A-Gon is about as original as most Hollywood movies these days, and Red Sox fans prefer to boo players whose nicknames start with an A and are hyphenated (see Alex Rodriguez).
Adrian Gonzalez deserves to stand alone.
He needs a moniker that is all his own. It should be creative but not corny. Cool but not juvenile. Subtle but not invisible. In the Twitterverse, that is becoming more difficult to achieve as everything gets shorter — attention spans, thoughts, even nicknames.
Look at the Red Sox roster.
Last year, they also had V-Mart.
Not exactly the stuff of Shel Silverstein. One- or two-syllable nicknames are fine for teammates and coaches to call each other on the field (anyone who’s played baseball knows colorful handles that roll off the tongue build camaraderie during razzing sessions and rally time), but everyone else needs to step up their games when it comes to producing nicknames.
Pretty soon, a nickname could disintegrate into less than an abbreviation of a person’s full name (AG), a symbol ($$$) or a punctuation mark (!). It will just be a sound (a hard g) or the sound of one hand clapping (nothing). Whatever gets the point across quickest. People, it seems, no longer have time or desire to bother with appendages like nicknames anymore. They are treated as trifling.
But a nickname used to be something special, heroic and noble.
The Red Sox have had some memorable ones over the years.
The Kid. The Splendid Splinter. Teddy Ballgame. The Thumper. And that was all for just one player. Ted Williams‘ nicknames summed up exactly who he was, captured the essence of the man in a few words. They were classic. Today, he might be reduced to T-Will or TDub.
Where have all the good nicknames gone?
Those are clever, innovative, imaginative. They are natural without mystery. Everyone knows Big Papi is David Ortiz, El Guapo is Rich Garces and Spaceman’s Bill Lee. Each nickname fits each player, and every Red Sox fan can relate. There’s a kinship, a connection, a bond.
Adrian Gonzalez needs a nickname like that — something Red Sox Nation can rally around, something that reflects who Gonzalez is, where he came from and what he means to the team. Something that can stay with him for the rest of his career.
Here are some possibilities.
El Cucuy, El Coco, El Cuco or El Bolo. Aka the bogeyman. This mythical ghost-monster is feared in Spanish-speaking countries. In Mexico and the Mexican-American community, legend has it that El Cucuy hides under children’s beds or in closets and eats them if they misbehave. Pitchers in the American League better watch out.
Duck Hunter. The Red Sox figure to have a lot of “ducks on the pond” (runners on base) when Gonzalez steps to the plate. The slugger knows what to do when they’re there. He has averaged 105 RBIs per year the last four seasons. That number could go up in Boston. So could the number of duck boat parades.
El Jefe. The boss or chief in Spanish. Gonzalez is a former No. 1 overall pick with a strap-on-the-boots-put-on-the-hard-hat-let’s-go-to-work mentality. He is a true dirt dog who will lead by example. He doesn’t seek the spotlight, but he can’t avoid it because of how steady, consistent and good he is. That approach will play well in New England among the Sons of Sam Horn crowd.
Flash. A laser is a heat-seeking line drive in baseball parlance. Dustin Pedroia popularized the term last season in defense of David Ortiz. Expect Gonzalez to continue the trend and hit many more lasers at Fenway. This will leave plenty of flashbulbs popping.
Ulysses. If past performance is an indicator of future success, Gonzalez will be hitting his fair share of homers as a Red Sox. Homer wrote The Odyssey. The Odyssey is the inspiration for James Joyce‘s Ulysses. Ulysses is the Latin of Odysseus. Odysseus is a famous Greek king. That king is the hero of Homer’s epic poem. Red Sox heroes become kings in Beantown. And Gonzalez wasn’t acquired to be a pauper.
El Machete. Gonzalez will be taking out bad guys and making opposing pitchers wish they were never born. Just like Danny Trejo on film. Only this will be all too real for every team that doesn’t call Boston home.
The dream has come true. Adrian Gonzalez is a Red Sox. Now, it’s time for the Nation to make him feel welcome. That starts with an inspiring nickname.
So what’s it going to be for the new first baseman?
Vote and leave your suggestions in the comments section below.