Bubba, White Sox eager for Players Weekend

Bubba, White Sox eager for Players Weekend

CHICAGO -- If White Sox reliever Chris Beck was holding true to the spirit of the inaugural Players Weekend, being introduced by MLB and the MLB Players Association this Friday through Sunday, the back of his jersey would read "Chris."

Beck's No. 54 jersey instead will feature the name "Bubba," which he is called by more than his given first name.

"I've actually probably never been called by my first name by my family. Chris doesn't really do anything," Beck said with a laugh. "My dad called me Bo as a kid.

"My niece, my actual goddaughter, we tried to teach her, 'Uncle B.' and saying the syllable 'B' and it turned into 'buh, buh, buh,' and cut into 'Bubba'. Now the whole family does it. It stuck and I [figured] it's a pretty cool nickname to put on the back of the jersey."

Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com

All players will wear colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs during Players Weekend, with the White Sox playing host to the Tigers. They have the opportunity to have a nickname placed on their jerseys made by Majestic, as well as to wear and use uniquely colored and designed spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher's masks and bats.

Beck, who has appeared in 42 games for the White Sox in 2017, and his teammates will also wear specially designed New Era caps and unique socks from Stance. During pregame workouts and postgame interviews, players will wear T-shirts highlighting a charity or cause of their choice.

Beck briefly entertained "Beckster" as his nickname but quickly decided it was too generic. He laughed when adding he has the most generic name in general.

So he went with a nickname first derived by his brother, Eli, who is 14 1/2 years younger.

Players Weekend: Nicknames of the game

"He started calling me that pretty much as soon as he could talk," Beck said. "Even at 12, he still calls me Bubba. My father-in-law, mother-in-law, two sisters-in-law, everybody on my wife's side calls me Bubba."

Players will also wear special patches on their sleeves showing the evolution of a child into a Major Leaguer. Under the logo is white space where players can write the name of a person to whom they are grateful for helping advance their careers.

Game-worn, Players Weekend jerseys will be auctioned at MLB.com/auctions with 100 percent of net proceeds donated to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, a joint effort established in July 2015 with an initial commitment of $30 million focused on improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the U.S. and Canada.

The uniforms will first be worn by the Pirates and Cardinals during the MLB Little League Classic to be played in Williamsport, Pa. on Sunday during the 2017 Little League World Series. That game will take place at Bowman Field, home of the Williamsport Crosscutters, a Phillies affiliate in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League.

Like many of his teammates, Beck is looking forward to the weekend change.

"I think it's cool," Beck said. "MLB has thrown some different things out there and fans respond to it well with Memorial Day, the Fourth [of July], Father's Day and Mother's Day.

"You see us in our normal colors for probably 140-plus games. Pretty cool, throw something different on the field, keeps it fresh. It's a long season. Anything to throw in there is a bonus for us."

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

James Shields: "JUEGO G"
Tyler Saladino: "SALY"
Avisail Garcia: "AVI"
Carlos Rodon: "LOS"
Derek Holland: "DUTCH"
Jose Abreu: "MAL TIEMPO"
Mike Pelfrey: "BIG PELF"
Tim Anderson: "B. MOSS"
Miguel Gonzalez: "EL JALISCIENCE"

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.