Players’ Weekend is back!
For the second consecutive year, Major Leaguers put their personalities and passions on the field as Players’ Weekend took center stage during all games played from Friday through Sunday.
Saturday, at Marlins Park it was game three of a four-game home series as the Atlanta Braves visit the Miami Marlins.
The Braves sent Right-hander Anibal Sanchez on the mound, who broke into the majors with the Marlins in 2006. The home team sent left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.
It was the rookie, who was resting who delivered. Brian Anderson delivered with a pinch-hit, two-run home run in the seventh inning to help the Marlins beat the Braves 3-1 on Saturday night.
“It was kind of a reset,” Anderson said. “It helps your body, your legs get underneath you. I was relaxed for a day even if I had that one at-bat. I just tried to go in and have a good at bat especially In a situation like that. The pressure is not on me, it’s on the other pitcher.”
Anderson delivered his first career pinch-hit home run and the 10th of the season with his shot to left field off Chad Sobotka for a 3-0 lead.
“That was huge,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It’s one of those games you’re walking a tightrope. Anything can happen, and you see what happened in the ninth with the leadoff homer. You still had some breathing room.”
Anderson became the seventh Marlins player to reach double-digits in home runs this season. It is the most players with at least 10 in a season since the 2008 team also had seven.
This weekend players from both teams let their personalities and passions shine with their nicknames that players across all clubs wore on their backs while sporting colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms.
Chen had “Weigh in,” on the back of his uniform. Get the wordplay?
Chen was striking out boxers of any weight when they stepped up to the plate. Six strong innings for Chen to go along with ten strikeouts, that was a heavy weight performance if I ever witnessed one. Chen was not handed the “MVP of the game chain,” after the game.
“It was a great team win, I pitched not bad, Andy did a better job,” Chen said through a translator. “I am still happy for him.”
At Chen’s first at-bat, the bat flew out of his hand after a missed swing and into the Marlins dugout. He laughed about it.
Last season, MLB and the MLB Players Association announced jointly on Wednesday that Players Weekend will be a player-focused field festival of sorts, different than anything seen before at the top rung of the sport. In addition to nicknames on the backs of jerseys made by Majestic, players can wear and use uniquely colored and designed spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher’s masks and bats.
Braves rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. was 2 for 4 and is hitting .340 (32 for 94) in August with 18 extra-base hits. Acuna used a custom designed bat with an illustration of the Venezuelan flag covered on it, capped off with “SABANERO SOY,” on the back of his uniform. Translation “I’m from the Savannah.”
During Players Weekend, the players also will be able to wear specially designed caps by New Era, and different socks from Stance. Players even can wear T-shirts highlighting a charity or cause of their choice during pregame workouts and postgame interviews. The same authentic jerseys, tees, caps, and socks are available now at the MLB.com/shop.
Additionally, during Players Weekend, the right sleeve of each player’s jersey will feature a patch with a blank space for him to write the name of a person or organization that was instrumental to his development. The patch features a new logo that shows a progression of five players increasing in size to demonstrate the process of a player’s path from Little League and youth leagues to Major League Baseball. The new “Evolution” logo, which symbolizes solidarity with local youth baseball and softball organizations, will also appear on the back of each club’s cap and jerseys in place of the MLB silhouetted batter.
It was a sight to see. Players weekend continues to be a success in only the second season. Are the fans fully engaged in return that has yet to be seen without including jersey sales, but it will grow.
MLB and MLB.com contributed to this article.