An agnostic outsider might look at the preternatural urge of the fan to foist a nickname upon nearly every player on the team for whom they have a rooting interest and judge it to be, well, dumb. That outsider might actually be onto something, but you are reading this blog entry on a site dedicated to the Kansas City Royals, and the author of this piece is someone even more suspect than the reader in the eyes of that outsider as this author has by his own estimate committed more than 400,000 words to a team that up until a year ago was barely worth following, let alone writing about--be that writing on the internet, in a newspaper, or scrawled semi-legibly across the stall of a terrifying truck stop toilet just outside of Salina that hadn't seen a cleaning since gas was $0.92 a gallon and whose flickering fluorescents overhead render one either (a) speechless with fear, or (b) epileptically seizing on the urine-soaked ground until someone happens across your helpless body and--the seizing can only hope--comes to his or her aid.
Each new season brings a handful of shiny (or more often, historically, warty) new players for the fans to greet with affection (or the less humane but often inevitable animosity). As is only natural when the fan attempts to embrace the player from a safe, non-stalking distance, nicknames--or perhaps more appropriately pet names--are introduced into the equation. Where these nicknames come from is something that scholars and historians can only guess. Some surface after anagrams reveal the true nature of the player [*the collective readership looks at the homemade Batter Nine You Sucky knock-off FatHead adorning the wall of their mothers' basements*]. Others are simply plays on a player's heritage, name, or role on the team. All are objectively pointless but are nevertheless a means by which the fanbase can make a player theirs.
Collectively, fans both here and on Twitter have been trying to come up with a nickname for the new designated hitter on the block Kendrys Morales. Some have been trying to push the desperate nickname "Cuban Breakfast" (or the similarly cloying "Cubano Breakfast/Desayuno Cubano"), apparently as a means by which to hold onto the ghost of Billy Butler. This is sad and should be summarily dismissed without any further consideration.
While Twitter was a-flutter with nickname frenzy a few nights ago, this author--the very same one who bestowed the unwieldy and little-used nickname of "But I Don't Know What To Do With Those Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs" upon Jason Frasor much to his and only his delight--penned the following tweet:
Nickname ideas for Kendrys Morales: MorKen The Merkin Oral Kenny The Morale Killer Sweet Cans Hott Nutz More Rails Naow— Laird Josh Duggan (@oldmanduggan) April 11, 2015
More than one of these suggestions could be filed under the Who knows where thoughts come from? They just appear category. That said, there are some pretty sweet suggestions in there. The retrospective standouts seem to be either "The Merkin," "Oral Kenny," or "The Morale Killer." Given the author's unending drubbing of the various permutations of the phrase "hang dong" as a substitute for hitting home runs, one can only guess where he wants this vote to go.
Over the course of Twitter replies that followed (feel free to read them all here) there were a handful of others that were suggested that should be noted either for their viability as long-term nicknames or for their hilarity. Such candidates as the "Cuban Whale" (purportedly championed by Brian McGannon) or the "Cuban Bear" (apparently per this person who never tweets) have been left out as they are simply large mammals with his home country slapped in front of it, but if there should be a groundswell of support for either, then by all means let the world know. There was also the addition of KenDREESnuts (by @IHarveyKU), presumably in response to Hott Nutz, which seems especially appropriate when he hangs dong, but otherwise may be of limited utility. BHWick suggested both Kendrys "Danger Zone" Loggins and Kendrys "KY-102" Morales. clscholes suggested "The Moralist"
This series of tweets from Tyler Drenon were personally amusing suggestions:
@oldmanduggan The Cock™— Ersatz Basteball (@basteball) April 11, 2015
@oldmanduggan Switch Nips®— Ersatz Basteball (@basteball) April 11, 2015
@oldmanduggan or Nipswitch©— Ersatz Basteball (@basteball) April 11, 2015
Of course, this one from Drenon was also fun:
And had the bonus of having this explanation given:
But before the justification for "The Cuban Human" was given, the biased author of this piece was off to the races with this:
In mere minutes, the photoshop wizardry of Mr. Drenon had worked up the following piece of artwork:
The ability to co-opt the old Domino's "Avoid the Noid" campaign would be an added bonus, as it would grant any old enough to remember clay-mation advertising that nostalgic twinge upon recalling such commercials as this:
Add to that fact that the artwork is already done for "The Cubanoid," and it's hard for this author to look past what seems like a delicious nickname--much more delicious than the hot pile of crap that you could get delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less (unless Domino's advertises with SBNation, in which case it used to be a steaming pile before the rebranding of 2011-to-present after which it's Grrrr-eat!). While it has been clear thus far that pitchers should #AvoidTheCubanoid, it should be noted that were the following nickname suggestions to take hold, its coiner would be similarly tickled:
Alternate nickname suggestion for Kendrys "The Merkin" Morales: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights #nobodyputsKendrysinacorner— Laird Josh Duggan (@oldmanduggan) April 12, 2015
Clearly there is much to discuss. In the tradition of our forefathers, there is also a poll through which each and every reader of this piece should make their heart known.
Of course, a nickname isn't for just one person to bestow upon a player. If it were, there would be no damned way that Yordano Ventura's nickname would be the unimaginative "Ace." Properly nicknaming a player is the job of the community. Reader, let your voice be heard. If there are others to be added to the pile or this list is otherwise lacking, let that too be known.