Happy Players Weekend! In case you have had your head buried under a rock for the past month (I hear that’s very popular, actually, and spas in the Southwest are charging hundreds of dollars a day for their Reikki Silence Wrap, which involves being led into a dark room far away from Twitter and just left there with a towel on your head), this weekend is Players Weekend. And yes, it should be Players’ Weekend, because the weekend belongs to them, but apparently as part of MLB’s youth movement we are eschewing proper grammatical conventions, to which I give a robust HMPH. I can’t get too mad at MLB mucky-mucks, though, who, after years of acting like the town elders in Footloose, seem to be embracing the idea that letting players have fun is a good way to grow the game. Next thing you know they’ll be letting fans make gifs! (Which they will probably also monetize, somehow, into Fans’ Weekend, where fans are allowed to vote on nicknames for players and some poor fellow, probably Scooter Gennett although I have no evidence for that claim, has to go around wearing Scooty McScootface.)
Anyway, we at LL thought we’d get in on the fun, as well, so with the help of graphics wizard Tee, I would like to present the Lookout Landing Bloggers Weekend nicknames:
Please note that I came up with all of these myself, because nicknames are given to you, earned not self-applied Taylor Motter, so if any of them strike you as very dumb, well, they probably are.
Cut 4 did a piece where they broke down all the varieties of nicknames, although I wish they had shown their work more, because if Taylor’s “La Pesadilla” didn’t make it into the “Only you call yourself that” category, I demand a recount. The vast majority of players, unsurprisingly, fall into the “Classic” or “Classic Lite” category, meaning they either just went with their last names or something very close to it. This is unsurprising because baseball players are about as creative as those stones you pour in the bottom of a fish tank. Cut 4 breaks out the “Y” category (Goldy, Benny) as a separate group, although I think it probably belongs more in the “Classic Lite” category. How hard is it to stick a Y on something? Same with their category “Initial Offering,” where it’s a player just going by a letter (“X” for Xander Bogaerts, or what should have been Zunino’s, “Z,” and I don’t buy your explanation that you missed the deadline for one second, Mike) and the Lone Hyphen, which isn’t Ryan Rowland-Smith’s acoustic solo album but rather a grouping for the least creative style of nicknaming, to my mind: your K-Rods and V-Marts and what have you. I think that brand of nicknaming infuriates me the most because it’s so lazy and yet just unique enough that it seems to stick forever.
I think, with maybe the exception of Ethan’s (sorry, Vakster, but Prince of Legotown wouldn’t fit), I have mostly avoided the pitfalls of the entirely name-based nickname. Next up is getting the staff members some swag to match their nicknames:
- Cuban flag-patterned wristbands for Isabelle
- a matching baby Snugli for Eric to tote baby Vic around in, and a matching leash for Dug the Dog for Tee
- Yale Blue cleats for Grant
- a Sorting Hat for Jake to use to determine which member of our sad rotation he’s going to write about this week
- LL-branded pitch pipe for Anders
- Hammer and sickle cleats for Matt
So it turns out, nicknames are really fun, and giving nicknames to people you care about and want to gently tease is even more fun. As commenters, a lot of you use some varieties of nicknames anyway, but I encourage you to come up with nicknames for each other (NICE ones) nonetheless. I wrote a little bit about naming and nicknaming a while ago, and I’ve been thinking about this as we go into Players Weekend, on who gives you nicknames and why they matter:
Nicknaming something is saying: I recognize and celebrate this thing about you, and care enough to give you this sobriquet (from the Middle French, meaning “to chuck someone under the chin”). There’s an intimacy in nicknaming that has to be earned.
On Players Weekend, some nicknames will be taken (“Only You Call Yourself That”), but the majority will be earned, from hours spent on planes and buses, in group texts and on practice fields. And while it’s not a nickname, what Jean Segura will be wearing on his tribute patch to me symbolizes what this whole weekend is about, celebrating the family of baseball:
Tribute patch: Robinson Cano
Segura said he wants to honor his teammate Cano, because Cano helped him become a better baseball player and got him more focused and on track when he needed it the most. They have worked out together, and Cano has given Segura advice on life, which has been a huge help to Segura.
Segura has repeatedly called Canó an “angel” for the help he has given him. We are so lucky to be able to see these two men share a baseball field. And I am lucky to get to show up here every day and be part of this community and type words for all of you and do it with such a special crew of people. Happy Players Weekend, to all of us.