It’s 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’ 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’s in the boring camp. Admittedly, most of these guys probably don’t 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’re wrong):
Okay, let's do this. Dereck Rodríguez's official nickname is... (you can suggest alternates as well)— McCovey Chronicles (@McCoveyChron) August 8, 2018
And while I’m aware that Buster is technically Buster Posey’s 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.
THE PROBABLY BORING BUT THERE’S A SLIGHT CHANCE IT’S SOME WEIRD INSIDE JOKE THAT WE AREN’T PRIVY TO
Andrew Suárez: ANDY
When Suárez 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’t actually prefer to be called Andy, but he was being forced into it. So there’s a chance that this is a funny nod to something in the clubhouse that we, as fans, don’t appreciate.
There is a much greater chance that it’s just boring.
THE TOTALLY FINE BECAUSE THIS PLAYER HAS A PRE-EXISTING NICKNAME
Madison Bumgarner: MAD-BUM
Jeff Samardzija: SHARK
Pablo Sandoval: PANDA
I mean, sure, if it’s already there, you might as well.
The reason MAD-BUM gets this category instead of the first one isn’t that Madison Bumgarner has had such a storied career with the Giants that he deserves it. The reason isn’t even that this isn’t the nickname anyone in the clubhouse uses; they all call him “Bum.” The reason is that it conjures the image of an angry hobo, which is funny.
THE I DON’T 100% UNDERSTAND THESE BUT THEY SEEM PRETTY COOL
Brandon Belt: BOB
Sam Dyson: PSSST
If you want to know about Belt using BOB, well, we have an article, a video and a tweet for you. Here’s the article (which contains the video, but we’ll embed it here too). Here’s the video:
And here’s the tweet:
So sorry, Twin Peaks superfans, but it’s probably not a reference.
Is Sam Dyson’s nickname a nod to his world famous cat Snuckles? I have no idea, and I don’t think I want to know. There is beauty in the mystery.
Ty Blach: THE PREACHER
Chase d’Arnaud: CHEETAH
Andrew McCutchen: ZOOM
“The Preacher” is a nickname coined by River Cats announcer Johnny Doskow. Blach is very religious — when he signs for fans, he always writes in Matthew 6:33 just under his name — so it fits him pretty well. d’Arnaud and McCutchen both chose nicknames relating to speed; d’Arnaud because he feels that his speed and athleticism have kept him in baseball, and McCutchen because, well, have you watched him? Dude zooms.
THE DON’T YOU DARE DISRESPECT A MAN FOR HONORING A BELOVED FAMILY MEMBER ONCE HE WAS DISALLOWED FROM MAKING A REFERENCE TO SAVED BY THE BELL
Austin Slater: MAYOR
First, some background:
Austin Slater wanted “A.C.” 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 “Mayor” now. #truestory— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) August 9, 2018
So what do you do when the sinister forces of Principal Belding’s 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’s 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.
THE MAYBE I WOULD THINK THESE WERE ONLY OKAY OR POSSIBLY EVEN WORSE IF THEY WERE IN ENGLISH BUT THEY’RE IN SPANISH SO THEY SEEM VERY COOL TO ME
Johnny Cueto: EL JUCHO
Julian Fernandez: BILLETE
Alen Hanson: EL CHAMAQUITO
Gorkys Hernandez: CAZADOR
Reyes Moronta: EL TIBU
Cazador means hunter. We already have two Hunters on the team! We don’t need another one! But it’s very cool in Spanish.
“El chamaquito” means “The kid” or “The kiddo” (according to the MCC article from when these nicknames were announced). That’s Ken Griffey Jr.’s nickname! He’s a Hall of Famer. You can’t just take that...unless it’s in Spanish, and then it’s fantastic.
El jucho means “the juice.” That’s OJ Simpson’s nickname! You don’t want to remind people of OJ Simpson. That’s a terrible idea. He is the worst possible athlete to remind people of! Still, totally works. Because it’s 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.
THE PRETTY COOL ONE FROM ANOTHER GUY WHO THROWS 100 MPH WHO IS NOT CURRENTLY ON THE ROSTER
Ray Black: BLACKOUT
Aw hell yeah.
THE EXTREMELY GOOD
Brandon Crawford: DJ BC RAW
Derek Holland: LAST NAME
Hunter Pence: UNDERPANTS
Tony Watson: TONE RANGER
Crawford is the clubhouse DJ, and “B-CRAW,” his nickname last year, is easily adapted to “BC RAW,” but it’s still the right mix of fun, familiar, and dorky. Holland has, of course, recently gotten deservedly raked over the coals for an MLB Network “comedy bit” 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’s name sounds like when you say it really fast, and while it’s long been a meme around these parts, it’s 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’s 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 “Not Justin” Bieber? Sure, but let’s instead focus on what we do have: a last name and some underpants.