The last great baseball nickname? (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
There is a problem. It has existed for a while. Part of me wants to blame Alex Rodriguez, but it's not really his fault. Maybe it's more fair to blame his ancestors, most specifically the first ones to name their son Rodrigo. But really, the blame lies with us. And by us, I mean both the media and and the fans. For the most part, baseball nicknames are horribly lazy abominations. "Oh, his name is Alex Rodriguez? We shall call him A-Rod. We shall continue this overall execrable practice with other talented hitters. Hanley Ramirez? Ha! More like Han-Ram. Manny Ramirez? Man-Ram (which actually kind of makes me giggle. His nickname is like the lamest Master of the Universe ever)".
Those nicknames are horrible. Recently my classmates have decided to give me the moniker "Primi". Their Kansas accents tend to contort it into sounding like I was a baby born too soon (I was not. I stayed in late). I always wanted a nickname, but now I know how Evan Longoria feels. Shortening your last name sucks. Whatever happened to the days of Death to Flying Things or Old Aches and Pains (You're starting to sound like Andy Rooney. Stop sounding like Andy Rooney)?Maybe it was Chris Berman and his god awful puns and need to be clever that killed things. Maybe it has something to do with journalism tending to be less colorful, like Jim pointed out while researching his Cooperstown papers. Maybe things weren't that great all along. Stan "The Man" Musial? Pretty lame nickname for such a great hitter. Maybe we're trying too hard. We each try to be the next one to come up with the next great player nickname (Slash for Alexei Ramirez is still the worst one ever suggested). Even Hawk has grown lazy. We used to have a world populated with Big Hurts, El Caballos, and Deacons. We now live with a Jake-Meister.
I'm enjoying the unintentionally hilarious ones, joyfully caused by language barriers and confusion. Jose Valverde is a big potato (Papa Grande). Ben Zobrist is a skunk (Zorilla). My train of thought appears to be lost in my pathology notes. I will not call Dustin Pedroia "The Laser Show". I hate him. I will however continue to call Jacoby Ellsbury "Tacoby Ellsbury", because it is hilarious and not racist even though it totally sounds like it should be.
Expansion! That has to be it! Everyone had nicknames back in the olden days. Then we added too many teams at the cost of our nickname souls. The Devil gave us Tropicana Field and Coors Field, but at what cost? The World Series may end tonight. Winter is coming. This is what I wrote about. Odin help us all.
Yes, this is for you JR. Enjoy it.