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Ranking the Oakland A’s 2019 player weekend nicknames

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Where there’s Smokey, there’s Fiers.

Noodles is no more, but there are some good new ones.
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Major League Baseball has its third annual Players’ Weekend coming up in late August. As part of the festivities, the players get to choose their own nicknames to wear on their jerseys in place of their normal last names on Aug. 24-25. Those nicknames were announced by the team on Tuesday.

Here’s the full list! You can also look back at the 2017 or 2018 versions.

Starting pitchers

  • Brett Anderson: Noon
  • Homer Bailey: Homer
  • Chris Bassitt: C Bass
  • Marco Estrada: Ponch
  • Mike Fiers: Smokey
  • Sean Manaea: The Manaealator
  • Tanner Roark: T-Ro

Relief pitchers

  • Ryan Buchter: Book
  • Jake Diekman: Gut It Out
  • Liam Hendriks: Slydah
  • Yusmeiro Petit: Yus
  • Joakim Soria: Pepe
  • Blake Treinen: Train
  • Lou Trivino: Sweet Lou
  • Wei-Chung Wang: Wang

Catchers

  • Chris Herrmann: Worm
  • Josh Phegley: PTBNL

Infielders

  • Matt Chapman: Hurtado
  • Matt Olson: Oly
  • Jurickson Profar: El Patron
  • Marcus Semien: Simmy

Outfielders

  • Mark Canha: Tom Ace
  • Khris Davis: KD
  • Robbie Grossman: RG
  • Ramon Laureano: Ramoncito
  • Nick Marini: (martini emoji)
  • Chad Pinder: Chi
  • Stephen Piscotty: MoMo

Coaches

  • Mike Aldrete: Aldo
  • Darren Bush: Bushy
  • Ryan Christenson: Ryno
  • Jeremy Dowdy: J-Bone
  • Scott Emerson: Pat & Bill
  • Marcus Jensen: MJ
  • Mark Kotsay: Kots
  • Bob Melvin: Bomel
  • Al Pedrique: Libertad
  • Phil Pohl: p2
  • Matt Williams: Matty

As usual, the majority of these are just abbreviations of the players’ actual names, or some other obvious nameplay thereof. That includes just using their normal everyday name, like Homer or Wang; or adding a Y on the end like Bushy or Matty; or a direct shortening like Yus or Kots or T-Ro; or initials like RG or MJ, among other themes.

However, Bomel and Oly get a pass here because those are genuinely the nicknames that fans publicly know them by. Although they are no more creative than the other name abbreviations, it would be weird to see them use anything else. Same goes for Ryno, as I remember him being called that all the way back when he was still a player. I also still smile from p-squared for the bullpen catcher with initials P.P.

There are also some changes among the players.

  • Brett Anderson didn’t get one last year but is now using his childhood nickname
  • Ryan Buchter switched from number (5 Deuce) to name (Book)
  • Matt Chapman is no longer Chappy, and is instead honoring a college teammate (Nick Hurtado) who passed away
  • Ramon Laureano is no longer Noodles but also isn’t Laser
  • Marcus Semien was Sauce last year and is now Simmy
  • Mike Fiers (formerly Kai) and Nick Martini (formerly Tini) switched it up for the better and we’ll get to them in a moment.

With all this in mind, which are the best nicknames on the list? I’m splitting this into two sections, one for the top repeats from past years and another for the best new ones.

Returning champions

We’ve seen these before but they’re still gold.

No. 4: Slydah

This made our Top 5 in 2017, but Liam Hendriks was in the minors last August so he wasn’t around for this weekend. Slydah is how you would say Slider in an Australian accent. He already has such cool first and last names that it’s hard to see the need for a nickname in everyday life, but for one weekend I like this one.

No. 3: Tom Ace

This spot-on Ace Ventura reference by Mark Canha made our Top 5 last year. If you don’t get it, then go watch the movie and then look at a photo of Canha’s hair and sideburns. If you do get it, then go watch the movie again anyway because it’s a national treasure. (Honorable mention: Technically “C Bass” could also be considered a reference to a Jim Carrey movie, as the trucker in Dumb & Dumber. Kick his ass, Sea Bass!)

No. 2: Manaealator

My 2018 champion. Still love it.

No. 1: PTBNL

Our 2017 champion, and the winner of the community poll in 2018, courtesy of Josh Phegley. I ranked it second last year mostly because Manaealator was new and different, but now that they’re both repeats, I think we can agree that Phegley’s is the best possible A’s nickname.

Best new names

These are either new players, or returning players who upped their nickname game. Some others could crack this list if awesome backstories are later revealed (I’m curious to learn more about Pat & Bill, Libertad, and Pepe). Honorable mention for Chapman’s Hurtado, which is a wonderful gesture.

No. 5: Ponch

Marco Estrada channels his inner Erik Estrada, especially now that he’s in California. I’m pretty sure CHiPs references will never stop being funny.

No. 4: Gut It Out

To understand Jake Diekman’s choice, check out our profile about him and his the gut-related medical issues he’s overcome. Gut It Out is the name of his charity foundation, and also a personal mantra that he has tattooed on his writs.

No. 3: Smokey

Where there’s Smokey, there’s Fiers. Playing off his especially punworthy name is fairly obvious, but that doesn’t change the fact that he nailed it.

No. 2: Worm

Baseball Reference lists “Hermm the Worm” as Chris Herrmann’s nickname, and I am delighted to find out that he indeed does use it. Some of the nicknames listed on B-Ref seem dubious — I’ve never in my life heard David Ortiz called “Cookie Monster,” and I’m not sure Bronson Arroyo or Craig Stammen are historically important enough to each have six names listed, nor that Rhys Hoskins has been around long enough to earn four. There are some real reaches, including Ramon Laureano being listed as Razor even though that name never stuck. But Worm is the truth, and check the bottom of this post for an artist’s interpretation.

Also, if you spent any time at a summer camp growing up, there’s a pretty good chance that you heard the song Herman The Worm. The version linked there is much more kid-friendly than I remember, as at my camp Herman eats his family instead of various fruits. In retrospect, that was very Brothers Grimm, but we all turned out fine. Also, spoiler alert, the family survives at the end of the song when he burps them up, so, all’s well I guess? Future Thanksgivings at the Worm household were still probably super awkward, though.

No. 1: (martini emoji)

Unfortunately the story editor won’t let me paste in the actual emoji, so you’ll have to use your imagination for now.

At its core the martini emoji is just routine nameplay, but Nick Martini has the most punnable name on the team so of course he had to go that route. He’s not the only player in the majors to use an emoji or otherwise non-lettering (Hunter Pence is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), but he pulls it off as well as anybody.

These rankings are just my knee-jerk opinion, though. Vote in the poll to pick your favorite! (Then keep scrolling because there’s more below.)

Poll

We already know PTBNL is the best, but which new A’s nickname is your favorite?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    (Martini emoji)
    (221 votes)
  • 4%
    Worm
    (17 votes)
  • 13%
    Smokey
    (53 votes)
  • 4%
    Gut It Out
    (18 votes)
  • 6%
    Ponch
    (24 votes)
  • 12%
    Hurtado
    (48 votes)
  • 2%
    Not listed here (to the comments!)
    (11 votes)
392 votes total Vote Now

Unfortunately, there’s some bad news about Players Weekend. In past years they wore bright vibrant jerseys with alternate uses of the team’s normal color schemes. Not every team came out looking awesome, but at least they were all something to look at. This year they literally removed all color, and I don’t know how else to describe these except “absolute trash.” These are the worst jerseys I’ve ever seen at any level of any sport and it’s not even close.

The hats are somehow even worse than the shirts. They look like the designer got distracted halfway through the assignment and then forgot to finish. They look like bobblehead figurines that never got painted in the factory.

Your eyes are probably burning now, and the goggles, they do nothing. Here is a drawing of Hermm The Worm to make up for it, courtesy of Fatrolf.