The annual Players Weekend is returning to MLB fields across the country Aug. 23-25, but the release of the nicknames has become almost as eagerly anticipated.
The powers that be at MLB gave Sporting News a sneak peek at the list, which is cool, so here’s the first “best of the best” list you’re likely to see. It was nearly impossible to whittle down the list to just 25 nicknames — 75 or 100 would have meant fewer difficult cuts — but that’s the sacrifice we’re making for you.
There are a few new non-nickname twists this year, the biggest being that players are being encouraged to bring their phones onto the field prior to the national anthem to post social-media content. So you'll see guys with phones everywhere — in the dugout, during batting practice, etc.
One quick nickname note: Some of the classics are back, like Kenley Jansen’s “Kenleyfornia” and Josh Phegley’s “PTBNL” and Shane Bieber’s “Not Justin” but we left those off this list because, well, you already know them. But we couldn’t let this go without at least a nod.
On to the list ...
The best MLB Players Weekend nicknames for 2019
25. "Flying Squirrel" … Jeff McNeil
Thoughts: Because, y’know, “Normal Squirrel” doesn’t have the same panache.
24. "Polar Bear" … Pete Alonso
Thoughts: It’s 2019 and Pete Alonso is on pretty much every list. It’s the law.
23. "Crash Landing" … Archie Bradley
Thoughts: Any relief pitcher who is brave enough to wear this is good in our book.
22. "Not done yet" … Clint Hurdle
Thoughts: The Pirates manager has a word for those who think his time in Pittsburgh should be done, apparently.
21. "Drip" … Mike Leake
Thoughts: If his name was Mike Dripe would he have gone with Leak?
20. "The Big Baby" … Eloy Jimenez
Thoughts: Eloy is just the best.
19. "Dream" … Luke Weaver
Thoughts: I believe you can get me through the night …
18. (wolf emoji) … Jonathan Gray
Thoughts: Lots and lots of emojis this year. Have a soft spot for the gray wolf.
17. (peace hands emoji, sun emoji) … Mike Clevinger
Thoughts: Perfect fit for Mr. Clevinger.
16. "Brown Eye" … Max Scherzer
Thoughts: Because the two-toned ace of the National has already worn “Blue Eye.” Duh.
15. "Obi Sean" … Sean Doolittle
Thoughts: Lots of Star Wars references, too, but this one’s the best. Shoutout to Chad Sobotak for “Chewbotka” though.
14. "Roots" … Adam Jones
Thoughts: Adam Jones gets it. We need more people in this world like him.
13. "Gut it out" … Jake Diekman
Thoughts: If you know Diekman’s story, you know why this makes sense.
12. "Dillypickelz" … Dillon Peters
Thoughts: Probably too high, but I like dill pickles. Sue me.
11. "Yaz" … Mike Yastrzemski
Thoughts: Not necessarily creative or groundbreaking, but there’s something awesome about Yaz and baseball, right?
10. "Parmigiancarlo" … Giancarlo Stanton
Thoughts: *golf clap*
9. "Rocco’s Seat Warmer" … Kevin Cash
Thoughts: The Rays manager knows who is the real hero in Tampa Bay.
8. "Three Kid$" … Lorenzo Cain
Thoughts: With 11 months of spending for my first kiddo, I FEEL YOU LORENZO!
7. "Jdot Adot" … J.A. Happ
Thoughts: Reminds me of this stand-up bit (skip ahead to 50ish).
6. "Forgetting Sarah" … Evan Marshall
Thoughts: Excellent movie, Evan. Bravo.
5. "With a K" … Zack Britton
Thoughts: A reminder for sports writers that he changed the spelling of his first name. Helpful.
4. (bread emoji, butter emoji) … Jeremy Jeffress
Thoughts: A little free advertising for his food truck. Love it. Had a long chat with Jeffress this spring, and you should read it.
3. "Zoombiya" … Jarrod Dyson
Thoughts: Dyson has zoomed by lots of defenders in his day.
2. "¯\_(ツ)_/¯" … Hunter Pence
Thoughts: Just perfect, Hunter.
1. "Who" … Joey Votto
Thoughts: Everyone already knows who’s on first in Cincinnati, Joey, but this is still excellent.