Cubs to embrace fun during Players Weekend

New event to take place during all games from Aug. 25-27

Cubs to embrace fun during Players Weekend

SAN FRANCISCO -- Later this month, during the inaugural Players Weekend, Kyle Schwarber will be reminded of his early days on a baseball diamond.

• Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com

"It'll bring it back to being that kid again when you're out there on the field," Schwarber said of the Aug. 25-27 weekend. "Just going out there to play the game and have fun. It's a reminder of bringing it back to dreaming and aspiring for the Majors."

MLB and the Players Association on Wednesday unveiled their plans for the weekend, which will feature colorful, non-traditional uniforms with alternate designs. Players will have personalized nicknames in place of their last names. The everyday spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, catchers' gear and bats will also get a unique branding.

After the weekend, game-worn Players Weekend jerseys will be auctioned at MLB.com/auctions with 100 percent of the net proceeds donated to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation. The initiative was established in July 2015 with a $30 million commitment to improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs in the United States and Canada.

"I think it's just good for the game," third baseman Kris Bryant said. "I think to have those crazy colors -- with the rules a little more loose -- makes it more fun and gets people involved."

Players will also have a special patch on their sleeves that depicts the process of a child evolving to a Major Leaguer. Under the logo is a white space where every player will inscribe the name of a person whom they are grateful to for helping them advance their careers.

For Bryant and Schwarber, that call was easy. Both will write: "Mom and Dad." The two figure that will be a pretty common selection across the Majors.

"My parents had a big influence on me when I was a kid," Schwarber said. "They did everything possible for me to have a successful baseball career. ... They deserve all the credit for where I'm at."

And neither Bryant nor Schwarber had to think too hard about which nickname to use. Bryant will opt for "KB" while Schwarber will use "Schwarbs."

"It gets the fans involved, too, because they just see us sometimes as players," Bryant said. "Now they can get a look into what we call each other. It's going to be cool."

Both are excited to see what their teammates pick -- not to mention other players in the Majors.

"It's just a nice weekend for us to kind of choose what we want to do," Bryant said. "I think that's great. I'll be looking forward to learning a few nicknames along the way."

A preview of the promotion will take place Sunday, Aug. 20, when the Pirates and Cardinals don alternate uniforms for the first MLB Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa. The Cubs will get their turn the following weekend in Philadelphia, where they'll face the Phillies in a three-game series.

Here's a list of nicknames that some Cubs are expected to sport on the back of their jerseys on Players Weekend:

• Kris Bryant: "KB"
Anthony Rizzo: "TONY"
Jake Arrieta: "SNAKE"
Ben Zobrist: "ZORILLA"
• Kyle Schwarber: "SCHWARBS"
Willson Contreras: "WILLY"
Jason Heyward: "J-HEY"
Javier Baez: "EL MAGO"
Wade Davis: "WADER"
Kyle Hendricks: "HENDO"

Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Cubs on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.