Where are the nicknames of yesteryear?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bartolo is Worth a Flyer

Final note: a look at Colon’s B-R.com page reveals that he is yet another modern day star without a nickname. How is this possible? The guy is an orca-fat Dominican fireballer who, by all accounts, has a pretty good sense of humor. If he was around in the 50s he would have been given a nickname so early in his career that we all would have forgotten that his name was Bartolo by now.

I think we’ve, sadly, gotten away from good sports figure nicknames. I mean, how many great nicknames can you think of off the top of your head? The best one I can think of is “The Truth”, Paul Pierce, and the only reason I know that is because the wife is a huge Celtics fan. Is it because sportswriters and sports announcers are hired for being loud and “funny” (Hello, Monday Night Football crew) instead of being good at making the fans feel like they are part of the game? As an aside, my post title is a reference to Catch-22, my favorite book. I’ve heard that phrase used before, and I always wondered if Heller created the expression, or if he was making a play on someone else’s words. Turns out he was. So, kudos to you, Francois Villon. Sorry to the wife for failing to include the squiggle under the ‘c’ in ‘Francois’. Okay, back to nicknames. Maybe I just don’t watch enough sports on TV. Or maybe it’s that sports are so national now that it’s hard to use a nickname because no one will understand it. If you’re a local announcer, you know you get a lot of the same fans, over and over, and they know the local team really well. So you can use a nickname and you won’t confuse too many people. But if you’re a football announcer who knows that the audience for this week’s 4PM game has only seen this team once in the past two years, if that, you probably can’t call their defensive tackle by his truly inspired nickname without stopping to explain who it is and where the nickname came from. No one wants that. All this to say that it’s probably ESPN’s fault.

Posted in: baseball , complaint , sports