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Indians Indians Archive Glossary Of Gloss
Written by Paul Cousineau

Paul Cousineau
He's our King of all Monikers, Paulie Cousineau.  He's got a nickname for every player on the Tribe, and loves to incorporate them all into his scribes for us.  Thus, I will get that email every couple days from a reader that says "Swerb ... loved Paulie's latest, but who in the sam hell is 'Fist of Steel'?"  So we like to run this piece every season.  Paul's pet names for the members of the 2008 Indians, and his explanation how they achieved those monikers. 

In my analysis of all things Tribe, I often refer to players by nicknames that have evolved over the years that I have spent putting my thoughts about the Indians into words.

One of the results of this is that readers are sometimes confused as I don't specifically refer to players by the name on their birth certificate (not meant as a dig on Mr. Peralta) unless they realize that The BLC is actually Shin-Soo Choo...that the Fist of Steel is Rafael Betancourt...and so on. Of course, other readers (allegedly) only read FOR the nicknames, so it is a practice not likely to expire any time soon.  
So with that in mind, I figure that it would be a nice public service to provide some sort of glossary of names for the Tribe players that I often use and, if it is not blatantly obvious, the rationale or the evolution of the nickname:  

Grady Sizemore  


Still the gold standard of nicknames that I have bestowed here as the Indians actually ran a promotion last year, complete with Grady in a cape catching a ball, called the "SuperSizemore" bobblehead. Originally meant as a twist on Morgan Spurlock's "SuperSize Me", Grady's emergence as a star brought new meaning to the name.  
Asdrubal Cabrera  


Pretty self-explanatory of this one, even if people aren't thrilled with it's A-Rod-esque unoriginality. Also in the hopper - Drooby Droob Droob (think Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night"), Droobs, and AssDribble (which is what my grandmother truly thought his name was during the playoffs last year, abhorrent to the idea that they could say that on TV).  
Victor Martinez  

Vic the Stick

Stan the Man, Wilt the get the idea  
Travis Hafner  


Bill Selby will forever live in Indians' lore for bestowing this nickname on The Sykestown Slammer (an homage to Hafner's hometown in North Dakota), even if some people feel that there is a deeper meaning, further than simply half-project half-donkey. Maybe THIS is the one my grandma should be concerned about being uttered so frequently on TV.  
Ryan Garko  


Still takes too long to type, but serial poster Cy Slapnicka has been championing this one since Gonnie Garko hit Canal Park. The other ones that will occasionally make the rounds are Gark the Shark, Ryan Garkovich (think Julia Roberts and hexavalent chromium), and Garkomel (The DiaBride's favorite, as she feels that the right side of the infield should be known as
Gargamel and Asrael).  
Jhonny Peralta  


For as much as you would think a player who has spent three full years as the everyday shortstop with a misspelled first name, Peralta doesn't have that one definitive nickname and is usually just referred to by his given name (perhaps it is that misspelling). Honey remains the best nickname I've got as I truly thought that the "J" could be the silent letter as Peralta climbed the minor-league ladder.  
Casey Blake  

The Jaw/The Beard

Depending upon his grooming patterns, Blake remains defined by the squareness of his jaw and what foliage takes up space on it. While some have suggested Lacey Cake (which has a "Caddyshack" feel to it) or even a return to Kasey Blake (he worked hard to get that K out of there), I'm sticking with a reference to the Wichita State alum's mandible.  
Andy Marte  

The Dominican Dandy or AAAAndy MAAAArte

2008 will go a long way to determining if Marte is able to shed the AAAA player tag (get it, 4 A's in Andy and Marte) that some seem determined to attach to him or if he's finally able to realize the potential that we all thought was possible just a few Januarys ago.  
Jason Michaels/David Dellucci  


One of the more popular platoon amalgamations (particularly after Benuardo headed to the Pacific Northwest), the 2 players combine to form one outfielder. If referenced individually, the likely names would include Jason the Wet (how is his hair ALWAYS wet?) or The Looch (not Arnold Jackson's nemesis in "Diff'rent Strokes - that was The Gooch).  
Franklin Gutierrez  

Frank the Tank

Will Ferrell's beer-bonging, Kansas-singing, tranquilizer-dart-to-the-neck character from "Old School" finds a place in RF at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. For purposes of brevity, it could be Gutz. For purposes of levity, it could be Franklin Delano Gutierrez or Franklin Comes Alive (which makes no sense, unless you're down with "Arrested Developmen"...and if you're not, you should be).  
Kelly Shoppach  


C'mon, the guy's a catcher, is short and squatty, and pretty functional.  
Shin-Soo Choo  

Big League Choo

A creation of serial poster rodells, this is the nickname most universally accepted around the web, along with its abbreviated cousin, The BLC. Truthfully, I haven't seen anyone refer to the South Korean OF as anything BUT Big League Choo in about a year.  
Ben Francisco  

The Frisco Kid

Along with The Ben Francisco Treat, it's pretty rare to see Francisco referred to as anything BUT these two nicknames. Minor League guru John Sickels bestowed the name Generalissimo, in reference to the former Spanish dictator of the mid-20th century, but I'm sticking with the lighthearted turns for the player who sticks his tongue out like a little kid while hitting.  
C.C. Sabathia  

The Crooked Cap

So many to choose from, so little time to administer them. The Hefty Lefty, aCCE, Captain Curveball, The Big Fella...we could go on all day. Let's just sit back and enjoy the day that we can complain about the hat that C.C. is wearing cockeyed being our own.  
Fausto Carmona  

The Faustastic One

While El Diablo made a strong run (remember, a Faustian dilemma is a Deal with the Devil) when Fausto burst onto the scene, his sterling performance at the top of the Tribe rotation merited the creation of a new adjective.  
Jake Westbrook  

Jake the Snake

Admittedly not too original for the always steady, somewhat vanilla, sinkerballing RHP and in no way a reference to the WWF wrestler who carried Damien around in a sack. Of course, "The Two Jakes", "Jake and the Fatman", "Jake in Progress", "Jake Braking", and other references pepper titles to articles about Westbrook; but nothing that's ever stuck by way of a regular moniker.  
Paul Byrd  


Like Westbrook, Byrd has never really had a gloss that stuck to least that can be printed in a family-friendly environment. Since I'm no ornithologist, I'm not sure what Byrd is efficient and functional, but ultimately not very pretty while performing its job. If you are a license ornithologist, I'd be much obliged for a suggestion.  
Cliff Lee  

Mr. Five and (f)Lee

A variation on the old "Five and Fly" reference to a starting pitcher that logs five innings and exits the game with a lead, leaving the rest of the game to the bullpen. A rather derogatory notion as the pitcher gets credit for the win despite pitching just over ½ of the game...but a 6.29 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP will bring some venom out.  
Jeremy Sowers  

Whiskey Sowers

Still looking like he should be an intern at some accounting firm, not able to buy a drink at a bar without heavy questioning, the nickname is obviously meant to be tongue in cheek. That is, unless Sowers developed a taste for The Old No. 7 while in Nashville as a Commodore at Vanderbilt. The Jack Daniels' plant in Lynchburg is only about an hour and a half away...  
Aaron Laffey  

Laffey Taffy

Holding off getting too overly optimistic about the young LHP yet, I'll keep "The Babyfaced Bulldog" in my pocket until he's pitched more than 50 innings at the ML level. However, the 4 2/3 IP in Game 6 of the ALCS, when he held the Red Sox lineup scoreless (which nobody else could do at that point) lends credence to that baby face belying a bulldog mentality.  
Adam Miller  

Atom Miller

Um...this one's pretty obvious, though it does always make me think of the Rainier Wolfcastle portrayal of "Radioactive Man" on "The Simpsons", who can't say the hero's tagline, "Up and Atom" because he keeps saying "Up and At Them". High comedy.  
Brian Slocum  

Smoke ‘em Brian Slocum

Listed if for no other reason than to declare that the "Smoke ‘em Brian Slocum Watch" is over.  
Joe Borowski  

The Big Borowski

Thanks to the genius of the Coen Brothers' bowling story being in heavy rotation onFLIX, I'm not going "out of my element", as Donnie might be prone to, with this one. Obviously, JoeBo has evolved as the quick and easy way to refer to the Tribe closer (with its close cousin JoeBlo), but anything that reminds me to have a White Russian is going to get a lot of love.  
Rafael Betancourt  

Fist of Steel

One of my favorite all-time nicknames, Fist of Steel, it goes in concert with Rafael Perez's Fist of Iron as the brilliant take on the song "16 Tons", which exclaims, "If you see me coming, better step aside. A lot of men didn't and a lot of men died. One Fist of Iron, the other of Steel; if the left one doesn't get you, then the right one will". Serial poster Tyler gets full credit for that one, making my Senor Slo-Mo (sadly) pale in comparison.  
Rafael Perez  

Fist of Iron

See Betancourt, Rafael.  

Substitute Senor Slo-Mo with The Scarecrow and...we're done.  
Jensen Lewis  


This has been a recent bestowal as I can't figure out how to capitalize on the fact that there is a furniture store in NYC named Jensen-Lewis.
No, seriously.  
Tom Mastny  

Nasty Boy

Born in Indonesia and sometimes going by the name of The Mastnicator, Nasty Boy Tom Mastny has a certain ring to it, particularly because he looks like a 12-year-old with a hat that's three sizes too big for his head when he's innocently looking in a sign.  
Hopefully this little exercise was helpful in identifying some of the shorthand that I use in different pieces. I know that some of the players weren't included, but some of the guys I know too little about to assign them a nickname (Kobayashi, Carroll); while others just don't interest me at all (Fultz).  
Always a pleasure to hear Hammy and Hegan on the radio announcing Grapefruit League action. It provides yet another sign of spring, regardless of how my back feels after shoveling far too many times over the last few days.

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