Major League Baseball is having a Players Weekend, which is like a Players Ball, but with different hats and jerseys instead of the other stuff. One of the quirks of this Players Weekend is that players can choose to have a nickname on the back of their jersey.
I guess he didn’t like my suggestion of “Joe Pa.”
Anyway, some players did choose to have nicknames, and it’s our duty to evaluate them. Who chose the best ones?
First, the N/As. Joe Panik, Brandon Belt, Josh Osich, Cory Gearrin, and Conor Gillaspie declined to have nicknames. On one hand, that’s smart, because it keeps wiseasses like me from making fun of them. On the other hand, come on, have a little fun.
That leaves 22 for us to rank.
22. Buster Posey
I would have been thrilled with “Gerald.” As is, that’s like Jeff Samardzija putting “Jeff” on the back of his. It’s actually worth negative creativity points to use a nickname that you’ve already adopted as your first name.
21. Brandon Crawford
I guess I shouldn’t have expected “Sex Wizard” or “He Hate Me,” but B-Craw just doesn’t pop for me.
20. (tie) Every player who just used whatever Bruce Bochy calls them
Look, to each his own, and I get that some players are less comfortable with others about expressing their individuality. Not everyone wants to wear their personality on the back of their jersey! Totally understandable.
But these jerseys are a way of participating while announcing, “Look, this isn’t our idea” at the same time.
13. George Kontos
Huh. I wonder if he was at San Jose State the same time I was.
12. Denard Span
It’s a harmless variation of his own name. It’s fine. But something to do with birds would have been even better.
11. Johnny Cueto
I’m not fluent in Spanish, but
10. (tie) Players who already had nicknames
It’s really cool to have a nickname until you get a chance to give yourself one and you can’t, dang it. These players had no choice.
7. Sam Dyson
A fine choice for a red-haired fellow. I’m guessing he went with the Spanish variation because some of his teammates actually call him that, so it gets extra bonus points.
6. Hunter Pence
Loses points because I had to google it. Loses more points because I think it means “Hunters” not “Hunter.”
Gains points because it looks cool on a jersey. Still thought he would have gone with an obscure gaming or fantasy reference. “STARK’S BASTARD” would have had a ring to it.
5. Madison Bumgarner
The hyphen makes me want to rank it 30, though, and I might come back and do just that.
4. Gorkys Hernandez
This translates to “hunter,” which ... wait a second.
But it ranks this high because “cazador” is a bad-ass word. It has a Z in it!
3. Ty Blach
I don’t know what this means. I’ve googled for more information and haven’t found anything substantial. But I am here for this nickname. It should stick. Praise be to Blach.
2. Mark Melancon
At first, I had this dead last. The Giants already have a Stretch, new guy.
And then I remembered.
But Melancon, sources say, rubbed some teammates the wrong way early in the season by putting an end to the bullpen’s 3:30 p.m. stretching session before night games, a practice that the relievers began in 2012.
Shaaaaaaade. This uniform is full of shade. This is just about the best possible use of a silly weekend like this.
Also, I’d reckon his teammates didn’t really care about the stretching thing, or else he wouldn’t have rubbed it in their noses like this.
Also, also, Melancon has freaky-long arms. Notice it the next time he pitches. It’s weird. Stretch it is.
1. Austin Slater
While I would have gone for the Dazed and Confused reference, I’m very much into the Saved by the Bell reference. Austin Slater is something of a hero.
You can buy all of these jerseys on MLB.com, including the George Kontos one, and hey, where did everyone go?
I guess now that everyone is gone, the bottom of the article is a good place to mention that these jerseys are absolutely hideous. I mean, holy jeez, they’re so bad. But if you have an extra $199.99, well, it’s not going to spend itself.