In Sports Commentary

Would The Mayor of Ding Dong City claim victory this year? (PHOTO: Brewers Facebook)

Brewers' 2018 Players Weekend jersey nicknames, ranked

For the second straight year, Major League Baseball will allow fun – heaven forbid, still no bat-flipping through – onto the diamond with its Players Weekend, offering its athletes three days to wear customized cleats, swing customized bats and don brightly colored alternate pullover jerseys.

The Brewers' look for the weekend – running Aug. 24-26 at Miller Park versus the Pittsburgh Pirates – is pretty much the same as last year, just with "Milwaukee" on the front instead of "Brewers." But the big deal isn't what's on the front of the jerseys but what's on the back: the players names, replaced for the weekend series with nicknames of their choosing. Which is why you'll be seeing people named "Swaggy," "Stringbean Slinger" and, yes, even emojis taking the field.

Last year, Eric Thames won the battle for the best nickname with "Sang Namja," but it's a new season. Whose moniker is the mightiest? Let's get to ranking, from worst to first.

32. Christian Yelich: "Yeli"

I hate to start at the bottom with Yelich – one of the few truly consistent bright spots for the Brewers this inconsistent season – but Yeli isn't a nickname. It just looks like you starting writing his name, then just gave up midway through.

31. Corbin Burnes: "Burnesy"

You know how, after you look at a word long enough, it starts looking spelled wrong? Like you look at the word "leaf" and all of a sudden, you start thinking, "That can't be right"? Well, I've been staring at "Burnesy" for ten minutes now, and I'm still not convinced it's spelled right. No matter the case, at its best, it's just an unimaginative Y stitched to the end of somebody's last name.

30. Erik Kratz: "Kratzy"

Another "let's throw a Y on it and call it a day" nickname. Making me yearn for the days of Jett "My Real Name Already Sounds Like A Nickname" Bandy.

29. Nick Franklin: "Nicky"

I suppose it was either Nicky or Franky – though neither one is much fun.

28. Wade Miley: "Miles"

No, no, no. A nickname is supposed to be a more interesting name, not just ANOTHER name. That being said, this is an improvement upon last year, when he went as ... Miley. PROGRESS!

27. Jordan Lyles: "Jordy"

I know you're new here, Lyles, but you should know there will only ever be one Jordy in the state of Wisconsin.

26. Matt Albers: "Albie"

Yes, this is just another "add a Y to a last name" gambit. But at least it reminds me of this:

25. Dan Jennings: "DJ"

Unless you're actually spinning records, there's no reason to go with a boring nickname like DJ.

24. Josh Hader: "Stricken"

There's two options here. Either this is a pretty shameless plug for Hader's outdoor production company of the same name, or this nickname comes from the actual definition of stricken – "seriously afflicted by some undesirable condition or unpleasant feeling" – which, after a season headlined by his controversial off-field online issues, seems like a weird apology or, worse yet, a victim card. So it goes without saying he should've stuck with "Haderade."

23. Ryan Braun: "Ocho"

Another year, another attempt to make Ryan "ESPN 8: The Ocho" Braun happen. Just give us "Brauny Man" already – because nobody has ever or will ever call Braun "Ocho." Not even Spanish language broadcasters.

22. Jonathan Schoop: "Mamba"

Taking somebody else's nickname? Well, that's just a lack of creativity. It even comes from the court as well, a nickname from his Baltimore days due to his supposedly Kobe-like hoops abilities. It certainly doesn't come from his play with the Brewers so far, where he's batting a very un-Black Mamba-esque .159.

21. Chase Anderson: "Texas"

Just like last year, "Texas" Anderson is both boring and doesn't roll off the tongue right as a nickname. Chase, if you're gonna stick with this home state representation angle, please go with "Tex" next year. In the words of Justin Timberlake in "The Social Network," it's cleaner. Plus: "Tex" Anderson? Now that's a baseball name.

20. Lorenzo Cain: "Lo Cain"

Lo Cain doesn't have much creativity to it; much like Yelich, it reads like somebody started writing his name, gave up but then got motivated again just in time for the last name. It does roll smoothly, though – and it sounds very close to lo mein. And I am very hungry.

19. Zach Davies: "Couns"

So close! Last year, Davies went with "Bat Boy" – and not for any of the fun reasons you might be imagining. (In short, it was some motivational poster thing.) But one of his rejected names was "Counsell Jr.," which is what he went with this season. Kind of. Honestly, I had to look this up to figure out what he was going for. Give him another year, and I think he'll finally get this nickname thing right. (Or he could just go with my personal nickname for him: What Parents Left Their Child On The Pitching Mound?)

18. Stephen Vogt: "I Believe"

Again, "I Believe" is a nice shoutout to his breakout days with the Oakland A's, but it's a sentence fragment, not a nickname. But if we really want to stick with the inspirational slogans idea, I think he should've gone with "Vogt In The Fall Midterms."

17. Taylor Williams: "T. Willy"

Is it particularly creative? No. Is it still fun to say? Absolutely. Willy will never not be a fun word.

16. Corey Knebel: "Bird Dog"

"Bird Dog" is still a delightful, perfectly weird nickname. But its reasoning – harkening back to his college days, because he did everything with a smile on his face – just makes me sad since this is a season where Knebel's given us little to smile about.

15. Hernan Perez: "Pepper"

"Pepper" is fun, chippy and suitably peppy nickname, and "Pepper" Perez even sounds like a great name for a Venezuelan comic book character. I have to dock points, however, because I miss "Pan Blanco." Moving up the spice scale though! Maybe if he wracks up a few more Scovilles at the plate, we'll start calling him "Ghost Pepper."

14. Jesus Aguilar: "El Causa"

Aguilar has indeed been "el causa" – or the cause – of much excitement for the Brewers this season, still leading the team in dingers and RBIs. It's not the coolest sounding nickname or the smoothest (it's certainly no Carlos "El Carnicero" Torres from last year) but it's fun. It'd be even more fun, though, if the guy following him in the lineup was nicknamed "El Efecto."

13. Jimmy Nelson: "Big Sweat"

We haven't gotten to see any of Jimmy Nelson's allegedly overzealous exocrine glands this season – and probably won't, even with a potential playoff run. Still, "Big Sweat" is an enjoyable enough nickname. It's not the best – I don't like my pitchers so nervous! – but it's certainly the stinkiest.

12. Junior Guerra: "Cabezon"

"Cabezon" essentially translates out to having a big head. Hopefully this is more in reference to his actual noggin rather than some sort of stubborn dugout behavior. By the way, the supposed largest head in baseball belonged to former Brewer Kevin Mench, who sported a 8 and a fourth hat that earned him the nickname "Shrek." Damn shame he retired well before these jerseys. Would've easily been a top seller – a true nickname all-star.

11. Orlando Arcia: "El Nino"

Whether it reminds you of Robin "The Kid" Yount or of the weather phenomenon, "El Nino" is a strong nickname. Plus, considering we're supposed to get another El Nino weather system this year, it's timely. Truly all the greatest hits from the '90s are back!

10. Manny Pina: "Pineapple"

Again, I'm a sucker for wordplay, so Pina translating his name out to "Pineapple" is enchanting to me. Plus, pineapple is supposedly the only known natural source of the bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down proteins – which is why your tongue feels so weird after eating the fruit and why it makes such a great meat tenderizer. Wait, I've got his nickname for next year: Manny "The Marinade" Pina.

9. Jeremy Jeffress: "Jota Jota"

Points to Jeremy Jeffress for trying to find clever variations on an un-clever nickname. He COULD just go with J.J., but last year he went with "Jay-Jay" and now he's going bilingual with the Spanish version of a double J. (You pronounce it "Hhota.") Props for turning a nickname lemon into limonada.

8. Joakim Soria: "Junior"

I will always be a sucker for old school 1920s mobster style ironic nicknames, like calling the fattest guy in your gang "Skinny Pete," or the tallest guy "Shorty." Or, in this case, one of the older members of the ball club "Junior." He's actually not the oldest guy on the 40-man roster, though, as that title goes to Erik Kratz.

7. Jacob Barnes: "King Cobra"

Screw Indiana Jones and Harry Potter: Snakes are cool. Case in point, "King Cobra" is an awesome nickname. For bonus intimidation points, Barnes should come into each game during Players Weekend muttering in parseltongue.

6. Brent Suter: "The Raptor"

Raptors will always be awesome – no matter how much the "Jurassic World" movies try to declaw them and turn them into our lizard buddies. Though I think Brent Suter's true calling is to go as Lloyd Christmas.

5. Freddy Peralta: "Kaciki"

Peralta hasn't explained this nickname yet, but from some research, either it's a name meaning "ambition, independence, strength, reliability, determination and professionalism" – so awesome – or it's a play on the word "cacique," meaning a Spanish or Latin American boss – so also awesome. Either way, awesome.

4. Travis Shaw: "Mayor-DDC"

Listen, I'm disappointed too! "The Mayor of Ding Dong City" should be the winning nickname every year, no hesitation. But for some odd reason, the MLB forces Shaw to truncate his glorious nickname into this weird contraction that looks like he's the mayor of some boring bureaucratic division of government instead of the mayor of smashing dingers over fences. Come on, Major League Baseball, you let one guy put emojis on the back of his jersey. I think you can give Travis Shaw his entire nickname.

3. Mike Moustakas: "Moose"

You know a nickname is good when, just days after his trade to the Brewers, crowds were already echoing out "Moose." And he wasn't even hitting well yet! Rounded O sounds: the key to a good nickname, apparently.

2. Eric Thames: "Mr. Tee"

Thames already had perfection last season with "Sang Namja," aka a Korean word for "badass." And he here is with perfection again ... almost. I'm sure there's a rights issue that forced our fabled, dinger-smashing, big-bearded, beer-loving folk hero to go with this instead of the true "Mr. T." (I pity the fool who tries to infringe on one's personality rights!) But hey, it's close enough to perfect for me – plus, the guy does have some tremendous T-shirts


1. Jhoulys Chacin: "La Makina"

This nickname's just got everything. It's got a nifty translation, meaning "The Machine" in English, which is pretty baller – and accurate considering his strong season for the Brew Crew on the mound. It's got a dash of cleverness by turning "maquina" into "makina," adding a K in the middle to show off his reign as the team leader in strikeouts. And it's just fun to say. It takes a lot to top Mr. T ... but I think "La Makina" does it for 2018.


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