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They’re doing a third Players Weekend

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For the third year running, there will be a “Players Weekend,” in which players are allowed to personalize the name on the back of their jerseys, wear colored spikes and gloves, add personalized patches on their uniform and stuff like that. Think of it as extra free time for kids near the end of the school year. Or a means of helping the players forget that they’ve bargained away substantial rights in the past few CBA negotiating sessions. Free agency was nice, but hey, colorful wristbands!

The biggest change this year: the jerseys are monochromatic:

You can get a better look at all of the teams’ uniforms here.

Which seems a bit odd for a weekend in which the players are supposed to stand out. The stated rationale is so that the 15 pieces of flair (or whatever) the players will be wearing stand out. Not that you can really see the details on the customized cleats and wristbands and what have you, but I suppose it’s “Players Weekend” and not “Fan Weekend.”

As Fisher’s tweet above notes, this year there will also be more latitude given players to use mobile devices up until the national anthem, so figure there will be more social media stuff associated with it.

Players Weekend is scheduled for all games over the August 23-25 weekend.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.