You know that spring training reporting is fluff. I know you know this. You know this because you’re probably fairly smart, clearly literate at the very least, and also because it’s been mentioned right here on this very site at the front end of nearly every post since pitchers and catchers reported. At times like these, even the professionals get stumped:
Nickname day: Eaton calls Abreu "Mi Oso" and "Yogi." Beckham calls Eaton "Mr. Gremlin."
— Doug Padilla (@ESPNChiSox) February 18, 2014
So why fight it? The White Sox don’t really have much going in the way of nicknames, but there is room to grow. Let’s have a look at what we’re working with here.
The only name I’ve ever heard for Flowers that wasn’t purely derogatory is “T-Flow” and I can’t swear that it’s not derogatory as well. The first-initial / chosen-piece-of-last-name usage should probably be abandoned altogether but here we are. In lieu of Flowers, please send nickname.
Captain? King? The implied familial familiarity of “Paulie?” People use all of these. They’re incredibly simple but it’s a little late in the game to be coming up with a new handle.
Per the inspiration for this post, Adam Eaton seems to like the bear theme for Abreu going with “Mi Oso” and “Yogi”. We don’t know a whole lot about his personality or even his playing style yet but I’m hoping his early play suggests something a little less cuddly. Abreu has said that back home with his family his nickname is “pito” but I’m guessing that doesn’t stick around here.
The numerically reborn DH goes by “Big Donkey”. That is a nickname. Despite the “donkey-punch” exclamations that can be heard following Dunn bombs occasionally, the nickname comes from the big fella’s lack of speed.
Gordo is the go-to. It’s easy. It’s more shorthand than nickname, though. Gordo has insisted that “Slayer” was never his nickname in college but I like to think that it was anyway. Does he really want to be called “honey badger” or is there some other reason he’s rambling on about that regularly?
Many years ago when players of American-Indian descent played in the MLB they would automatically get the nickname “Chief.” Nobody is called that anymore, at least not for that reason, and I’m hoping the “Cuban Missile” tag that goes to any Cuban players with speed, be it of foot or of pitch velocity is gone soon too. Currently sharing the moniker with Aroldis Chapman per baseball-reference, it’s also applied by broadcast teams to many other Cuban imports. It’s doubtful Alexei will ever upgrade, though on occasion “Gumby” is referenced during Alexei’s somewhat wild dodging of pitches tailing a little too far inside.
Alejandro De Aza
I uhhh, don’t think I’ve ever heard any nickname used for De Aza. Ever.
Hawk Harrelson slapped him with “Tank” early on and it seems to have stuck. At this point it can be more aptly applied to his career trajectory than any sort of damage exacted upon the enemy but I’m really not in the mood to get into a “what are we gonna do with Dayan Viciedo” discussion today.
His boss calls him “dirtbag” and he seems to enjoy the “Spanky” tag though I’m not sure if it’s a name he’s given himself or if he picked it up along the way somewhere. I say it works.
Well “Mini-Miggy” and “Miggy Jr.” and all the others of the sort aren’t going to work. Twitter has bandied about some possibilities, Aviator being the most seen among them, but that’s not quite right either I don’t think. Another young player with a whole lot of opportunity ahead of him to earn one.
This spring is probably a good one for nicknames. With a good amount of young players that don’t have to worry about whether or not they’re going to make the team, loose chatter and ridiculousness is likely in excess. So get to it, boys. We’ll be here waiting for you on the other side of March.