By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Red Sox may not be having the most fun-filled season, but this weekend in San Diego will offer at least a bit of levity.
The Red Sox, just like the rest of Major League Baseball, will be partaking in Players’ Weekend, a three-day stretch that allows players to wear custom cleats, equipment, and jerseys. The highlight, of course, is the nickname on the players’ jersey nameplates instead of the standard last name.
While having nicknames isn’t normally a competition, there’s nothing else going on in the world. So here we go.
We’re ranking ’em.
TIER THREE: LAME
Matt Barnes: Barnesy
Andrew Benintendi: Benny
Mookie Betts: Mookie
Jackie Bradley Jr.: JBJ
Andrew Cashner: Cash
Darwinzon Hernandez: Hernandez
Brock Holt: BH
Brian Johnson: BJ
Steve Pearce: Pearce
Rick Porcello: Porcello
Josh Taylor: Taylor
Marcus Walden: Waldo
Ryan Weber: Web
Brandon Workman: Work
These guys are all tied for last place. Just atrocious originality on display here. Especially from Pearce, Porcello, Taylor and Hernandez. (Unless their choice of nickname was a middle finger to the entire process. If that’s the case, then I have no choice but to respect the message.)
TIER 2.5: EXEMPT
Sandy Leon: Noah
David Price: X
Occasional battery mates David Price and Sandy Leon will be wearing the names (or first initial) of their sons. I’m not going to sit here and say something bad about that. I’m not a psychopath.
That doesn’t make it a cool nickname though, so they’re exempt from this exercise.
(Sale was “Slim Dunkin” last year. Slim Dunkin might be the best nickname in the history nicknames, even if I don’t at all understand what it means. Bring back Slim Dunkin.)
TIER TWO: A FOR EFFORT
Xander Bogaerts: X-Man
Michael Chavis: Chief
J.D. Martinez: Flaco
Chris Sale: The Conductor
X-Man kind of sounds like the choice of an 8-year-old. Chief — while honoring Chavis’ heritage, which is cool — is a nickname that should probably be earned, rather than self-applied by a rookie. “Flaco” means skinny, which Martinez explained was what a former coach used to call him. Nice back story; not a great nickname. And Sale is the conductor because he gets a lot of punchouts, and I guess train conductors punch tickets? Like Sale himself, that is a stretch.
TIER 1.5: UNDETERMINED
Eduardo Rodriguez: El Gualo
Christian Vazquez: Colo
This battery chose Spanish words with translations that can’t be found anywhere on the internet. It’s outrageous.
They sound cool though, so they get nestled up at 1.5.
TIER ONE: ACTUALLY GOOD
Rafael Devers: Carita
Nathan Eovaldi: Nitro
Mitch Moreland: 2-Bags
Sam Travis: Dr. Chill
When you’ve got a baby face, you can either live in denial, or you can lean right into it. With the nickname “Carita” — which means … “baby face” — Devers is wearing that one literally on his shoulders. “Nitro” is a killer nickname for someone who throws baseballs one-thousand miles per hour. Mitchy 2-Bags is about as good of a nickname as you could ask for. And for whatever reason, “Dr. Chill” seems to fit Sam Travis. That one works.
So congratulations to those four guys. The eight players in the middle, they’re fine, too. But the 14 guys who couldn’t come up with anything better than just their name or a shortened version of their name or their initials? They should be footing the bills for every meal bought in San Diego over the weekend. Nobody appreciates lameness.
Though, given how the jerseys will actually look this weekend …
The Players Weekend uniforms are somehow even worse than expected pic.twitter.com/wjoEmfTQsU
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) August 23, 2019
Love the white-on-white Players' Weekend jerseys! I can totally read the nickname on the back! pic.twitter.com/hKqYcF7ilS
— Ben Porter (@Ben13Porter) August 23, 2019
… perhaps lame was the way to go.
Those things are ugly.
I’d go nameless. Not that anybody would be able to even tell.
But wait … there’s more!
THE REAL HIGHLIGHT: MOOKIE BETTS’ CLEATS
— Red Sox (@RedSox) August 23, 2019
Mookie may not rank highly in the nickname game, but he’ll be wearing the best cleats in all of baseball this weekend.