Best Ideas From MLB's Players Weekend Were Inspired By Hollywood
Two Nicknames During Players Weekend Came Directly From The Flintstones
Diamond Stars Obviously Like Animated Characters
If Major League Baseball's highly promoted Players Weekend proved anything at all, it was that most of the guys who are paid to pitch or hit have limited creativity. Given the chance to show off their personalities through nicknames on the or uniforms, few were able to amuse or even slightly delight fans.
Initials or name abbreviations were drably ubiquitous, such as JV for Houston ace Justin Velander or "Grich" for Toronto outfielder Randall Grichuk. A teammate of the latter, Derek Fisher, simply chose the nickname Fish.
Occasionally, however, a player decided to pay homage to a popular film or TV character, making for some interesting nicknames on the backs of jerseys. In fact, two of the selections were inspired by The Flintstones, the John Goodman film based on the animated series from the Sixties.
Reliever Cam Bedrosian of the Los Angeles Angels, based mainly on his last name, went with Bedrock. Brandon Lowe of the Tampa Bay Rays chose one of the characters from that fictional town, Bam Bam, the young son of Fred Flintstone's next door neighbor and best pal Barney Rubble.
Lowe's teammate chose another famous animated series, the longest running Prime Time show in history, from which to draw his nickname. For the weekend Matt Duffey was referred to as Duff Man, the human mascot of Springfield's favorite beer in The Simpsons.
Also referencing a character in a cartoon was Milwaukee's All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal, based solely on his unusual first name. He went with Yasmanian Devil, the brash critter of Tasmania from the classic Bugs Bunny shorts.
Animated films also were at the root of some of the baseball nicknames, including one that has become famous long before Players Weekend. Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants almost a decade ago embraced being called "Kung Fu Panda", which he naturally used for the recent occasion.
Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons took on the designation Simba, a character from The Lion King. His counterpart on the Boston Red Sox, All-Star Xander Bogaerts, adopted the label X-Man.
Older superheroes served several participants in the weekend, such as Cisco Kid for Chance Cisco of the Baltimore Orioles. Along those same lines, Tony Watson of the Giants was called Tone Ranger.
Oscar nominated films inspired others, starting with King Kong for New Yankees pitcher Tommy Kahnie or King Kahn. All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier of the New York Mets was known as Toddfather, and Tanner Rainey of the Washington Nationals dubbed himself "Rainman" after the popular film starring Dustin Hoffman.
Nomar Mazara of the Texas Rangers went with Big Chill, the title of the classic movie starring William Hurt and Glenn Close. And since any mention of Academy Award films would be incomplete without a Star Wars reference, so Luke Jackson of the Atlanta Braves became Skywalker.