Our ongoing quest, in the manner of a noble knight-errant, is to assign cool nicknames to players rather than indulge in the tired paradigm of assigning cool players nicknames. Before we launch the latest installment, however, a trip through our Hall of Honour, which, as you surely anticipated, is made entirely of fine Corinthian leather …
“Bad Miracle” – Wily Mo Peña
“Captain Black Tobacco” – John Danks
“$45 Couch” – Yuniesky Betancourt
“Liván Hernández” – Liván Hernández
“Frog in the Pot” – Carlos Zambrano
“Aqua Velva Man” – Chase Utley
“Victorian Sex Rebel” – John Axford
And the nickname now hanging perilously in the balance? It’s “Good, Round Friend”!
Denotations, Connotations, Implications, Intimations, and Incriminations:
Near the end of Arnold Lobel’s “Owl At Home,” a timeless rumination on a sexless and epicene bachelor, the titular character refers to the moon as his “Good, Round Friend.” And so, on this fine day, the NotGraphs collective shall also refer to someone as “Good, Round Friend.” And this someone shall be a ballplayer.
This ballplayer should be rather large in frame and bearing and should also be an amiable and charming hail-fellow-well met. Or, at the least, he should impress you as such within the dreamscape of your fondest imaginings, since you will never meet him and he cares not a whit whether you live or are murdered with a shillelagh. So: portly and awesome. Like Falstaff. Not like a self-important tenor.
Prototypes from Baseball’s Gauzy Past:
Babe Ruth was fat and convivial. So he works. David Wells works, I suppose, particularly since, insofar as the qualities of a “Good, Round Friend” are concerned, a case of the gout is self-recommending. Terry Forster? Ray King? The healthy preponderance of all middle relievers?
Guiding, Determinative Query:
What current major-league player should be nicknamed “Good, Round Friend”?
The convention floor, which is, appropriately enough, brimming with good, round friends, is open for nominations …