Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Where have you gone, Yankee Clipper?

When I heard the news that Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd is trying to make a comeback in baseball at the ripe age of 50, it got me thinking…What ever happened to fun nicknames in Major League Baseball? Over the first half of the 20th century, nearly every player had a nickname. In addition to the obvious names like “Babe” Ruth, we had a plethora of colorful nicknames such as Mordecai “Three-fingered” Brown, Jim “Cool Papa” Bell , and Jay “Dizzy” Dean. Even later players like “Hammerin’” Hank Aaron and Jim “Catfish” Hunter had a certain uniqueness to his name. I suppose that as salaries continue to escalate, a player’s creativity goes down or his image becomes too managed. Nowadays, few, if any, players have a genuine nickname. The most common nicknames in today’s game are nothing more than just the player’s name shortened. Think A-Rod instead of Alex Rodriguez or Coco instead of Covelli Crisp. The only current nicknamed players that immediately came to my mind are “Chipper” Jones “Pudge” Rodriguez, and the Big boys - Papi (David Ortiz), Unit (Randy Johnson) and Hurt (Frank Thomas). ESPN’s Chris Berman uses nicknames as part of his schtick when highlighting players like Roy “Every day is a” Halladay or Dontrelle “Watchutalkinabout” Willis but those are stale now that Berman has done it for 25 years. I suppose there are probably a few players with legit nicknames but it would take most fans a few minutes to come up with a list of 5-10 others without looking it up.

I would like to propose a concept to baseball management. Any athlete that is caught breaking a law or caught up in a controversy of any kind will automatically be referred to only by a unflattering nickname to be determined by me, your Chief Nickname Officer. Think of the possibilities:

  • “Cheetah” Rodriguez (Alex) – As in “the Yankees have two high-profile people on the left side of the infield, Jeter and Cheetah”. It sounds best if you use a Boston accent when describing this one.
  • “Hitman” Myers (Brett) – Not to be confused with Bret the Hitman Hart
  • “Lady’s Man” Dukes (Elijah) – If he doesn’t like Lady’s Man, I’d be ok calling him “Last Call” Dukes as well
  • “Jumbo” Cabrera (Miguel) – Only because El Guapo is already taken
  • “Dui” Chamberlain (Joba) - Pronounced Dewey
  • “E5” Mora (Melvin) – A dual reference to his shoddy defense and multiple offspring.
  • “Games Over” Gagne (Eric) – This nickname would have different meanings at different points in his career. Early on, it would have meant that Dodgers fans could go home because the Dodgers would win. Recently, it means his team is losing by 5 or more runs and about to get worse.

Some may say that my nicknaming concept is just ridiculous. If it is, then you can stop calling me “Sexy Thang” Goldsmith.

Random Academy Award Predictions.

  • Slumdog Millionaire will win several major awards (picture, director, adapted screenplay, cinematography, score, etc).
  • Wall-E will be the second biggest winner (animated film, original screenplay, sound).
  • Benjamin Button, nominated for the most awards, will only win one or two awards. Any win will be a minor category like make-up.
  • Heath Ledger will win Best Supporting Actor but I hope he does not.
  • Mickey Rourke was hands down the Best Actor of the year but Frank Langella deserves props. The Best Actress nominees are pretty weak this year. (Note: I haven’t seen Doubt yet but I hear good things about Ms. Streep).
  • More people should see Frost/Nixon.


Marissa said...

Hey - don't dis on the Melvin Mora defense.

Josh said...

Nice one. Trying to think of others... Adam "Netflix" Eaton. Clint "Offroad" Barmes. Kenny "Purell" Rogers. I'll leave the other one I thought of to Roy.

Josh said...

I should have said -- the Elijah Dukes one is awesome. If I ever see fit to go to a Nats game (is he still on the team?), we'll have to make it so.

angie said...

Jaimie and I listened to you! We went to see Frost/Nixon last night. It's definitely my favorite of the three best picture nominees I've seen.