Saturday, April 13, 2013

He who shall remain [nick]nameless

Maybe it's just me.  Plenty of the things I write about here are, and maybe it's just because of all the youth coming up to the major-league level in such a short span that has taken things over the top.  But, for the love of "Pete (Kozmania, Koztastic, Wizard of Koz, Kozmo, Kozzy Kozbourne, Koz of death, Kozts too much, Koz I said so) Kozma", can we PLEASE, PLEASE lay off the infatuation with every single player having to have a clever nickname?

Please?  I'm begging you.  I'll give you a dollar.

See, when Uncle Walt was at the helm, he had an affinity for the veteran guys.  Woody Williams, Eric Davis (you might have forgotten he played in St. Louis), Larry Walker, Will Clark...etc.  Don't get me wrong, it was great seeing those guys in a Cards uni, and their contributions here won't soon be forgotten.  (and I know, "The thrill" was a nickname)  The advantage to bringing over a veteran guy is that, if he's going to have a nickname, he's probably already got it by now.  Cardinal nation on the whole need not scramble (not "scrabble") to come up with some clever something-or-other that everyone starts using all the time.  But, then Walt left.

The reason we didn't see a rush of newbies and their sure-to-follow horrible nicknames was because, even though Mo wasn't quite as keen on old blood as his former boss, he has dabbled here & there (you hadn't already forgotten about Smoltz, have you?).  Overall, the Cards current GM is a bit more favorable when it comes to younger guys than his predecessor.  The manager is the reason we didn't generally see a lot of opportunity to butcher & contort some kid's name into a not-actually-funny nickname that doesn't fit.  It's no secret, TLR liked his established players, and his veterans--some would (figuratively) say he "hated the kids".  It's awful that I truly felt it necessary to insert "figuratively" into that last sentence.  Some people.

But now, all of that has changed.  Now we've got Mo (er, John Mozeliak, that is) & Matheny running the show, and younger players can be found all over the diamond at Busch Stadium.

Some of the nicknames, however lame they may be, are at least somewhat recognizable as to why that nickname might 've been chosen for that player.  I think of "Applesauce" for Jason Motte.  Are you kidding me?  "Applesauce"?  ...for a CLOSER?  ...who throws 100mph??  Why not just play the theme song from Care Bears when he comes in from the bullpen?  What batter is EVER going to be rattled/thrown off their game in fear from some dude who is supposedly a badass, but his nickname is Applesauce?  Nobody, that's who.

Ever seen Mariano come in, and hear "Enter Sandman" over the loudspeakers?  Ever seen Trevor Hoffman come in, and hear "Hells Bells" booming throughout the stadium?  I have.  It's a little bit different than encountering some applesauce.

I get the um, "connection": Jason Motte - Mott's Applesauce - Applesauce.  But a 4oz snack cup that your 4 year-old takes to daycare for their snack before they go lay down on their little cot for a nappy-poo isn't exactly intimidating.  As a matter of fact, just sitting here typing this, I'm gaining confidence that I could take a guy deep if his nickname is "applesauce", and could probably hit .360, .370 off him.  I would friggin' OWN "applesauce".  And I'm 5'3" on a good day.  Dude.  It's the opposite of intimidating.  You see, no one would fear the 'dread pirate applesauce', so there should be (have been) a better nickname for him (that is, if he MUST have one) this whole time.

Almost as bad?  Allen Craig - Allen Wrench - "The wrench".   You ever watch GSN?  Game Show Network?  Chuck Woolery used to host this show were you had to connect two completely unrelated words with 4 or 5 other words that were related to the other words, until you "complete the chain", and connect the two original words.  I'm not explaining it very well, but it's a lot like 6 degrees of Bacon.    Mmmmmmm, bacon.

Anyway, It's almost as if it's a race to see who can be the first to come up with a nickname that sticks, so they can point to the timestamp on their tweet at some point in the future, and claim all the glory for having come up with it.  You know, all that glory everybody always gives for coming up with nicknames?  Nevermind that it gets buried among the other suggestions they also threw out there (or worse, acted like everyone should already know about) when they tweeted/posted/said/texted (yes, I say "texted", not "text") to their friends.  The result?  An awful lot of horrible, horrible nicknames that, occasionally sick stick.

All the good nicknames are gone, anyway.  Every now & then a good one comes around, but when it does, it's natural, not forced.  Back in the day, dudes earned their nickname because of a way they went about the game, or a memorable play they were involved in.  Maybe a broadcaster came up with something on the spot.  Or maybe, a crowd at Ebbets Field was so overcome by one's ability to hit, they provided the greatest nickname in the history of baseball nicknames.  But THAT'S how nicknames should be born, not by an online social media frenzy.

Just to be clear, I'm not talking about names like "Waino" or "Yadi", I'm talking about manufactured nicknames, where fans take a square nickname and try to fit it into a round player.  Um, figuratively, of course.  #Awkward

"Scrabble?"  Ok, whatever.  I get it.
"Wizard of Koz"?  No.  Just, no.
"The Wrench"?
"Wolf Pup"?
"Disco Dirty Danny Double D"?
"Big City Mayonnaise" or whatever it is?  What in the eff is going ON here?!?

So, please stop trying to force nicknames on every player that pops out of that dugout.

That concludes my rant on nicknames.  Thank you for reading, have a nice weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment