According to sanctioned tradition, the player comes first and then the nickname. That is, when concocting a nom de baseball, we typically ponder the player in question and then assign him a nickname that reflects some native trait of interest or — if we’re feeling galactically uninspired — knock a syllable or three off his actual name and reward ourselves with refreshing liquor. Given the unremarkable catalog of present baseball nicknames, perhaps it’s time to reconsider the process.
And so begins our grand experiment. First, we shall ponder the denotations, connotations, implications, intimations, and incriminations of a given nickname. Then, while balancing these concerns like sexy Lady Justice, we shall consider the prototypes of yore. What baseball-ists from the game’s gauzy past best embody the various denotations, connotations, implications, intimations, and incriminations of the nickname that we are examining like a tireless appraiser of gemstones? And finally, based on the indomitable will of the people, we shall assign the nickname to a current player. Let us begin …
The first nickname held up for scrutiny, ridicule and or clammy embrace is “Bad Miracle.”
Denotations, Connotations, Implications, Intimations, and Incriminations: “Bad” suggests something bad. Or “bad” can also mean “good,” as the kids who need to pull up their pants are wont to say. “Miracle” means something good. Or it can also mean something bad. For instance, the “Miracle on Ice,” was good for the Americans, bad for the Soviets and value-neutral to the Glasnost.
Prototypes from Baseball’s Gauzy Past: Someone like Lenny Dykstra was bad in the sense that he’s a sociopath. He’s a miracle in the sense that he was good at baseball. Our patron saint Dick Allen was “bad” like the kids say, in that he smoked in the dugout and once punched a teammate in the chompers. He was a miracle in the sense that he was good at baseball. Mark Prior was bad in the sense that the outputs of his vast potential are best likened to a murdered body. He was a miracle in the sense that he had that previously mentioned vast potential in the first place. Or it could be someone like Tagg Bozied, who, as a lantern-jawed Son of the Republic with large body muscles that suggest the frequent lifting of heavy objects over his breast, chest, breastbone, neck, and head, looked like someone who would be good at baseball. So: Miracle. Yet he was not, at least by the standards of major leaguers who earn nicknames. So: Bad.
Guiding, Determinative Query: What current major-league player should be nicknamed “Bad Miracle”?
Please, sinewy, glistening readers, take it away …