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Hits and misses for Giants Players Weekend nicknames

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Major League Baseball’s Players Weekend will see the Giants play at AT&T Park against the Texas Rangers August 24-26, and one facet of the event allows players to choose nicknames to appear on the back of their jerseys where their surnames usually appear.

The Giants have released the nicknames their players have selected, which range from clever, to apropos, to simply boooriiinng.

My top 14

1. Derek ‘Dutch’ Holland, who leads the league in cheekiness, has taken the Players Weekend shenanigans as an opportunity to wear, not his well-known nickname, ‘Dutch,’ but instead the words ‘Last Name’ where his actual last name is usually depicted.

2. The daring and resourceful masked rider of the bullpen leads the fight for law and order in the late innings. ‘The Tone Ranger’ rides again. Or, at least that’s what Tony Watson will respond to during Players Weekend.

3. Say Hunter Pence’s name 10 times fast and see what it sounds like by the tenth time. Or better yet, ask someone to try to lipread you saying his name, and you might end up with the nickname Pence chose this year: ‘Underpants.’

4. It took some tracking down to get a translation for Johnny Cueto‘s chosen moniker, ‘El Jucho’ (ell hoo-ko) as he’s currently recovering from Tommy John in Arizona so I couldn’t ask him. Clubhouse Spanish translator Erwin Higueros was unsure what it meant, and Google was no help. But Alen Hanson came to the rescue, explaining that it was Dominican slang that appears to have no direct translation in English. It describes a person who is aware of everyone and everything around them at all times and pays close attention to details. So, something like a cross between an ‘eagle eye’ and a well-trained spy?

5. Another nickname choice that needs some explaining is Austin Slater‘s. Last year he had the oh-so-slick nickname ‘A.C.’ in a reference to the character A.C. Slater, from the 90s TV show Saved By The Bell. But evidently there was some kerfuffle about gaining rights from NBC to use the name for the weekend. Slater instead chose ‘Mayor’ in a nod to his grandfather Ed Austin who was the mayor of his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida from 1991-95, and the state attorney there for 20 years. The Office of the State’s Attorney building and a Regional Park bear Ed Austin’s name, and his portrait hangs in the county courthouse.

6. Known as the clubhouse DJ when it comes to playlists for all important occasions like batting practice, post-game wins, etc., Brandon Crawford, will be rocking ‘DJ BC Raw’ on his back this year, a take on his everyday nickname, ‘BCraw.’

7. Evidently there is room enough for two sharks in the Giants clubhouse as Reyes Moronta‘s nickname is ‘El Tibu’ which translates to ‘The Shark.’ This might be appropriate, as he’s the guy ‘Boch’ puts in when there’s blood in the water and men on base.

8.‘Zoom’ seems an appropriate nickname for Andrew McCutchen, who was one of the few players with a nickname already firmly in place to opt for something different. McCutchen ranks second among active Giants in foot speed at 28.6 feet per second, behind only Duggar (29.0).

9. In a repeat from last year, Gorkys Hernández will go by ‘Cazador’ which is Spanish for ‘hunter.’ But despite being a repeat, this one really works for a guy who hunts down fly balls for a living and shoots down Dodgers like Brian Dozier at the plate. All in a day’s work.

10. Fireball thrower Ray Black went for the unambiguous, but apt, ‘Blackout.’

11. Chase d’Arnaud is also known for his speed on the base paths so ‘Cheetah’ was a good choice for him.

12. In a nod to his devout Catholicism, Ty Blach selected ‘The Preacher’ for the second year in a row. His autograph includes the notation Mathew 6:33, a reference to the Biblical passage, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” which is something Rockies player Terry Shumpert also included on a ball he autographed for a young Blach.

13. The 25-year-old Alen Hanson’s chosen nickname is ‘Chamaquito’ which translates to ‘Kid’ or ‘Kiddo’ in Spanish. Fair enough, he’s the second youngest guy on the roster behind Steven Duggar.

14. Rookie Duggar went with the pretty boring ‘Dugg.’ I have alternatively heard him referred to as ‘Duggy’ in the clubhouse, but pretty much every name ends up with a ‘y’ tacked on at some point in baseball and nicknames are no exception to this policy, so there you have it.

*Yawn*

Dereck Rodríguez: ‘D-Rod’

Andrew Suárez: ‘Andy’ (which is only kind of a nickname as he’s made it clear it’s actually the name he prefers).

Mark Melancon :’Mel’

Joe Panik  ‘J.P.’ which is still a step up from abstaining from using a nickname at all, which he did last year.

Pierce Johnson opted for the equally unimaginative ‘P.J.’, though with the move Tuesday to bring Belt back from the DL, he’s been sent down to Triple-A anyway.

I have no explanation so I don’t feel like I can judge them

Brandon Belt was an abstainer last year but he’s gone with ‘Bob’ this year and your guess is as good as mine as to what that’s about.

Sam Dyson is going by ‘Pssst’ this year, last year he took the nickname ‘Rojo’ (Spanish for ‘red’ ) which was much more self-explanatory, but for ‘Pssst’? *shrug* I got nothing.

Here you have boring, standard-issue clubhouse nicknames which are repeats from last year

Madison Bumgarner: ‘Mad-Bum’

Nick Hundley: ‘Hundo’ 

Buster Posey: ‘Buster’*

Jeff Samardzija: ‘Shark’

Pablo Sandoval: ‘Panda’

Will Smith: ‘Smitty’

Hunter Strickland: ‘Strick’

Derek Law: ‘D-Law’

Evan Longoria: ‘Longo’

*To be fair, Buster is legitimately a nickname (his real name is Gerald, and Buster was a nickname belonging to his father that he inherited). But still, utterly boring.


Julie Parker is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @insidethepark3r on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.

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