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Buccos need nicknames. Let's start with Cutch.
September 26, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
I’m torn between about three topics today: A paucity of Pittsburgh Pirates with nicknames, the descent of the nation ever further to banana republic status indicated by the theft of actual, in-use phone lines in Harrison County, and the intrusion of the nanny state, unable to protect us from ourselves but always willing to try.
It’s a blogging feast occurring in that little section of my head where ideas occur. It’s small but sometimes fertile, apparently.
So, I’ll start today with the paucity of Bucco nicknames.
All this playoff talk this week got me thinking that in the good old days, it seemed like every baseball player had a nickname. Apparently about the time that zillion-dollar contracts kicked in, the nicknames got sidetracked. Other than Jason Grilli serving “grilled cheese,” and Pedro “El Toro” Alvarez, the Bucs really lack nicknames.
And no, I don’t count truncated last names. Cutch is neat, but it’s not a proper baseball nickname.
In my younger days, there was The Cobra (Dave Parker ), Mad Dog (Bill Madlock), EZ (Mike Easler), The Candy Man (John Candelaria), The Dutchman (Bert Blyleven), The Rubberband Man (Kent Tekulve).
How about Pops (Willie Stargell), The Great One (Roberto Clemente), The Roadrunner (Manny Sanguillen)? Scoops (Al Oliver)? There was The Lumber Co., though I have to admit that when it was living up to the name during midseason form, The Shark Tank was a cool bullpen name.
I found a couple of references that say the Pirates got the team name after being called the Alleghenies because they signed players from other teams like pirates taking booty. Not sure I heard that before, but I'll need to replay Ken Burns' "Baseball" to be sure. And I’ll note from all the times the question is asked that the Internet is filled with people far too unintelligent to know that Bucs is short for buccaneer, as in “pirate.” Doh!
Maybe it’s the ever-shifting rosters of pro teams now that led to the paucity of nicknames on small-market teams. But I think somebody as graceful and important to the team as Andrew McCutchen needs a nickname. Maybe “The Impala,” which fits on a couple of levels. The impala is a graceful animal. And the Impala car is workmanlike, a little luxurious, not too showy. It goes about it’s business very well. Like Cutch.
I think we need a Give Cutch A Proper Nickname drive. Be creative here.
As for phone wire thefts and the nanny state and it’s latest drive to protect us from ourselves in our cars (think of mandatory backup cameras here), let’s visit again.
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