Before I say anything about our third baseman of the future (boy, I sure hope Bodes can flip Vinny for a durable, reliable starting pitcher!), I just want to say that John Patterson, for all his success so far, seems like the kind of guy who'd get lit up by Koreans. And I have my doubts about Chad Cordero in the department, as well.
The Nationals surprised no one today, drafting UVA third baseman Ryan Zimmerman with the fourth overall pick in the MLB draft, and I say "Huzzah!" I say this both because I'm excited that we have a real, live prospect to follow and because there was a "King of the Hill" about a Renaissance Faire on tonight. Huzzah, good sir, wouldst thou partake of mine blogge?
Zimmerman's on the fast track. He's already signed, which, given that it violates MLB rules to negotiate with undrafted players, is a real testament to Jim Bowden's efficiency -- he made the deal mere minutes after drafting Zimmerman. Ryan will soon join our AA affiliate in Harrisburg. He's got premier defensive skills, a good bat, and solid makeup; he'll probably be fine no matter what anyone else does. But there is one way we can help him out and make ourselves feel like a pack of ravenous buzz machines. Ryan Zimmerman needs a nickname.
Think about it. Where would William "Refrigerator" Perry, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Vlad the Impaler, Oil Can Boyd, and Caligula be without their awesome nicknames? I'll tell you: they would all be cleaning my bathroom right now. Every single one of them. To a man. If we want our new favorite third baseman to ascend to superstardom and stay out of my bathroom, he needs something catchy. Some guys can get by just using their first name as a nickname. Rickey for instance, or ¡Livan!. Well, take it from me that Ryan is not a dynamic, exciting first name, even when you put an upside-down exclamation point in front of it. And we have to be careful that it's not too phony-sounding. Remember when Reebok or whoever tried to get everyone to call Allen Iverson "The Answer"? Not only did it not work, but Iverson wound up getting sued by some dude who claimed he came up with the idea, such as it was.
Back at the end of May, I suggested "Dutch" as Zimmerman's nickname. It takes us back to a more innocent, less sensitive time, when nicknames were based on ethnic background (Irish, Chief, The Big Dago) or physical attribute (Lefty, Dummy). "Dutch" was applied to players of German descent, which I'm assuming Zimmerman is. Besides the throwback aspect, it just sounds pretty cool, if I do say so myself. And I do. Frequently.
So what you can do? Plenty. Flood the message boards, but spell some stuff wrong and use infrequent punctuation so no one gets suspicious. Call Marc Sterne's show on Saturday morning -- he'll talk to you for the whole show if you can convince him that you're the guy he was drunkenly talking baseball with the night before. The Washington Post's website hosts three baseball chats a week, and if you give yourself a wacky location and butter up the writers, they will run your questions. Go with something like, "Truth or Consequences, NM: Hey, Boz. I love your baseball stuff -- you're not afraid to tell a good story no matter what. You know, like if some of it's not true. How long do think Dutch Zimmerman will spend in the minors? He's already better than Castilla, and Brendan Harris has apparently been judged and found wanting." He won't remember who Harris is, but I bet he'll like the nickname. Try it with Svrluga and Sheinin too. Kiss ass, and you get responses. That works here, too.