Thursday, May 25, 2006

Names

Yes, I still post here. Sorry for the long wait - work, non-baseball life and rock and roll have conspired to keep me away from the blog for a while. I'm going to ease back into the swing of things here...

1: The M's offense today was positively Kansasian (royal? Um, KC-esque?) against a pitcher who came in with a, um, Kansasian line. What is it about guys like this that give the M's fits? It used to be left-handedness, but the M's are ecumenical when it comes to plain old not showing up against untested and or tested-and-failed pitchers. It's depressing, and it won't be the last time. It's amazing how much good will and, if not excitement, at least a modicum of interest the M's managed to piss away today. The general optimism (no, really - in the M's blogosphere! At least a little..) of the past few days swept away thanks to an utterly punchless offensive performance.
It's the sort of thing that underscores how precarious their situation really is: yes, things would be much more rad if Sexson, Beltre and Reed started doing what they're paid to do. But if Lopez/Ichiro have bad games, which they will from time to time, the M's are just hopeless. Imagine, if you dare, this line-up *without* Lopez for any extended (i.e., over 48 hours) period. It's a sweater! No, it's a pillow! By day, a mild-mannered line-up - by night, the fearful INEFFECTOR!

2: At the risk of turning this into Bad Observational Comedy night here at the 'morse, what the hell is with prospects' names these days? I talked about this briefly with Deanna at that Rainiers game a long time ago, but it's really getting to me. The Rainiers SS has the colorful first name of Asdrubal. For those who slept through Roman history, Hasdrubal was the brother of legendary Carthaginian general Hannibal. Again, Hannibal = legendary. His brother? Eh, not so much. But which phoenician name is translated into spanish and slapped on a baby Venezuelan?
If that's weird, then what about the fact that there are TWO prospects named Ambiorix (burgos, P, KC; Concepcion, OF, NYM). Ambiorix was also a lesser-known enemy of Rome. As the leader of a Belgic (germanic people living in flanders) tribe called the Eburones, he succesfully destroyed one of Julius Caesar's legions while the Roman general was away in Britain. 300 days later, Caesar returned and eliminated the Eburones. All of them. Like the previous case, he was by no means the most well-known Celtic general who fought Caesar: that honor goes to Vercingetorix, who so impressed Caesar that coins were struck showing Vercingetorix at Rome. Ambiorix is sort of like a belgian version of the British celtic leader Boudicca - someone who revolted, killed some Romans, and then suffered a nearly genocidal reprisal. So: *why the hell are two Dominican baseball players named after this guy?*
A little closer to home, M's LHP prospect Ryan Feierabend's got a weird name as well. Feierabend is the name of a German restaurant in Seattle, so he's already got a place to eat if he makes the majors. His last name means, literally, celebration evening, or, more colorfully, Party Night. I cannot fully express how cool it is to have the name Party Night - I'm hoping I don't have to. Interestingly, the word 'feierabend' in German is usually translated as 'quitting time,' as 'nach feierabend' means 'after work.' That's a very different spin, but it's also quite cool - Ol' Ryan 'Quittin' Time' really had it going today, etc., etc. His own quitting time came quite early Wednesday in San Antonio's 17-2 loss, but hey, he's still got an awesome name.

What are your favorite names in sports? We M's fans are tremendously lucky, as we're blessed with my top two: Jetsy Extrano (J of Mariner Minors is a big fan of this one) and Yorman Bazardo. There's no better first name than 'Jetsy', but it's Bazardo's consistency (both names are funny, and together, they're invincible) that wins the day for me.
The rest of the top 5:
3: Scientific Mapp - the world of basketball spits out great names like so many sunflower seeds. Scientific Mapp was a great small-college ballplayer, and was a highly touted recruit out of the Bronx, along with his brother, I swear I'm not making this up, Majestic Mapp.
4: Exree Hipp - quality swingman who played for the University of Maryland and, later, the Harlem Globetrotters.
5: Merkin Valdez (Merkin is an archaic term for, um, look it up, and has an even funnier current meaning...which you should look up. Maybe not at work, though).

in the team photo: Margin Hooks (WR, BYU); SirValiant Brown (PG, GWU/ Roanoke Dazzle); Brian Wetnight (TE, Chicago Bears).

9 Comments:

At 5/26/2006 12:40 PM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

Not just current players, the M's have had some pretty cool player names in their past:

Randy "Not even the Yankees can beat OUR" Johnson
Dick Pole
Puchy Delgado
Skip Jutze

I'm certain I'm not the only one who confuses Bruce Bochte (ex-Mariner) with Bruce Bochy (Padres' Manager).

Heck, the 1980 team alone had two Cox!

Nach feierabend fahrt ihr zurück! (At quittin' time, drive (yourselves) back! -- or as Babelfish would say: "After end of workday go back you!")

Aaaaah. How useful my German degree is. Or not.

Mein deutsch ist ganz röstig!

Just like Rusty Kuntz.

 
At 5/26/2006 12:42 PM, Blogger Iron Tech said...

Speaking of names, while reading Bill James recently I ran across Urban Shocker - certainly a blast from the past!

 
At 5/26/2006 1:23 PM, Blogger Citizen K said...

(just a few)
Dick Trickle
Robert Fick
Radoslav Suchy
Miroslav Satan
Alay Soler
Tim Harrikala
Chauncey Billups
Skeeter Barnes
Awvee Storey
Harry Carey
Chris Bootcheck
Yorvit Torrealba
Pape Sow
Duaner Sanchez
Milton Bradley
Grant Balfour (not a great name for a pitcher)
Emiliano Fruto
Carlos Boozer
Carlester Crumpler
Franquelis Osoria
Osi Umenyiori
Yhency Brazoban

 
At 5/26/2006 2:09 PM, Blogger marc w said...

Rusty Kuntz is a classic - that one comes up a lot. Kind of like Dick Trickle. Those should be on my list to give it more of a feel for the past - to show we've had hilarious names around for decades.

Urban Shocker is a good one, yeah. He played with a guys called 'Baby Doll' Jacobson, Lyman Lamb, Slim Love (!), and Rosy Ryan. Man, the 20s are hard to top for names that make you laugh.

How the hell does a male professional athlete get a name like Baby Doll?

 
At 5/26/2006 2:19 PM, Blogger marc w said...

Other bad names for a pitcher: Bob Walk, Waite Hoyt (doesn't sound like he 'got the ball and threw it' does it?), Homer Hillebrand, Jay Baller.

Good name? John Strike, Win Ballou, Win Kellum.

Bad name, total? Kid Camp. Hod Kibbie. Heinie Groh.

Intriguing name: Admiral Schlei

 
At 5/26/2006 3:20 PM, Blogger Deanna said...

I actually did a post about this almost a year ago: Name Game Awards.

Anyway, the old nicknames from the 20's really don't throw me, I guess I'm used to reading baseball histories. There's also "Red" Faber, one of the "Good Sox" who was born Urban Clarence Faber; Urban's the real name, not the nickname. Other guys on the 1920 White Sox alone included George "Swede" Risberg, Arnold "Chick" Gandil, Oscar "Happy" Felsch, John "Shano" Collins, Harry "Nemo" Leibold, Claude "Lefty" Williams, and George "Buck" Weaver, after all. Nicknames like Stuffy McInnis, Frenchy Bordagaray, Dizzy Dean, etc, I guess they just don't seem that weird to me.

It was a time where all left-handed pitchers were called "Lefty", all guys of German descent were called "Dutch", guys who acted like big kids were called "Rube" or "Babe", all guys with red hair were "Red", with blonde hair were "Whitey"... you needed a nickname. Hell, Casey Stengel is really Charles Dillon Stengel -- he got the nickname Casey because he wouldn't shut the hell up about his hometown of Kansas City, and since everyone needed a nickname, that's what he got.

My favorite "bad nickname" ever was that of Hughie Mulcahy of the late 1930's Phillies, who was known as "Losing Pitcher Mulcahy".

Probably the most recent wacko unforgettable name will be Orel Hershiser, I think.

I did think Hiram Bocachica had the coolest name to come through the Mariners in recent years, too.

 
At 5/26/2006 4:19 PM, Blogger J said...

Some site I visit, maybe John Sickels' one, was doing a review of some of the best baseball names of both past and and present. Someone dug deep, way back to the 19th century, and came up with this one...

Pebbly Jack Glasscock.

Another favorite of mine from the media guide is Mcyquin Lora, because I don't have the slightest idea how to pronounce the first name.

 
At 5/26/2006 5:13 PM, Blogger marc w said...

Deanna,
There are nicknames, and then there are nicknames. Red, Whitey, even Dizzy/Dazzy don't phase me. But what is up with Admiral, or Pickles, or Baby Doll? Choo-choo is positively prosaic in comparison.

Ah, losing pitcher Mulcahy. Poor guy. He wasn't THAT terrible, and was one of the first MLB players sent off to war, wasn't he? Always seemed like he got kind of a raw deal with that nickname- he was just the one innings eater who ended up staying with the club through that atrocious period of play in the late 30s. Here's to Hugh Mulcahy! Mariners Morsels salutes you, sir.

 
At 5/26/2006 5:28 PM, Blogger Deanna said...

I sponsor Mulcahy's page on baseball-reference because I firmly believe that pitchers who lost a lot of games in Philly don't really deserve what they get for it. (The other one I sponsor in that vein is Jack Nabors. I don't believe he could have possibly deserved that 1-20 record with the Philadelphia Pathetics in 1916.)

With Mulcahy, anyway, I did a joking "if not for those four bad starts" thing for him after the Phillies signed Ryan Franklin. It took me several days to actually piece together Mulcahy's 1940 season out of old NYT box scores, which was a pretty fun offseason project for a bit there, like a logic puzzle. Did you know, he was on the 1940 All-Star roster with a 7-10 record at the break? He would work his way up to a 12-10 record before dropping 12 straight decisions to go 13-22 for the season. And yeah, he was the first major leaguer to go into World War 2, the joke being that he said "hey, at least I'm finally going to be on the winning side now."

 

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