Smack-Off season is underway and one Smack-Off contestant is already making news. I’m of course talking about Jeff Passan, MLB columnist for Yahoo, who makes news all the time.

And yesterday he broke the story that Major League Baseball is planning to relax the code…well…the dress code.

Hell, yes. It’s about time. For years, I’ve had players talk about being on the show and talk about the fact that they feel like the game would be more popular if they could wear whatever color shoes they want.

Well, now MLB is finally giving in and letting the players express themselves. For a weekend. Wait, what? According to a memo obtained by Yahoo, August 25th to 27th will be referred to as “Players Weekend” and players will be allowed to wear awesome on their shoes, and on the gloves, throw a nickname on the back of their jersey, and have a patch on the jersey that pays tribute to a person or organization who was instrumental in their development.

So let’s run down the list. Tribute patch on the jersey? Interesting. Could be nice and sentimental. Good idea.

Colorful spikes? No-brainer. The NFL did it for a weekend last year and it worked out very well.

But the real game changer is the nickname jersey idea. Honestly, I don’t like it. I love it. As a kid, I would’ve loved to get a Ron Cey gamer with “Penguin” on the back. Or a Dennis Boyd Red Sox jersey if they put “Oil Can” on it.

“Joey Bats” will look pretty sweet on the back of a Jays jersey.

Now Pablo Sandoval finally has a way to redeem himself with Red Sox fans. Sure that .217 batting average is hideous, but it would look a lot better if he had “Kung Fu Panda” on the back of his jersey.

I just wish they’d come up with this idea years ago, back when Nyjer Morgan was still in the bigs, because “Tony Plush, AKA T Plush, AKA Tony Hush, AKA Tony Gumbo, AKA Tony Tombstone” would look awesome stretched across, and around, Brewers jersey. If that was in the team store, no way they’re staying on the shelves.

My only problem with Players Weekend is calling it “Players Weekend.” Calling it the Players Weekend is what dudes who never get out of the house call it when they lie to the wife and kids about a work conference and instead head to Las Vegas to blow too much money, get too much sun, have too many drinks, and parade up and down the strip like amateurs and yelling “Players Weekend!” Over and over again.

If only they could come up with a better name for this set of games. Like, I don’t know, the Macho Weekend. That would be so much better.

But name aside, this weekend is smart. It’ll bring some buzz, it’ll get eyeballs in the dog days of August, and it’ll let the players show their personality, which is the biggest problem for the game right now. It’s not that there aren’t incredible players, there are. Guys like Harper, Trout, Altuve, Bellinger, Judge, the list goes on. But it’s hard for fans to connect with their personalities. This could help that.

In other words, it’s a good idea. But it would’ve been an even better idea a couple decades ago. I’d say welcome to 2017, MLB, but I’d have to welcome you to the mid-80s first. But at least it’s something.



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