I have a group of guys that I watch the Cincinnati Reds with. When we’re not watching them together, an endless string of texts seem to go back and forth between these guys and me. We have more inside jokes about the Reds roster than I can even begin to explain. We’ve also nicknamed a lot of the roster with affectionately stupid monikers. This is a group you’ll want to remember forever, so I’m going to put them down so you can enjoy them too and they can hopefully spread like wildfire. I’ll give credit where it’s do with an explanation.
Ryan Hanigan: “Backside Bert”, “Bert Hanigan”, “The Omelette Catcher”
We were in Cincinnati for a bachelor party. My buddy Smokey already took a liking to Hanigan because he hits everything accidentally backside, and if any member of the Reds squad was likely to wear his jersey to the bar to prove he was actually a Red, it would be Hanigan. One of the guys at the bachelor party was over-served and passed out fully clothed. That gentleman who will go without being named had his head shaved. We began to call him “Bert” from Bert & Ernie, because he had a little bit of hair left on his head like the Sesame Street character. Pretty soon we started calling the act he had committed “getting Bert Hanigan wasted”. The real Hanigan probably only drinks draft beer. He probably bags a good amount of overweight chicks. We also ate breakfast at First Watch in downtown Cincinnati and the waitress had an endless string of stories about Hanigan, what he ordered, his family and so forth.
Jose Arredondo – “ArreBOMBO”
I get full credit for this one, and it’s mostly a word play. Mostly. He’s only given up a few home runs. He gave up one tonight. Whenever I see that he gave up an earned run, I check closely to see if it was a long ball. For having such electric stuff, he does seem to get pounded pretty good. My buddies really like this one, it seemed to stick from the first time I said it.
Alfredo Simon – “Everday Alfredo Simon”
For some reason we like that token long-man in the bullpen who Dusty Baker seems to treat like a piece of used farm equipment. We sympathize with him. Simon has turned into that guy. He has really embraced the role and has pretty nasty stuff for a guy who just eats innings when the Reds are losing. He’s logged 46.2 insignificant innings and has a 2.31 ERA. He’s came a long way from murdering guys in the Dominican Republic.
Sam LeCure – “LeCuurve”
I don’t know. This one’s really dumb (credit to my buddy Tyler). It stuck. The reasoning behind it is so stupid I can’t even begin to type it; but it has something to do with the way the play-by-play guy in Sports Talk Baseball for the Sega Genesis says “currrrrrve….swing n’ a miss”.
Zack Cozart – “Magic Zack”
A little while back, Tyler’s wife and my wife made us attend the movie Magic Mike. It’s about a group of male strippers. It wasn’t a pretty sight. It’s something that I’m not proud to admit but I will say it turned out to be a better plot than I thought it would be. To get to the point, in the middle of the movie I get bored and ask my buddy Tyler if any Red were to be a male stripper, which one would it be. He thinks about it for literally only a half a second, and responds without even looking over; “Cozart”. This is compounded by his already well-documented love for Cozart. Tyler is a college coach. He uses coachspeak and often talks about a player having a ‘high-ass’ which means the guy looks extremely fit and athletic and like he doesn’t have an ass. Tyler’s wife also said Cozart was cute long ago, and Tyler always talks about Cozart getting whatever women he wants. Forget the fact that I’ve reminded him many times that Cozart is happily married.
Jay Bruce – “Jayne Bruce”, “Jay Wiggles”, “Jay Breeze”
My friends know he’s my favorite player, and they seem to delight when he’s slumping and I’m agonizing over it. They poke fun with these nicknames. One night at the bar when Bruce broke a long drought with a home run, my buddy says with a straight face “looks like ol’ Jayne got ahold of one there,” and walks away without saying a word. “Wiggles” because he looks nervousy and fidgety in the box in between pitches.
Bronson Arroyo – “Bunny Arroyo”, “The MILF Hunter”
I don’t even know. Bunny Arroyo has been around since like 2007 or 2008. The other one is self explanatory if you know anything about the guy.
Miguel Cairo – “Miguel Gyro”
Credit to Smokey on this stupid one. He also likes to comment on how Cairo looks like he’s running in the box when he swings the bat.
Drew Stubbs – “Drew Nubbs”
Stubbs can’t hit for shit and he never will. This is perfect. Tyler had this one.
Homer Bailey – “HB Moonwalker”
Follow me on this one. Tyler is at my house playing one of the MLB2k games on the XBox. He about hangs himself from all the game breaking glitches but presses onward. I’m doing work when he says, “now would you look at this shit”. I look up to see pixelated Homer Bailey, gliding backwards on the edge of the Reds dugout after recording the third out. It was the most hideous thing I’ve ever seen in a long line of hideous things that I saw in that video game. We love Homer Bailey. The longer he’s around, the more he’s like part of the family. This is a beloved nickname for one of our most beloved Reds.
Mike Leake – “Turd Leake”
Usually, but not guaranteed to have a theft joke thrown in there. Leake doesn’t deserve much more than a sentence. We don’t like him, we don’t have faith in him.
Brandon Phillips – “Clown Phillips”
Another one of our favorites because he’s been part of the family for so long. You come to love the very most flaws of your family members. He gets picked off on the bases talking to Jimmy Rollins. He plays games with himself on the infield. He catches fly balls behind his head because he gets bored. He re-invents ways to make putouts and assists on the fly. He’s always ribbing someone or something or giggling. Once threatened to steal Dusty’s toothpick. Also, I must give mention to his infamous ‘pinata swing’. It’s a hitters count, and Phillips gets a fastball way up in the zone. He’s not going to take it. He’s going to hack at that shit with everything he’s got. Like he’s trying to knock all the candy out of the damn pinata. That’s something a clown does at a party, isn’t it?
Dusty Baker – “Buffalo Baker,” (shortened more recently to “Buff Baker”)
In college there was an older African-American war veteran who would be at the bar when we got there. He was there usually when we got dragged out. He was known only as “Buffalo” and we later found out when he died his real name was Louis “Buffalo” Banks. He had spectacles just like Dusty. He chewed on unlit cigars instead of toothpicks. He drank anything that had alcohol in it. He had a yell that we called the Buffalo call, where he would go “A-Whooooooooooooo-ooooo-oooooo” at the top of his lungs. He was constantly telling any of the girls that we had in our company that they were “one of the Buffalo’s Angels”. He once said that he “was fucked up like a mushroom sandwich”. He is a legend that was a shepherd for us passing into manhood. He was at my 21st birthday. I feel like Dusty Baker has equally ushered me into manhood, albeit less circus. I have all the credit for this one, and it really stuck. The first time I called our skipper ‘Buffalo Baker’ the boys loved it.
Todd Frazier – “The Toddfather”
My wife grew up near him. They attended the same baseball camp. When I heard that Todd Frazier was good at ping-pong and everything else he wanted, I knew instantly it was true from stories I’ve heard while frequenting the New Jersey area. This guy can do whatever he wants, and he gets whatever he wants. He does it ugly sometimes, but he’s just an athlete. He’s a ballplayer. He’s got “it”. I know when I watch Todd Frazier he’s going to succeed both short and long-term. Plus you have the whole New York/New Jersey/Sinatra/Godfather/Mafia tie-in which is cool.
George Grande – “Grande” (pronounced how someone would in a Mexican way, rhymes with ‘Bombay’ almost)
We just can’t get rid of this friggin’ guy can we? Every time I think he’s retired he resurfaces like a case of the clap. He’s like that eccentric but benign uncle who travels to exotic locations and brings back strange souvenirs and artifacts. He sometimes invents things. We spend a lot more time making fun of the various ‘Grande-isms’ where he talks up the other team and says stupid shit when we’re getting pounded. But we love George.
Devin Mesoraco – “Little Goomba”, “Mendozaraco”
I’m sure he’ll turn into a really nice offensive player in that park, but he’s not there yet. You cannot deny that he looks like either a woman in drag without all the hair or a Goomba from Mario Brothers.
Ryan Ludwick – “Slugwick”
All the credit on this one goes to Smokey. Not sure there’s one more perfectly named than this. When he hits them, they aren’t cheapies. He’s carved a place of affection forever in the hearts of our little Reds fans group. If this is his only tour of duty with the Reds it won’t be forgotten.
Mike Costanzo – “K-Stanzo”
I think I covered it all right here. It was fun while it lasted I guess, but we won’t have the opportunity to use this much more.
Scott Rolen – “Old Man Rolen”, “Scotty Ballgame”
I don’t know about the second one, but I got a text one time that said ‘Rolen is so old, he has to pee. He needs to get in from the field and he needs to relieve his weak, old blatter. That’s how old he is’. It stuck, and it’s true.
Logan Ondrusek – “Logan OnGOONsek”
The dude is like 6 foot 6 isn’t he? He’s definitely a goon.
Bill Bray – “Bill Bad Body”
Doesn’t look much like a professional athlete. Small upper body. Short. The high socks don’t help.
That covers the 2012 group. For now, anyways.
Aaron Harang – “Guys a doosh”
Credit to Bobby B. for this one. I never understood why Harang was his whipping boy. Good outing or bad, he ranted to me about Harang.
Paul Janish – “Jane-ish” (pronounced like it looks)
I constantly talked up Janish, the Rice Owl product. I talked up his defense. I talked up his throwing arm and how many runs he saved. And all Tyler could ever do was talk about how he hit like a woman. He was right, and Jane-ish is now departed.
Ramon Hernandez – “Razor Ramon”, “Razor”
I credit my buddy Craig for the first time I heard it. I think Reds nation as a whole had this one though.
Carlos Fisher – We had a nickname for this guy, but I was too inebriated when we made it up to recall it.
Francisco ‘Coco’ Cordero – “148. Cordero”
I live next to a Mexican joint we’ve been going to since the college years. There’s a dish on the menu that’s numbered ‘148’. It’s Pollo Nayarit. You order up that number of grease, cheese, and chicken and it will be out on your table faster than Cordero can blow a lead. Plus we always drank margaritas and talked about how we could see Cordero in sombrero there bringing out the meals as a server when his baseball career was over. Yes, we are losers.