Before Alex Rodriguez burst
onto the national scene (and ruined nicknames forever with the unimaginative
and perpetually boring A-Rod), baseball was filled with colorful monikers.
Names like The Sultan of Swat, The Iron Horse, Wee Willie Keeler, Rapid
Robert, The Splendid Splinter, The Yankee Clipper, the Say Hey Kid,
Pops, and The Kid were the norm until baseball writers got lazy (or
Chris Berman just tried to incorporate a song nobody's ever heard of
with the name) and everyone became V-Mart, J-Mike, and J-Barf.
But nicknames in baseball have
always been a nice release in the “thinking man's game”. So,
with Opening Day looming and the prospect of an impending season, it's
time to present the 2007 Cleveland Indians and suggest some nicknames
for our beloved Erie Warriors:
Grady Sizemore - SuperSizemore
Though this one (originated
by yours truly nearly two years ago) has entered the greater lexicon with
a “SuperSizemore” bobblehead this summer, we'll go one more.
How about SupaDupaSizemore? You're right, the simpler blend of
Morgan Spurlock and the Man of Steel is just right.
Michaels - Dellichaels
Since neither player will play
a full-time role, neither gets a full-time nickname. Before you
need to break out a pronunciation guide with a phonetical spelling,
it sounds like “Delightful”. To borrow a line from TBS's
My Boys, “say it … it's fun.”
Travis Hafner - Le Pronque
The nickname Pronk jumped the
shark when Jon Miller and Joe Morgan had a lengthy conversation during
an ESPN telecast on the origin of the nickname before finally deciding
that it was the donkey's name in Shrek. The slight variation
is to play off of the way that the folks in Quebec call themselves Les
Quebecois and live under the credo, “Vive le Quebec”. Consider
me a member of Les Pronquois, who can be found in the mezzanine shouting
“Vive le Pronque”.
Victor Martinez - The
If Stan was the Man and the
male stripper from Tom Hanks' Bachelor Party was Nick the…well,
then the Tribe catcher can be Vic the Stick. His offensive has
certainly merited such an honor.
Casey Blake - J.O.A.T.
If Muhammad Ali and LL Cool
J can refer to themselves as G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time), the versatile
Blake can be referred to as J.O.A.T. (Jack of All Trades).
Trot Nixon - The Dirt
This one is set in stone, as
Nixon was able to get the notoriously brutal Sawx fans to not only embrace
him, but also start a fan blog called the Boston Dirt Dogs; so, we'll
go with the status quo and keep up the nickname.
Jhonny Peralta - Honey
How many people, when Peralta
first came up, were convinced the Peralta's first name had a silent
“J”, not a silent “H”. After his disastrous 2006, let's
get back to that simpler time - when Peralta was a promising young SS,
capable of putting up comparable numbers to the likes of Miguel Tejada,
as he did in 2005.
Andy Marte - The Dominican
Not in the sense of, “Hey
Silvio, look at Jerry here, prancing around in his coat with his purse.
Yup, he's a real dandy. He's a real fancy boy!” Not like
that at all … unless he can't hit the ball, then it will be just like
Josh Barfield - Jesse's
Since I heard Rick Springfield
is playing kids' birthday parties in Altoona, I think that it's possible
to even have the one-hit-wonder record a version of his hit to honor
the ex-MLB player's son.
Ryan Garko - Garko-my-God-did-you-see-how-far-he-hit-that?
As annoying as that it is type
every time he is discussed, the nickname (invented by serial commenter
Cy Slapnicka) is pretty good. Gonnie Garko (which I think another
commenter came up with) finished a close second.
Kelly Shoppach - ShopVac
Only a catcher can have a nickname
of an industrial vacuum. He'll stop anything that comes his way,
whether it be wet or dry.
Mike Rouse - Mighty Rouse
Not that it even matters since
the less we see of Rouse, the better the season will be going.
Since Mighty Mouse was created as a mouse version of Superman, let's
just consider Rouse as a tiny version of our own SuperSizemore.
C.C. Sabathia - Crooked
For the B-I-G-P-O-P-P-A, this
one is pretty obvious.
Jake Westbrook - USS
As in, a submarine named after
Jake. Westbrook throws a mean sinker…get it? Maybe they
can play the old, “Dive, Dive, Dive” or a clip from Red October
or Crimson Tide when Westbrook needs a DP grounder to get out
of an inning.
Jeremy Sowers - Whiskey
Since he barely looks old enough
to drink, Jeremy needs a nickname that toughens up his persona a little
bit. The oft used “Sweet and Sowers” certainly doesn't do
that. Giving him a nickname straight out of Deadwood might
Paul Byrd - The Pheasant
A nice looking little Byrd
who may, after it's all said and done, end up…cooked.
Cliff Lee - Five and
If Cliff can see the 6th
or, dare I say, the 7th inning of some games this year he
can shed this moniker. Kasey Blake earned his “C” back with
a solid 2006, so it's not without precendent.
Fausto Carmona - Carmona
with a Lime
Miles Away From Ordinary.
Joe Borowski - The Big
White Russians, bowling leagues,
Donny out of his element, Nihilist with ferrets, rug urination and (hopefully)
Rafael Betancourt - Rocky
Every time Wedge refers to
Betancourt in a press conference, he says “Raffy”. What it
sounds like every time is that he's saying “Rocky”. The first
time I heard it, it took me about 5 minutes to figure out who he was
talking about. Worse yet, or maybe better - Hammy's picked it
Roberto Hernandez - Uncle
He's the guy on this pitching
staff the youngsters can approach with a question they don't want to
take to the authority figures. Just like an uncle close in age,
he can impart wisdom that parents (Wedgie and Willis) cannot.
Fernando Cabrera - El
“The Bull” needs to stop
whiffing at the red cape when given the chase and start whiffing some
Jason Davis - Jason Dangerously
Watching JD blow up year after
year, is 2007 another Year of Living Dangerously? Or can
JD harness his blazing fastball to translate to lasting success.
If he can't, the Taxidermist may find himself out of his natural habitat.
Tom Mastny - Nasty Boy
While The Indonesian is more
obvious (Mastny was born in Borneo), I like Nasty Boy Tom Mastny.
Not in the Rob Dibble, Randy Myers, Norm Charlton sense - more in the
Nasty Boy Knobbs sense or even the Janet Jackson sense of the term.
How about a little screen shot to accompany his trot to the mound.
“The name's Tom…Mr. Mastny if you're nasty”.
For those just below the ML
level, they only receive nicknames - no explanations.
Adam Miller - Atom Miller
Ben Francisco - The Frisco
Franklin Gutierrez -
Frank the Tank
This Indians team has started
to endear itself to the city and its fans. As 2007 progresses,
the players should continue to grow on the fans. Feel free to
use any of these names when visiting the Jake this year or cozying up
with SuperSizemore at the South Side in Tremont.
The 2007 Season is upon us
- let's get it on!