Brian Tinsman

WASHINGTON — Don’t look now, MLB traditionalists, but Bryce Harper’s quest to make baseball fun again might finally be paying off.

According to MLB insider Jeff Passan, the league and player’s association reached an agreement to hold a “Players Weekend” from Aug. 25-27, where among other thing, they will be permitted to wear jerseys with nicknames.

This is a gimmick that has been played out many times in the minor and independent leagues, but never at the MLB level. Unless you consider Ichiro Suzuki’s jersey that reads “Ichiro” instead of “Suzuki.”

This is also another major marketing idea borrowed from the marketing mind of Vince McMahon, who brought the professional wrestling name game to professional football during the brief existence of the XFL.

Remember Rod “He Hate Me” Smart? And if a nickname can be as nonsensical as “He Hate Me,” perhaps we can finally see Daniel Murphy in a jersey that reads “Fwaahh!” In case you’ve missed the 36 home runs he hit as a member of the Nats, there is a large guttural exclamation after each one.

In case you were wondering why baseball, which is saddled with more tradition than the other major sports combined, had a sudden change of heart, rest assured: it’s no free-for-all during “Players Weekend.”

Per Passan:

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.

Sounds like fun, which will inevitably annoy someone.


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