Red Sox lack creativity with Players’ Weekend nicknames
By Sean Penney
The Boston Red Sox revealed the list of nicknames they will wear on their jerseys for the upcoming Players’ Weekend but the choices are underwhelming.
Major League Baseball has a problem with marketing their players. While other sports have charismatic superstars drawing attention to their game, baseball has struggled to find a face with a larger than life personality that appeals to a nationwide audience. Even when the league gives them an opportunity to express themselves, too many players drop the ball. The Boston Red Sox are no exception.
The team announced the nicknames that will be displayed on the backs of jerseys during Players’ Weekend, which takes place between August 23-25. Unfortunately, the list shows an underwhelming amount of creativity.
Rick Porcello, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor didn’t even bother to participate, using their last name as if this were any regular series.
Porcello is the biggest letdown of the group. He could have gone with “Pretty Ricky” or “Ricky Raindrops.” Instead, he went with a choice that’s almost as disappointing as his results on the mound this season.
These boring nicknames are made up of their initials or shortened versions of their name. Referring to Jackie Bradley Jr. as “JBJ” has become commonplace while Brandon Workman and Andrew Cashner might be called “Work” and “Cash” in the clubhouse. It’s still not very creative. I doubt anyone calls Brian Johnson “BJ” (at least not to his face). Ryan Weber dropped the last two letters from his name. Matt Barnes tweaked the end of his last name and slipped a Y in at the end. Does that count as effort?
Benny is a solid nickname for Andrew Benintendi but it would have been better if he added to it with “Benny Biceps” or “Benny Baseball.”
I’m not quite sure what to make of “Waldo.” On the surface, it seems Marcus Walden made a simple adjustment to this last name but is there more meaning to it? Is it a “Where’s Waldo” reference? Walden should be asking where the bullpen help was at the trade deadline.
Brock Holt let us down the most by simply using “BH.” What happened to the Brockstar? Or Brocktober? He has so many possibilities yet settled for his initials.
Don’t mess with a great nickname
Markus Lynn Betts already has one of the game’s best nicknames. It’s hardly original but he can be excused for going by Mookie.
No. 1 Dad
The sentimentality award can be shared between Sandy Leon and David Price. “Noah” is the name of Leon’s son. Price will wear the letter X in reference to his son Xavier, which was also the reason why he switched his jersey number to 10 (X is the Roman Numeral for 10).
At least they tried
X-Man isn’t very creative considering Xander Bogaerts simply took the first letter of his name and put the word “Man” behind it. He gets a pass though because it makes him sound like a comic book hero.
A few guys have nicknames that probably make more sense to them than they do to us. “Flaco” means skinny, which certainly doesn’t describe a slugger like J.D. Martinez, but it’s a nickname he’s used for years. I would have preferred “Just Dingers.” Colo is a nickname Christian Vazquez had growing up in Puerto Rico and he includes it in his Instagram handle (@1990Colo). Someone, please ask Eduardo Rodriguez what “El Gualo” means.
“Chief” is a fine nickname for Michael Chavis but we all know he should have gone with the “Ice Horse.”
Mitch Moreland hasn’t been cranking out doubles at the same pace as last season but you can’t pass on a nickname like “Two-Bags.”
Can a guy who averages a tick over 94 mph with his fastball claim the nickname “Heater” or should that be reserved for those who can light up a radar gun with upper-90’s velocity? The nickname is fire even if Heath Hembree isn’t who you expect to be using it.
Chris Sale calls himself “The Conductor” because he punches tickets. Dustin Pedroia suggested that nickname a couple of years ago and the lefty is sticking with it. Sale is having the worst season of his career but he’s still racking up plenty of strikeouts so the name fits.
These guys get it
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“Carita” means babyface, a nickname fitting for Rafael Devers since he looks like he’s 14 years old. Sure, it would have been fun to see him pick “Raffy Big Scoops” but Devers went with a name that accurately describes him and pays homage to his Dominican heritage.
Nathan Eovaldi‘s fastball can reach triple digits so the “Nitro” nickname suits him even if we’ve rarely been able to see him throw that heat this year.
The award for the best nickname on the team goes to Sam Travis. Does it get any cooler than “Dr. Chill?” It’s smooth with just a hint of cocky.
So, there you have it. A trio of gold stars plus a few more who warrant credit for creativity. Beyond that, the rest of the team showed no interest in expressing themselves. We didn’t notice the lack of charisma in the clubhouse when the Red Sox were steamrolling the competition last season but it stands out now when the club is struggling.
This was an opportunity for players to have some fun while showing fans a glimpse of their personalities yet too many Red Sox players shrugged it off as if they didn’t care. With the season spiraling down the drain, that’s a troubling theme. Too many players who look like they don’t care.