Sunday, July 15, 2007

Where Have You Gone Ducky "Lead Legs" Cronin?

Mark McGuire of the Albany Times-Union notes the crisis that is the lack of baseball nicknames these days. For what it's worth, I'm with him. There once was a time where teams went seven or eight deep with good nicknames, and now you're lucky if even a team's biggest star has one that isn't some brainless name-chop a la "A-Rod" or "Jonesy."

I think McGuire does miss one thing, however:

It's counterintuitive: With all the electronic and print media out there, with every hard-core fan blogging on their idols beloved and fallen, you'd think baseball would be swimming in nicknames. Instead, there's a drought.

Actually, it makes perfect sense. During the golden age of nicknames, there was usually only one or two guys, tops -- the local paper's beat reporter and maybe a columnist -- who held the keys to the kingdom. If they wanted to name someone "Smokey" or "Turkey" or "Baby Bull," they need only mention it once or twice and it stuck. Now, with so many voices chattering, none are all that authoritative, and thus no one can really make a name stick.

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