Joakim Soria is smart for at least two reasons. First: he understands that one cannot choose one’s own nickname. Second, he understands that being called “Mexicutioner” is a pretty tough thing these days given all of the execution-style killings going down in his native Mexico. In light of this, he offered a plea this morning:
how about if we change my nickname to something positive? in support to mexico to stop all the violence !!!
I’m not a big fan of sports-as-symbolism — I thought it was tremendously weak when the Washington Bullets changed their name to the Wizards — but I understand how this is different to Soria. It’s a personal appellation for one thing, not a team name. It’s also way more on-the-nose with respect to the violence in Mexico than “Bullets” was to violence in D.C. in the mid-90s. And at least “Bullets” had a different intention (i.e. “faster than a speeding …”). I totally get his discomfort and I’m on board with him wanting to have it changed.
But what it gets changed to is kind of up to us, isn’t it? I don’t know that I have any ideas that he’d actually be cool with. Most that spring to mind have to do with him being the lone elite talent on the Royals, and something tells me that he wouldn’t get on board with that sort of thing.
Ideas in the thread. Nickname dissemination is an inexact science, but I’ll try to get the best one trending and maybe it will stick.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉