On PEBA Nicknames

Updated: August 23, 2019
I’ll be frank.  I hate putting together analytical work.  It bores me.  I want color.  I want to look at the world as a three year old looks at the world – everything is mine to devour either with my mouth or with finger-paint and mud covered hands.  I don’t want it in a box.  If it’s in a box, I want it out of the box — Now!  I don’t want it organized.  I want the wild mountain lion peering at the world from his perch in a twisted old tree – oh, the possibilities, the wild scenarios!  Give me the mountain lion!  I want to pet it.  Or eat it.  I just want it!
But, good god, here I am, placing before you, my gracious reader, a work of analytics.  My dearest apologies.


On PEBA Nicknames

My feet ain’t got nothing to do with my nickname, but when folks get it in their heads that a feller’s got big feet, soon the feet start looking big.
— Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige


Upon inspection of baseball organizations, the prevalence of nicknames given, or rightly earned, by ballplayers is often in direct correlation to its current success.  I did not seek out this information.  It merely fell upon my lap as I delved into my humble Shisa ballclub and found a grand total of zero ballplayers with any form of nickname.  Upon further research, none had been given any form of moniker as a child by friends or enemies.  They all, boringly, were called, always, by the name scrawled on their birth certificate.

Okinawa’s two best hitters this year, according to some Wizard-of-Oz, Behind-the-Curtain stat known collectively as WAR, both have names that should actually be considered nicknames, but they are not – Tom Patton and Jerry Rutledge.  One would think, as I well did, that Tom was a nickname of Thomas and Jerry was a nickname of Gerald, but, no, that was the name written on their birth certificate.  When Mrs. Willifredo Patton was asked about this transgression, she stated: “I knew a Thomas in school, he peed his pants a lot.  I didn’t want no desk-wetter as a child.”

Willifredo’s comment aside, a baseball team cannot win without camaraderie, and camaraderie comes from nicknames.  As any coach worth his salt knows, you tear down egos by building a nickname on them.  On the flip side, you build up timid ballplayers by morphing their strengths into their new nickname.  A Joey is never a Joey on a winning ballclub.  A Joey is a “Hulk” for that one time he smashed his bat on the plate after a called strike he disliked and, on the next pitch, proceeded to hammer one to the gap.  Joey – ha – no one wants to be a Joey.

As far as the 2029 Okinawa Shisa are concerned, it’s no wonder they can’t climb their way atop the wild card standings.  They are a team full of nobodies in a world full of somebodies, at least in terms of nicknames.  And, it’s not just Okinawa.  If your team is awful, it’s your own fault for not loading it with a bunch of guys with nicknames like “Flyswatter” or “Whiskey McWhiskeyface” or “Donkey-Socks”.

Below is the extreme scientific research I did to prove my point.  These are the current division standings with the number of guys with nicknames on each team.  It’s not difficult to see the direct correlation between division placement and the number of nicknamed guys.  My apologies if I just broke OOTP  (It would be a perfect thesis if only the Wind Dancers would either play up to their nicknamical projections or trade away their nicknamed players).

I would do more sensitive research into this wild nickname phenomenon, but I’m bored with it.  Plus, I need to trade for some nicknamed guys or call up Milkman or Two Face from the minors.