Players’ weekend has been a new initiative started by Major League Baseball in recent years, and while I originally was indifferent, a recent circumstance changed my mind.
Players’ weekend is an opportunity for players to show a little more “personality” by putting their nickname on the back of their jersey.
When I first heard about players’ weekend I was not sure why they were doing it.
Was it to bring fans closer to the game?
Was it to give players an outlet to show a different side of themselves?
Was it an excuse to sell more jerseys?
What I learned over watching players’ weekend, at least for one player, is that it does not really matter.
Canadian Joey Votto proved that there is more to the weekend than selling jerseys.
The 34-year-old Toronto native elected to honour something distinctly Canadian, something near and dear to the hearts of Canadians.
When Votto pulled on his #19 Cincinnati Reds jersey during players’ weekend it did not say “Votto” on the back but instead read “In Flanders Fields.”
The ode to the World War I poem was a nice touch by Votto, especially with this year being the 100-year anniversary since the end of the war.
What better way to pay homage to those who served than with those simple words.
When I think of the war, that poem is one of the first things that comes to mind.
Growing up there used to be constants at Remembrance Day ceremonies; the Canadian anthem, the playing of the Last Post, and the reciting of In Flanders Fields.
What better way to honour the war than with those words.
Votto has proven in the past to be supportive of Canadians and their causes, like when he famously wrote the name of the Toronto police officer who played a key role in the arrest of the van attack offender on his cleats.
In April, shortly after the start of the season, he wrote the words “Humboldt Broncos” on his cleats in honour of the team.
Seeing Votto write homages on his cleats and put “In Flanders Field” on the back of his jersey is awesome.
A lot of time we watch professional athletes on television and honestly because they make millions of dollars and we only ever see them playing their sport, we forget these are real people with real feelings.
Votto showcased those with the name on his jersey, as well as the other homages.
While the 34-year-old is not perfect, there was an outburst earlier this season about Canadian baseball, which he later apologized for, he does show a side of humanity.
And that is awesome.
So while I did not know how to feel about players’ weekend at first, Votto changed my mind.
I look forward to seeing more jerseys like Votto’s in future years.