What’s in a nickname?

The name Dodgers has its roots in the 19th century and their original home, Brooklyn, New York. Back in the old days…and I mean really old, not pre-Internet…Brooklyn was a maze of interlocking, crisscrossing trolley lines. Residents of Brooklyn had to maneuver through the trolley traffic and were affectionately referred to as “trolley dodgers.”

Over the years, the team has had a variety of official and unofficial names: Brooklyns, Bridegrooms, Superbas, Robins, Bums. The first known reference of the name Dodgers occurred on August 30th, 1895. The club officially dubbed itself the Dodgers in 1932.

Over the years the Dodgers roster has been home to some great nicknames, some so synonymous with a player’s personal identity the nickname becomes the only name they are referred by: Pee Wee Reese, Babe Herman, Dazzy Vance, Brickyard Kennedy, Dixie Walker. This art had become somewhat lost until ESPN’s Chris “Boomer” Berman decided to give everyone a nickname, regardless of how natural the fit or absurd the association.

I dub Dee Gordon “The Gordonator!” That has nothing to do with California’s current Governor. It just sounds cool and THAT is the impetus of any nickname.

Clayton “Sandy” Kershaw may make some old time Dodgers fans scream blasphemy, but the kid put up a Koufax-like season in 2011. It sure looks like that wasn’t a fluke, but it might be wise to re-address this one in a couple years. I’m just going on record for being the first to suggest it.

James Loney is In-tuny-Loney. So far this season he has not been tuned-in, but maybe this could inspire destiny to make the nickname a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Aaron Harang-em-high…on second thought that might be encouraging a guy who has given up 217 career home runs to add to that total. Not as a good choice. Retraction please.

Matt Kemp shall furthermore be known as “Kempenstein", simply because the man is a monster!

And – just because living in El Paso we need to have a couple related to Mexican folklore – I bestow the following on the following.

Chris Capuano is…the Chupacapuano! Not only does Chris get association with a creature of mythical proportions because it works well with his name, but he gets it because of his ties to El Paso having played AA ball here in 2001. How wonderful would it be to once again have a minor league team with future major leaguers playing ball in El Paso…think about those possibilities critics of the proposed downtown ball park.

Lastly, Mark Ellis shall now be known as “Xoltl”.  It’s not that there is a likeness to the “real” Xoltl, the deformed Mexican Dog-thing. But much like Xoltl makes trips to Hell to bring light, bones, and an occasional suffering soul or two back above ground to use as a doggie chew toy, Mark Ellis has been to Hell. Prior to this year he spent his career in Oakland. Yes, they had a couple of near glorious seasons in the early days of this millennium, but for the majority of that time played in front of empty houses, in some of the coldest conditions, with little to no hope of glory or riches. The nickname “City of Angels” probably has added significance to Mark Ellis who must feel like he’s died and gone to heaven.

Let’s hope we get to create a nickname for the 2012 edition of the team, something that will forever be synonymous with “Champions.” The Boys of Summer would be proud.

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