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On the weekend of August 25th-27th, MLB is hosting the first-ever "Players Weekend". During this event, which honors the Little League World Series, all 30 MLB teams will wear custom uniforms, many of them having nicknames on them. Some nicknames include "All Rise" for Yankees OF Aaron Judge, "Thor" for Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard, and "PTBNL" for A's catcher Josh Phegley.
Aside from the fun and games of the Players Weekend, this event can have a positive impact on the rest of American sports. First of all, it can bring new TV viewers and live fans to the games. Second, it can create greater involvement and buy-in (and buying) from fans down the road. Imagine if players asked their fans to choose the nicknames, through Twitter, MLB.com, or other social media. Football has already experimented with the XFL, which had players with now famous nicknames such as "He Hate Me". While the XFL was short-lived, and ultimately a failure, I think that this experiment that is being conducted by MLB could push other leagues to allow for greater personal expression.
In the NFL, Color Rush uniforms should be allowed to have nicknames on the back, because the players only wear them once in a season. Some playfulness could be added to the NFL, which is often criticized for being the "No Fun League". Also, allowing custom cleats would be a fun addition, allowing players to express their freedom of expression while adding some pop to their uniforms.
In the NBA, this can be done easily. Just picture the Christmas uniforms from 2012-2014. These uniforms are similar to what MLB is implementing during the Players Weekend because of the bright colors, nicknames, and big logos. I like the Christmas Uniform idea, and I think that there should be special edition uniforms that would make the game more fun and colorful.
I'm not saying that all teams can allow nicknames on jerseys for every game, but I do think that allowing customized cleats, more fun touchdown celebrations, and occasionally nicknames could add a great element of youth and playfulness into American sports. And youth and playfulness are what draw in fans and makes the game more fun.
Overall, I think that adding some fun weekends like this in American professional sports would be really fun, cool, and a great way for fans to get into the game.
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