During the weekend of the 25th-27th, every player in Major League Baseball gets to choose what is displayed on the backs of their jerseys. Just the other day, these names were revealed:
There were a couple of others that weren’t included in the above picture. Yonder Alonso is “Mr. 305” and Taylor Motter will be called “La Pesadilla,” per Forbes. David Phelps is also choosing not to have a name on his jersey at all, which obviously I cannot rank. So let’s get to the ones we can rank.
Come On, Guys
20. Don’t You Know (Robinson Canó)
This one may be a surprise to many of you, but hear me out: Canó had a slam dunk choice: “Robbie.” Or “Robbie Canó.” Even “RC22” would have been fine. Instead, Canó chose to pay homage to his days with the Yankees when New York broadcaster John Sterling would exclaim “Robbie Canó! Don’tcha know!” during big plays.
Some nicknames travel with players from team to team. Boomstick and Chooch are both examples of that. But nobody in Seattle ever says “Don’tcha know” with reference to Robbie.
It’s also just kind of rotten timing. People have been mad for weeks about the media referring to Canó as “ex-Yankee Robinson Canó.” Now Robbie reminds us that he was in fact formerly in pinstripes. Thanks for that.
19. Zunino (Mike Zunino)
Pretty self explanatory. Zunino has been with the team since 2013. There were some options out there for him: “Z” or “Zuni” are the ones that immediately come to mind. I find it hard to believe nobody has ever called him something outside of “Zunino” in the clubhouse.
18. Gamel (Ben Gamel)
I’ll cut Gamel a little bit of slack here. He’s young and hasn’t been with the team for very long. There aren’t a whole lot of options for him and from what I hear, he tried to think of something and just drew a blank. Still, it’s a wasted opportunity.
Keepin’ it Simple
17. T.A.Z (Tony Zych)
This must be either one of those clubhouse inside jokes or just something he decided to come up with. It’s just Zych’s initials. Not super creative, but he did something!
16. Yo (Yovani Gallardo)
15. Zep (Marc Rzepczynski)
Since he doesn’t like to go by “Scrabble,” this is a fairly obvious choice. Rzepczynski is a mouthful and basically begs for a nickname. A solid choice.
Creative But Confusing
14. Hubba Hubba (Nick Vincent)
Do I want to know?
13. Papa Paz (James Pazos)
This one is actually kind of funny.
12. Mr. 305 (Yonder Alonso)
This must be driving Ryan Divish up a wall. The Cuban rapper and and Miami-native Pitbull calls himself “Mr. 305.” After Alonso came over from Cuba, he spent the remainder of his childhood in the Miami area. That’s where “305” is the area code. Still, I’ve never heard of Alonso going by this title.
11. La Pesadilla (Taylor Motter)
For those of you wondering, “La Pesadilla” translates to “The Nightmare.” I’m sure it’s a clubhouse inside joke. I think we should adopt it too because it’s pretty badass. Yet another reason to like Motter outside of his hair and his dog.
10. Kuma (Hisashi Iwakuma)
Short, sweet, and to the point. This got higher marks than the other players who chose name shortenings because “Kuma” is something we’ve all been using for a while now. Still, he had more creative options available like “Bear” or “Rock Bear” so I can’t give him total credit for Kuma.
9. El Mambo (Jean Segura)
Apparently Segura has been using this nickname for a while. It’s even in his Instagram handle. A “mambo” is a type of Cuban dance. I assume “Lean Jean the Hitting Machine” didn’t fit on a jersey, so this was probably his best option.
8. El Conde (Guillermo Heredia)
I actually learned about this nickname through the video game OOTP 18 early this season. It translates to “The Count.” That can be interpreted as him being a dude who takes a lot of pitches in his at-bats or as him being a vampire from a children’s show. We’ve already made an image that suits him.
7. Zoombiya (Jarrod Dyson)
This is a play off Dyon’s Twitter handle, @MrZoombiya. Get it? Because he “zooms by ya.” That’s what speed do. That would have also been an awesome thing to have on the back of his jersey. Oh well, this certainly suffices. I’m not sure if anyone actually calls him that in person. It might just be a self-promotion of his social media accounts. Either way, I think it’s pretty cool.
6. Chooch (Carlos Ruiz)
What else was Ruiz going to pick? He’s been known as “Chooch” since the dawn of time. And unlike with Canó, this is a nickname that truly travels with him no matter where he goes. Apparently, the nickname originated in 2004 when teammates noticed him whispering the Panamanian swear word “Chucha” whenever he got frustrated. It was later shortened to Chooch.
5. Boomstick (Nelson Cruz)
“Boomstick, baby!” Cruz’s nickname became popular thanks to an MLB 2K10 video game commercial. It has since been adopted by our beloved Dave Sims and is a common exclamation on Twitter whenever Nellie does something cool, which seems to be all the time these days.
4. Big Maple (James Paxton)
Big Maple is a fairly new nickname. Bench coach Tim Bogar began to call him that because of his giant maple leaf tattoo on his elbow. It’s a moniker that has drifted into our hearts this season. Thanks to the emergence of the Maple Grove, Paxton has quickly become one of the more recognized names around baseball. O, Canada!
3. Sugar (Edwin Díaz)
Our beloved closer earned his nickname in high school when his travel squad decided that he resembled the main character in the baseball movie “Sugar.” The moniker has stuck with him, as its even a part of his Instagram account now. But he apparently nixed the idea of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” being his walk-out tune at Safeco. I guess you’ve got to draw the line somewhere.
2. King Felix (Félix Hernández)
“King Felix” originated when U.S.S. Mariner started referring to him that way while he was still in the minors. At the time, Felix shied away from the nickname, claiming that he wasn’t deserving of it yet. Eventually he became deserving of it and wholeheartedly embraced it.
Félix is ours and you can’t have him. Long live the king.
1. Corey’s Brother (Kyle Seager)
Pretend to be surprised that this was our winner. It was placed on every “top 10 Players’ Weekend nicknames” list around the internet. It’s the perfect blend of snark and humor. Because it’s Kyle, we all know he means it in good fun. It’s even funnier that he totally forgot to tell his brother about the joke, leaving Corey stuck with just his last name.
Kyle managed to poke fun at his family while also making his brother look like a fun-hating bore at the same time. Well done, Kyle. Well done.
So there you have it! Do you agree with the rankings, or would you have placed them differently? I think we can all say that Seager’s is the best one, but the rest is really up for debate. Either way, I know I’m going to enjoy seeing these jerseys in action in just two weeks.