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Kris Bryant of the Cubs will wear custom designed cleats honoring a charity, Wings for Life, this weekend. Bat flips and caps tilted to the side and even prematurely untucked jerseys have ruffled feathers over the years. Major League Baseball takes care of policing the rest shoe colors, bat designs, sleeve lengths with a set of strict uniform rules.

This weekend, however, as part of what baseball is calling its inaugural Players Weekend, the rigid conformity of the sport is being thrown out for three days, at least when it comes to what to wear.

The most noticeable changes will appear on the players themselves: colorful jerseys that include a nickname of each player’s choosing, instead of a surname, on the back, and an arm patch bearing the name of a person or an organization that influenced a player’s life. The nicknames revealed over the past few weeks have included the witty (the jersey for Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager reads, “Corey’s Brother,” in honor of his younger brother, an All Star shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers), the silly (Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud chose “Lil D”) and the heartfelt (Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is memorializing a deceased friend).

But an underlying part of this weekend’s initiative has resonated with players even more: the relaxing of those unforgiving uniform rules. Players can wear uniquely designed (read: brightly colored) cleats and batting gloves and use specially designed bats or other gear. 25, 2017

“I love it,” said Dominic Smith, 22, a Mets rookie first baseman. “You get to be creative. Players were “interested in finding unique ways to connect with their fans by allowing them to see more of their personalities and interests,” Tony Clark, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said in announcing the creation of the event,
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which was a joint effort between Major League Baseball and the union.

As a result, Mets reliever Josh Smoker, who grew up racing cars in Georgia, will wear cleats with a Richard Petty theme. Yankees pitcher C. C. Sabathia will pay homage to his roots and his musical taste with black and red cleats that feature the faces of Mac Dre and E 40, two rappers who, like him, are from the Bay Area. The Cubs star Kris Bryant will honor a charity, and the Yankees’ Todd Frazier will offer a nod to his New Jersey roots with a picture of Frank Sinatra and other Garden State iconography on his shoes. 25, 2017

“I’m not a very flashy dresser, but I figured for PlayersWeekend was the perfect time to break out the neon green spikes,” Houston Astros starter Collin McHugh posted on social media, along with a photo of cleats featuring a blend of unexpected colors. 24, 2017

Over the years, cleat customization has moved from the underground and from being closer to the mainstream. Even bats customized beyond the rules face similar disapproval. Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper said that when he used a bat on July 4, 2015, that featured the Washington skyline and the United States flag, he had done so expecting a fine.

“Guys are already pushing the limits of what everyone else is used to,” Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Archie Bradley said. “This is a nice way to take all the rules off and go all the way out.”

Several players also planned to use special bats this weekend. Jose Altuve of the Astros ordered bats from his supplier, Sam Bat, that use the colors and design of the Venezuelan flag. The rookie Amed Rosario picked out a bright orange and blue bat, an option for Mets players from Marucci Sports, and Smith, his teammate,
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chose a matte blue version.