It‚Äôs Players Weekend around baseball starting today, and that means new uniforms! It also means nicknames on the uniforms, which means that we get to go through all the nicknames (even the guys who are injured or in the minors, because hey, why not?) and put them into categories. And the first category is…
Steven Duggar: DUGG
Nick Hundley: HUNDO
Pierce Johnson: P.J.
Derek Law: D-LAW
Evan Longoria: LONGO
Mark Melancon: MEL
Joe Panik: J.P.
Buster Posey: BUSTER
Dereck Rodriguez: D-ROD
Will Smith: SMITTY
Hunter Strickland: STRICK
These are all obvious derivations of the players‚Äô names, and are not especially interesting. Last year, Melancon went with STRETCH, which was a solid joke about the furor over someone in the bullpen complaining about new stretching times, but this year he‚Äôs in the boring camp. Admittedly, most of these guys probably don‚Äôt have cool nicknames, though this site had some better ideas for Dereck Rodriguez, at least (ignore the 54% of plebeians who prefer D-Rod as a nickname. They‚Äôre wrong):
Okay, let’s do this. Dereck Rodr√≠guez’s official nickname is… (you can suggest alternates as well)
‚ÄĒ McCovey Chronicles (@McCoveyChron) August 8, 2018
And while I‚Äôm aware that Buster is technically Buster Posey‚Äôs nickname, since we all think of it as his name, he goes here. Also, I maintain that it would be extremely funny if he went with GERALD on his jersey. Or, in honor of that Esurance commercial from a couple years back, OBSTETRICS EXPERT.
Andrew Su√°rez: ANDY
When Su√°rez got called up, and at first his name was Andrew, which is what people have been calling him since the day he was drafted. But then the announcers started calling him Andy, and there was this weird wink-wink tone, like he didn‚Äôt actually prefer to be called Andy, but he was being forced into it. So there‚Äôs a chance that this is a funny nod to something in the clubhouse that we, as fans, don‚Äôt appreciate.
There is a much greater chance that it‚Äôs just boring.
I mean, sure, if it‚Äôs already there, you might as well.
The reason MAD-BUM gets this category instead of the first one isn‚Äôt that Madison Bumgarner has had such a storied career with the Giants that he deserves it. The reason isn‚Äôt even that this isn‚Äôt the nickname anyone in the clubhouse uses; they all call him ‚ÄúBum.‚ÄĚ The reason is that it conjures the image of an angry hobo, which is funny.
And here‚Äôs the tweet:
So sorry, Twin Peaks superfans, but it‚Äôs probably not a reference.
‚ÄúThe Preacher‚ÄĚ is a nickname coined by River Cats announcer Johnny Doskow. Blach is very religious ‚ÄĒ when he signs for fans, he always writes in Matthew 6:33 just under his name ‚ÄĒ so it fits him pretty well. d‚ÄôArnaud and McCutchen both chose nicknames relating to speed; d‚ÄôArnaud because he feels that his speed and athleticism have kept him in baseball, and McCutchen because, well, have you watched him? Dude zooms.
Austin Slater: MAYOR
First, some background:
Austin Slater wanted ‚ÄúA.C.‚ÄĚ as his Players Weekend jersey nickname. That was his name last year; MLB made him get copyright permission from NBC. Then he missed the weekend while on DL. He found out recently the permission does not auto-renew. Thus, he is ‚ÄúMayor‚ÄĚ now. #truestory
‚ÄĒ Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) August 9, 2018
So what do you do when the sinister forces of Principal Belding‚Äôs Cabal Against Fun turn their attention to you? You go a different route and honor your grandfather, who was the Mayor of Jacksonville, Florida. According to MLB.com:
The name [Mayor] stuck when teammates learned Slater was related to Ed Austin, who was the mayor of Jacksonville, Fla., from 1991-1995. Austin was Slater‚Äôs maternal grandfather
Wow, what a feel good story. And it only happened because the authorities denied our protagonist what he wanted, sending him on a journey to get what he needed. Looks like I owe Principal Richard Belding an apology.
Cazador means hunter. We already have two Hunters on the team! We don‚Äôt need another one! But it‚Äôs very cool in Spanish.
‚ÄúEl chamaquito‚ÄĚ means ‚ÄúThe kid‚ÄĚ or ‚ÄúThe kiddo‚ÄĚ (according to the MCC article from when these nicknames were announced). That‚Äôs Ken Griffey Jr.‚Äôs nickname! He‚Äôs a Hall of Famer. You can‚Äôt just take that…unless it‚Äôs in Spanish, and then it‚Äôs fantastic.
El jucho means ‚Äúthe juice.‚ÄĚ That‚Äôs OJ Simpson‚Äôs nickname! You don‚Äôt want to remind people of OJ Simpson. That‚Äôs a terrible idea. He is the worst possible athlete to remind people of! Still, totally works. Because it‚Äôs in Spanish.
Billete means ticket, which is admittedly a pretty cool one coming from a guy who throws 100 MPH. It would be fun to have him on the roster.
Ray Black: BLACKOUT
Aw hell yeah.
Crawford is the clubhouse DJ, and ‚ÄúB-CRAW,‚ÄĚ his nickname last year, is easily adapted to ‚ÄúBC RAW,‚ÄĚ but it‚Äôs still the right mix of fun, familiar, and dorky. Holland has, of course, recently gotten deservedly raked over the coals for an MLB Network ‚Äúcomedy bit‚ÄĚ he did with team trainer Haro Ogawa that was mostly a series of ugly racial stereotypes, but LAST NAME is a fantastic shout out to ESPN making a tiny mistake in a game he pitched this year.
Underpants, which is what Hunter Pence‚Äôs name sounds like when you say it really fast, and while it‚Äôs long been a meme around these parts, it‚Äôs fantastic to see it go national. And Tone Ranger is a bit of a surprise, considering that Tony Watson has never been interested in showing a goofy personality off to the public, but here he is, doing something fun and cool.
This concludes the overview of Giants nicknames for Players Weekend. Apologies to Chris Stratton and Casey Kelly, who were not included in the original list (somewhat bizarrely in Stratton‚Äôs case, considering he was on the 40 man at the time and had spent most of the year in the majors), and whose names we could not evaluate. Would it be cool to have a guy using two emojis like Brad Boxberger or a stone cold classic like Shane ‚ÄúNot Justin‚ÄĚ Bieber? Sure, but let‚Äôs instead focus on what we do have: a last name and some underpants.