Our ongoing quest, in the manner of a noble knight-errant, is to assign players to cool nicknames rather than indulge in the tired, shopworn paradigm of assigning nicknames to cool players.
Last (and first) time out, Wily Mo Peña fought off Milton Bradley and others (with his fists!), scored a narrow plurality and earned the nickname “Bad Miracle.”
The nickname up for grabs in this episode? It’s “Captain Black Tobacco”!
First, let us acknowledge the inspiration for the nickname “Captain Black Tobacco” …
Sufficiently inspired? Most excellent. Now let us probe the deeper meanings of “Captain Black Tobacco”!
Denotations, Connotations, Implications, Intimations, and Incriminations:
It sounds evil, so it could be a player who’s simply a nefarious character. Or it could be a player whose manner, bearing, carriage, menu of skills, virility, and large muscular muscles make him an intimidating presence on the field of play. Or, as the “Tobacco” part of the formulation might imply, it could be a player who was a famous prisoner to his vices. Or it could be delivered with a Wicker Park/Williamsburg resident’s sense of irony: i.e., the player nicknamed “Captain Black Tobacco” is a God-fearing paladin wholly above such a moniker. Hence the comedy gold.
Prototypes from Baseball’s Gauzy Past:
Nefarious character? Talk about wandering into a cornucopia … Carl Mays was a huge asshole and also killed a man on the diamond. Or Hal Chase. Or Ty Cobb. Intimidating presence on the field of play? Frank Thomas was large, muscular and very good. Bo Diaz, to my child’s eyes, looked vaguely murderous. Famous prisoner to his vices? Talk about wandering into a cornucopia … Mickey Mantle drank more than Kinsley Amis with nothing left to lose. And Pete Alexander drank more than that. Al Martin had as many wives (at the same time!) as the Phillies have championships. Babe Ruth did everything all the time and surely had the clap. Sense of irony? Dan Quisenberry was the opposite of evil and menacing. Despite phonetic temptations, “Quisling” would also not fit him in the least. Hence the comedy gold.
Guiding, Determinative Query: What current major-league player should be nicknamed “Captain Black Tobacco”?
The floor, gorgeous surgeons, is open for nominations …
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