We Need Some New Baseball Nicknames

Oooooooooopening Day, y’all!

You heard about the Mudcat, Catfish and the Georgia Peach
The Kitten and the Cobra, the Spaceman and the Beast
Goose, Bird, Rooster, Penguin, Vulture, and your bird can sing
And the greatest nickname of all time: Death To Flying Things
–The Baseball Project (who are making a case for themselves as a cooler, updated version of Terry Cashman)

It’s a time for positivity. It’s not a time to focus on baseball’s biggest douchebags or why Bud Selig is the devil incarnate. Hard as it may be for the likes of me, it’s time to focus on what we have and not on what we have not. Let’s count our blessings: We’ve got:

  • A pitcher who throws 105 fucking miles per hour
  • A starting rotation with a puncher’s chance at being the greatest of all time
  • An old-timey slugger closing in on 600 home runs
  • At least 19 out of 30 ballparks that fall somewhere on the good-to-great scale, certainly the highest percentage we’ve ever had
  • The World Series trophy residing in San Francisco for the first time ever
  • Hope for the quasi-near future in Kansas City and Pittsburgh, for the first time in a long time
  • The Mets getting exactly what they deserve
  • Budding superstars Mike Stanton and Jason Heyward facing each other 18 times a year in the NL East
  • A whip-smart organization in Tampa continuing to lock up young players to team-friendly deals
  • Rob Neyer freed from the shackles of The Worldwide Leader
  • Vin Scully, still at it
  • Mariano Rivera, still at it
  • An ever-expanding roster of wonderful baseball writers on various websites and blogs, saving us from dreary newspaper game recaps and exhausting “opinionated” columns
  • Players who have come back from cancer, depression and anxiety disorders among the top 25 players in the game
  • A certain intangibles-filled captain closing in on 3,000 hits, trying to become the first player to debut after 1989 to reach that mark
  • Six straight months with something worth watching on television every single night

Fuck yes.

One thing we don’t have though, and one thing we need: a slew of good nicknames for current players.

Nicknames are as much a part of baseball lore as famous home runs and Mickey Mantle getting blow jobs under the Yankee Stadium bleachers. And while I think those who claim baseball was better back in the day are usually sad-eyed nostalgists (and incorrect sad-eyed nostalgists at that), baseball in 2011 definitely doesn’t have enough great nicknames to compete with baseball in 1985 or 1963 or 1937.

Thankfully, we’ve ridden out the two worst trends in baseball nickname history:

  1. “The Big ____” applied to anyone of abnormal stature: The Big Hurt, The Big Dog, The Big Unit, Big Daddy…
  2. The ARod-ization of nicknames, where all of a sudden the first letter of a first name and the first syllable of a last name somehow counted as a nickname. Linda Cohn was most at fault for this.

Those unholy phenomena have come and gone, and the time has come for a new era of great baseball nicknames. We’ve got a few already: Kung Fu Panda, Vlad the Impaler, Pronk, Fat Elvis, etc.

* Important note: recycling an old nickname for a new player is completely unacceptable. Ryan Braun is NOT The Hebrew Hammer. Ryan Madson is NOT Mad Dog.

But we need more. We can do better. We can get away from John Sterling puns, Chris Berman song titles, and abbreviated last names. We can do this, people. It’s up to us. We need to find the next generation of “Iron Horse,” “Three-Finger,” and “The Golden Greek.”

A few suggestions to get us started:

  • Evan Longoria: Machine Gun
  • Jim Thome: The Throwback
  • Pedro Alvarez: The Pulverizer
  • Matt Wieters: The Disappointment Kid
  • Mark Reynolds: A Mighty Wind
  • Prince Fielder: The Corpulent Crusher
  • Jose Bautista: Flukey
  • Emilio Bonifacio: Replacement Level
  • Zack Greinke: Paxil
  • A.J. Burnett: Electric Stuff
  • Max Scherzer: Der Fuehrer
  • Shin-Soo Choo: The Conscript
  • Alfonso Soriano: The Mad Hopper
  • Juan Pierre: The Mobile Meteor
  • Barry Zito: The Contract
  • Jonathan Broxton: Meltdown
  • Robinson Cano: Future Batting Champ
  • Dustin Pedroia: Dustin “My Brother Likes to Have Oral Sex With Young Boys” Pedroia

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Filed under Sports Has AIDS, The Dilemma

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