The headline was supposed to refer to all the nicknames you guys are throwing out - some gems in there. It could also refer to the Royals, who are once again proving that if they can just score 3 or 4 runs consistently, they're going to be in every game. Is mid-May too early for scoreboard watching? Because right now the Indians are the only truly imposing barrier blocking the Royals from realistic postseason hopes. If you told me right now that the Indians would win no more than 85 games, I'd say we have a shot at winning this division. The way the Tribe is pitching, though, they could blow this division apart pretty soon. But hey, their starter gave up a run (unearned) today. So that's something.
Once my schedule frees up in a week or two we'll talk in more detail about how realistic the Royals' chances are. In the meantime, here are my thoughts on all the suggested nicknames so far...
- First off, I want to address the concerns of those who feel this entire enterprise is inappropriate. As one anonymous poster said, "I must object to this entire post. The entire point behind nicknames, and the reason that they really great ones ARE great and therefore stick, is that they are given through spontaneous bouts of creativity, usually related to a humorous, impressive, or embarassing trait of the nicknamee."
My response to this is that, actually, most of the famous nicknames in baseball history were in fact penned by sportswriters, and were almost certainly not thought of spontaneously, but rather were premeditated acts of penmanship. I highly doubt one of Mickey Mantle's coaches looked at him one day and said, "you know what - this guy's the Commerce Comet!" One of Johnny Martin's teammates may have called him Pepper, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the guy who first called him "The Wild Horse of the Osage" was sitting in front of a typewriter at the time.
The media has always been involved in coining nicknames for players. It just so happens that in today's game, the media has largely abdicated that responsibility. There's nothing wrong with that, but just as blogs are replacing the traditional media's role in other ways, I see no reason why blogs can't take on the duty of both inventing nicknames and disseminating them to a wider audience.
- To "TheBobHamelin": I will gladly concede that you created the term "Hispanic Panic" to refer to Messrs. Soria, Nunez, and Ramirez first - a fact I was not aware of until after I made the same connection. In return I hope you will gladly concede that it is in fact possible for two people to have come up with the same nickname, independently of each other, without any need to suggest plagiarism or other foul play. Thanks. As I've said before, I'm not entirely comfortable with the nickname, so I may just avoid using it in the future.
- We'll be putting a number of potential nicknames up for a vote next week, I hope - I'll have more details on that later. But one nickname is so perfect that I am invoking executive privilege right here and now: our top two starters will henceforth be known, when referred to in tandem, as Greinke and the Brain. Many kudos to whoever came up with that one - I never watched the show and I still think it's brilliant. May they succeed in taking over the World...Series.
- Lots of calls for Doc Bannister, lots of calls for The Professor. Both of them are good but obvious. Doc, The Professor, The Brain...we'll put this up for a vote.
- A pretty strong consensus for calling Gordon "Splash", and an equally strong consensus that he hasn't earned it yet. Need a few other contenders here, or we'll just call this one over.
- I have a personal preference to avoid nicknames derived from the player's real name if at all possible, but that's not a hard and fast rule. A lot of you like "The Gobstopper" for Jimmy Gobble. I'm always up for a Willy Wonka reference. Maybe we can just call him "Everlasting" - an ironic reference to the fact that he's usually out there to face a single hitter.
- So many choices for Soria, but none of them strike me as being able to do his brand of dominance justice. I'm not sure any nickname can do him justice at this point - he looks like he's ready for a higher league. The way he closed out the game on Wednesday night...how do you say "The Eviscerator" in Spanish? I think Marcus Thames saw a PTSD counselor after the game.
El Matador ("The Killing One", Babelfish tells me) is not bad. 'Sover? So Long Soria? Don't want to jinx the guy. Captain Jack isn't bad. Joakim The Dream is - not a big fan of the rhyming names.
Someone suggested "The Wolf" from Pulp Fiction, which I think is great. But wasn't Harvey Keitel's character known as "The Cleaner"? Maybe just Wolf will do. This just in: "The Hispanic Abe Lincoln" - or HAL for short - is a late entry, worthy of your consideration.
- There's NO consensus for Billy Butler. Billy Baroo...Beav...Bat Man...Big Bang...B-Squared...Bubba...everybody's got the same idea, but different execution. Apparently Teahen calls him Bill the Thrill, and I'd be fine with that - the players should get priority on nicknames - except Will Clark was Will the Thrill, and I'm not a fan of recycling nicknames. The perfect nickname should incorporate his undeniable hitting skills as well as his heft and lack of dexterity when engaged in any activity that does not involve a bat in his hands. The dude's a big ogre, basically. Shrek, anyone? (Yes, I'm a sucker for the animated films.)
- Some very good suggestions for Gathright. I still like Dash, in large part because he can bat ahead of Gordon and we'd have "Splash and Dash." But Hops and High Jump are both very good. (I don't care what the people in Louisiana call him, I'm not calling him Honey Bun.) We'll put this to a vote.
- I like Mr. Incredible a lot for John Buck. Although this would make him Gathright's father. The apple fell pretty far from the tree, I guess. Maybe Elastigirl had a fling with Frozone...
- Very few suggestions of any stripe for Guillen. Tick Tock's the best I've seen so far, but I'd like to see better.
- Sliver is not bad for Leo Nunez, but I like Razor better. It's a reference to his build and his impressive body of work at the same time.
- I really like the suggestion of "Topspin" for Teahen. The alliteration is nice, and it's a quirky nickname which is actually kind of a dig - maybe it will remind him that, once upon a time, he was a capable of hitting for power. "Gordon takes a lead off second base...and Topspin lines a fastball the other way for a hit!" That sounds pretty cool. Thoughts? Slapshot might also work because he's such a cut-up.
- Some good names for Greinke, but they all reference his psychological issues in one way or another. The Baseball Jonah awaits a real challenger. Although "Chipotle" was pretty funny.
- The only name I've seen for Meche is "The Mechete." If that's the best we've got, I'm fine with "The Epic."
- Someone called Grudzielanek "Stubble". That's what I'm talking about - short, simple, evocative.
- Come on, guys. Hooch? It's not even the right pronunciation. Dumbo would be okay if it were newspaper-friendly. Cool Hand is still the leader in the clubhouse here. (And it looks like I'll have to add it to my Netflix queue. Given how rarely I have time to see movies, I'll probably get to it in 2013.)
- Does Tony Pena even deserve a nickname? If he does, I like Toothpick - refers to his build and the effective size of his bat. Toothpick Tony is hitting .182 - see, that works already.
- None of the DeJesus suggestions have overwhelmed me so far. With a name like that we should be able to come up with something, right?
- "Shake" Yabuta is so stupid that it's actually kind of funny.
Again, keep in mind that we're not going to pin a nickname on every player, nor should we expect to. If I don't think any of the suggested nicknames for a player are absolutely top-notch, then we'll simply pass over that guy.
Alright everyone, I should be back early next week and we'll try to get some polls up. In the meantime, keep the nicknames - and wins - coming.