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Hok Talk: The Royals need better nicknames

These guys aren’t as creative as we might have hoped. Let’s help them.

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins
At least Tim Hill’s nickname is fun to say
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Player’s Weekend is coming up in just two weeks but we already know all of the nicknames the players are going to wear. To be entirely honest with you I think they did a lot better this year than they have before. But I think there is definitely still some room for improvement. At least this year they only had one guy just stick with his real name. Even in cases where they came up with some good ones, there are usually some excellent alternatives to use in other years.

Humberto Arteaga - ARTY - That’s a pretty prototypical Ned-nickname. Credit for at least having one, but I think we can do better. Back during spring training, Ned called him “Whit Merrifield before he became Whit Merrifield” so for his nickname I propose, “WHIT IN PROGRESS”

Scott Barlow - SCOOTS McGOOTS - OK. That’s pretty fun to say but according to the internet, it means “on the way out the door” which is decidedly not where Scott Barlow wants to be. In the meantime, Dennis Eckersley gave him a nickname just a few days ago during the Boston series when he called him “DR. NASTY”. It wasn’t in time to make this year’s cut, but it’s worth considering. Alternately he could go with “OATS McGOATS” because...I don’t know. I just wanted to say that.

Cheslor Cuthbert - ISLAND BOY - Cheslor hails from Corn Island, Nicaragua so he chose the simple moniker for himself. But I can’t help remembering the profile Rustin Dodd wrote about the 26-year-old infielder, last year, which talked at length about his love for chickens. So I think he should go with either “CORNISH CHICKEN” or a chicken emoji. Yes, emojis are valid on the backs of jerseys.

Hunter Dozier - BULLDOZ - This one is easy. He’s already got most of a great nickname here. Just finish it off as “BULLDOZIER” and you’re good to go.

Danny Duffy - GORDO - I have to admit, I nearly died laughing when I realized Duffy and Gordon had swapped nicknames for this year’s event. I don’t have a better nickname for Duffy, either. Duffman is pretty iconic at this point. Maybe “DUFFSTER”, just to shake things up?

Cam Gallagher - GALLY - For some reason, I think it would be hilarious if he’d gone with GAL PAL. I don’t know why.

Alex Gordon - DUFFMAN - Again, hilarious nickname swap. But I really would love to see him don the mantle of “LO, DANGER OX” just once.

Billy Hamilton - BONE - For the life of me I can’t figure out what this nickname is supposed to reference. And I’m honestly a bit afraid to ask. Given the popularity of the Broadway Musical, I’d probably choose “ALEXANDER” for his nickname.

Tim Hill - TIM JIM - This one is also fun to say. It makes me smile every time I say it. I’m not going to lie, I sat here for a bit and tried to think up a pun to play on the fact that his last name is Hill and the pitcher’s mound is sometimes called a hill. But I couldn’t come up with anything that didn’t require way too many words to fit or be funny. So I’ll just give him “TOOLMAN” after the main character on the erstwhile sitcom, Home Improvement.

Jakob Junis - JUNE BUG - Honestly, this one is pretty solid. It’s the same he used last year and it’s unique and plays off of his name well. The only other name I could come up with was “LOONEY JUNEY”

Brad Keller - YELDARB - This one took me a bit to get but it’s his first name spelled backward. Which is exactly the kind of low-effort, silly nonsense that appeals to me. In honor of that, I’ll give him another low-effort nickname, “KILLER”.

Ian Kennedy - E - We talked about this on the podcast a bit. It’s unclear exactly what this is supposed to mean so I’m going to present an option that didn’t occur to any of us during the podcast - drugs. But if Ian Kennedy wanted to name himself after a narcotic “SPECIAL K” was sitting right there.

Jorge López - EL PICHU - I went to a couple of Spanish-speaking friends in an effort to try and get more of an insight on several of these nicknames and just walked away more confused than before. I was prepared to assume he likes Pokémon then I tweeted about his, Jorge Soler’s, and Meibrys Viloria’s nicknames all together. It turns out they’re all different kinds of salsa - Pichu Salsa is a sweet salsa made with Pichuberries. So they’re just being silly with food. Given his nasty curveball and propensity for getting pulled from games rather quickly I’d rather he went by “CAPTAIN HOOK”, though.

Nicky Lopez - SHORTS - I’m going to assume this is a play on the fact that he’s played a lot of shortstop in his pro career. But since he’s played a lot more second base in the bigs it might be time to update it to “DEUCES”.

Richard Lovelady - LOVE - While you could do worse than this for a nickname it seems like you should be able to do a lot better. Maybe “ALL’S FOUL” or “AND WAR”. Something like that. I’m just spitballing here.

Kevin McCarthy -MAC - No. We already had Mac - Catcher Mike MacFarlane - and we already even had Mac the Ninth - former closer Mike MacDougal. He can’t be Mac. But maybe he should be “MIKE”. Heaven knows I’m always calling Mike because of the Packers coach, and it turns out all the other Macs were also Mikes, too. Just saying. I’d give him all the props in the world if next year he went with “APPLE” but I’m not sure even I’d remember why I wanted him to do that.

Whit Merrifield - WHITLEY - Whit has taken on his nickname from broadcaster Rex Hudler. Very sporting of him. But at this point maybe he should just go with “YOUNG ZOBRIST” or “ZOBRIST JR.” or something like that.

Adalberto Mondesi - ACE - I’m not messing with a touching tribute to someone’s friend who fell too soon.

Mike Montgomery - MONTY - No, see, we already HAVE a pitcher named Montgomery who goes by Monty. He even still works as a TV analyst for the team! This is even worse than Mac up there. I think he should have gone with “SECOND CHANCE”.

Ryan O’Hearn - BROHEARN - This is a fun nickname for a guy who hits the baseball as hard as O’Hearn does (when he gets it in the air, anyway). But I promised I’d try to come up with alternates. All I’ve got for you is “O’HERNIA”. You’re welcome.

Salvador Perez - EL NIÑO - Obviously, this one is here to stay. He’s going to be 43-years-old, demanding to start at catcher and still calling himself “The Boy”.

Jorge Soler - EL CRUDO - According to my Spanish-speaking friends and Google Translate this can mean The Crude, The Raw, or Hangover. According to salsa friend, it is any kind of rough, chopped salsa. But “SOLER POWER” would work pretty well if he and his buddies weren’t obsessed with salsa.

Glenn Sparkman - SPARKY - This will just have to do since he can’t put a GIF on the back of his jersey.


Bubba Starling - BUBS - The least he could have done was make it “BUBS BUNNY”. I googled starlings to see if I could find anything interesting about the birds. Apparently, they are hazardous to air travel, are considered an invasive species, and are exempt from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 which makes it unlawful to hunt, kill, or sell migratory birds. Do with that information what you will.

Josh Staumont - STAUMONT - The one Royal who had the option and made absolutely no effort to use a nickname. Given this insult to fans everywhere I assign him the insulting nickname of “WALKMAN”.

Meibrys Viloria - EL FRESCO - This means “Fresh” in Spanish and I originally thought it was a play on the fact that he is the fresh face in town. But, of course, he is the final member of the Salsa Trio. An el fresco salsa is similar to pico de gallo; it’s made fresh (imagine that!) and would have a mix of hot peppers. That being said I wish he could go with, “MAYBE IT’S MEIBRYS” but I don’t think it would fit, anyway. I’d also accept “CALL ME MEIBRYS”.

Kyle Zimmer - ZIM - Not much to say here. I don’t know how many fans are left who remember the beat writer for the Royals on the Kansas City Star staff back in 2014-2015 but I’d go ahead and call him “McCULLOUGH’S BEAT”.

That’s everybody who got to pick a name with the Royals this year. Nick Dini and Eric Skoglund are both in the big leagues now but weren’t in time to choose nicknames. I’d probably go with “DINIED” pronounced denied and “SKOGSWORTH” respectively. That being said, what nicknames do you wish these guys had picked? What nickname would you pick if you were in the big leagues for Player’s Weekend?