Rays Manager Joe Maddon ejected in extra-innings? Oh, man, I hope the ESPN crew brought this footage out for the occasion.

Here’s Bobby V talking about the time he was ejected in the 12th inning and snuck back into the dugout in a fake mustache and (real) sunglasses:

Anyway, today’s box score isn’t up yet, but today’s Annotated Box Score is ready to go. There’s an A and there’s a B:

A.

This is about the slow evolution of one of baseball’s most curious nicknames.

In 2006, Joel Sherman wrote in the New York Post that the Rays may consider trading Carl Crawford. A blog called Rays Index picked up the story and asked,

If Carl Crawford is available, what would it take to pry him off the hands of the Rays? Keep in mind that C. C. is young (25), on the verge of being a perennial All-Star, and is signed to a modest contract through 2010. Carl Crawford is The Perfect Storm for an organization. And that makes him an extremely valuable commodity.

The post was headlined: Carl Crawford Is The Perfect Storm.

Five years later, this is where we are:

Baseball-Reference is the absolute resource for any baseball question, so this makes it official. Carl Crawford’s nickname is something that you’ve never heard of.

How did this happen?

Cork Gaines was the writer for the Rays Index, and he told me that he believes that 2006 article was the first to use the phrase regarding Crawford. It’s not a super natural nickname. After all, it referred at the time to a pretty narrow situation — specifically, Crawford’s contract status relative to his service time and the Rays’ financial limitations and uncompetitive position — and not to, say, Crawford’s speed/power/defense combination. Calling him the Perfect Storm years later would be a bit like calling Tim Lincecum “Super 2″ or something.

That post was picked up by a larger blog, Baseball Musings. That put it in the LexisNexis database. And, Gaines says, “it caught on with Rays fans in the online community to a certain extent. But it died down a bit in the last couple of years.” As it would, since the storm situation passed. Other than the Baseball Musings post, it had never been used in a publication that appears in LexisNexis.

But in late 2009 or early 2010, Baseball-Reference added it to Crawford’s page.

“Most of the time a nickname gets added when somebody writes in and tells us we’re missing one, at which point I research it and see if it’s being widely used online or in the media,” said Neil Paine, who manages the nickname database for the site. “Many are of dubious validity, but I’ll pick out some interesting ones we haven’t seen before and run them through the same research process.”

Once it reached that stage, it picked up the momentum necessary to keep it official for good.

So while his nickname is “The Perfect Storm,” he’s been more of a cold front.

– Mike Fine, Patriot-Ledger, 4/30/2011

And

Given that his nickname is “The Perfect Storm,” Carl Crawford’s arrival in Boston came about like a Nor’easter that slipped past Harvey Leonard.

–Mike Fine, Patriot-Ledger, 1/31/2011

And

It is perfectly reasonable to expect “The Perfect Storm,” as Crawford was known in Tampa Bay, to repeat, and hopefully improve, on those numbers.

– Scott Martin, Morning Sentinel, 12/14/2010

And

Carl Crawford’s ‘Perfect Storm’ Hits Boston: Can It Deluge the Pinstripes?

– John Cate, Bleacher Report, 12/9/2010

Gaines used it again for a story during the 2010 playoffs.

And then, most significantly, the player himself — and his agent — embraced the nickname:

Part of agent Brian Peters’ free-agent sales pitch for Carl Crawford involved giving iPads to select owners and GMs from about 15 clubs — iPads pre-loaded with a video of Crawford titled, “The Perfect Storm.”

– Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports, 4/11/2011

R.J. Anderson, who ran DRaysBay and now writes for Baseball Prospectus, told me he’d never heard the nickname before it showed up on B-Ref, and the comments on that site — here, here and here, for instance — suggest Rays fans were as baffled as anybody when the name started showing up in the past year. But none of that matters now. Carl Crawford is the Perfect Storm.

(If anybody else has any information about the nickname, let me know in the comments. I’m interested in filling in the gaps. This is important.)

B.

Baseball-Reference, by the way. If I’m listing the great advancements to baseball enjoyment during my lifetime, it would probably go something like:

5. AT&T Park

4. Pedro Martinez

3. Fantasy baseball

2. MLB.tv

1. Baseball-Reference

The site has everything, and it’s clear and navigable and just keeps adding amazing features. Can’t say enough about it. Please give them money.

Nicknames are probably the site’s greatest challenge, though. Nicknames are so fluid, especially on the web. Is “CarGo” a nickname, or just something people type? Is it a nickname if Razzball calls Mark Reynolds “Mini-Donkey,” or just a punchline? And most nicknames in this era aren’t nicknames in the traditional sense, but diminutives. Miguel Tejada gets “Miggy” listed as his nickname, but Miguel Cabrera doesn’t. In fact, the typical major leaguer’s “nickname” in the clubhouse is either the first syllable of his last name, or the first syllable of his first name, or the first syllable of either his first or his last name but with “-ie” added at the end. Miggy. Figgy. Sosh. Kotch. Weave. Downsy. So on.

And, as noted above, we have an awful lot of dubious nicknames floating around, like the Perfect Storm.

So. Here are four nicknames that you can read all about on Baseball Reference but almost certainly never hear or use.

Jacoby Ellsbury: Tacoby Bellsbury

Apparent origin: In 2007, Ellsbury stole a base during the World Series, winning a free taco for everybody in America who isn’t afraid to eat Taco Bell. A Boston Globe reader named Jeff Dockum submitted the nickname on Boston.com.

Use it in a sentence from Ken Burns Baseball: “He seemed destined to become a shirt-maker like the other boys, who taunted him with the nickname, Tacoby Bellsbury.”

Frequency of use in respectable press: Nine instances on LexisNexis, most recently in July 2009.

(Note: Why isn’t he called The Splendid Sprinter?)

Todd Helton: The Toddfather

Apparent origin: It refers to a commercial Todd Helton did; it spread in popularity on Purple Row. Pre-dates July 2008 at least.

Frequency of use in respectable press:

Use it in a sentence from Ken Burns’ Baseball: “Between 1920 and 1930, Adolph Hitler was jailed for trying to overthrow the German government. James Joyce published Ulysses. In America, women won the right to vote. Prohibition was imposed, and the jazz age began. Wyatt Earp, Woodrow Wilson, and Candy Cummings — the inventor of the curveball — died. So did the Toddfather, who asked that his headstone be inscribed, HERE LIES A MAN WHO BATTED .300.”

Ricky Romero: RR Cool Jay

Apparent origin: Not sure. Blue Jay Hunter used it in July 2009 — when Romero had made just 12 career starts — and didn’t correct a commenter who gave him credit for it. But I’m not sure this is the moment of creation.

Use it in a sentence from Ken Burns’ Baseball: “He was a parade all by himself. A burst of dazzle and jingle. Santa Claus, drinking his whisky straight and groaning with a belly ache. What R.R. Cool Jay is comes down one generation, handing it to the next, as a national heirloom.”

Frequency of use in respectable press:

Bronson Arroyo: Saturn Nuts

Apparent origin: According to Sons of Sam Horn, it comes from a Curt Schilling post on SoSH during the 2004 postseason. “FWIW I take the kid Friday night, he’s got nuts the size of Saturn.”

Use it in a sentence from Ken Burns’ Baseball: “In 1910, William Howard Taft became the first president ever to attend opening day, and he saw a novel sight: a victory by the Washington Senators over the Philadelphia Athletics. It was an aberation. The mighty Athletics went on to take the pennant and the series that year. They were a remarkable team, sparked by the fine clutch pitching of Albert Bender, who was a Chipawa Indian and therefore known as Saturn Nuts.”

Frequency of use in respectable press:

Sam Miller is a baseball writer who covers the Angels for the Orange County Register. He is on Twitter.

Comments (2)

  1. Who can forget Hideki Okajima : “The Kyoto Protocol”? Everytime he comes out of the ‘pen Tito ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

    Okay that never caught on, but I certainly tried.

  2. “My baby, she’s a Chipawa.”

    - Joba “Saturn Nuts” Chamberlain

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