Pistachio, Uncle Justice and Old Butterfly: These are the 10 best Mandarin baseball nicknames
Too often we've seen the best and brightest just be given a first initial-hyphen-first-syllable-of-last-name or some silly "Mr. _________" name.
Fortunately, baseball-mad fans in Taiwan are here to help. They've bestowed current and former MLB stars with a wide variety of creative nicknames, some of which are even more creative when translated into English. Ten of the best monikers are below -- may we all take inspiration from these Eastern naming traditions:
10. Pedro Martinez - God's Right Hand
I mean, this one is obvious.
9. Andrew McCutchen - King of Pirates
Original spelling: 海賊王
Though this name comes from a Japanese comic, "One Piece," when it's translated into Mandarin it means "King of the Pirates." It also happens to be perfectly fitting:
Even better, the name of the pirate in the comic is Gol D. Roger and Pirates announcer Dan Brown announces "Raise the Jolly Roger" after victories. Coincidence? You should know better than to think there is any such thing as a coincidence.
8. Munenori Kawasaki - Pistachio
Original spelling: 開心果
While in America we tend to give players masculine, warrior-like nicknames like "Ridge Largemeat" and "Thick McRunFast," the Chinese fans turned this on its head when they nicknamed the dancing wonder Kawasaki, "Pistachio." It's also because Pistachio translates to "Happy nut," which is a perfect representation of Kawasaki's boundless, child-like enthusiasm.
7. Brian McCann - Uncle Justice
Original Spelling: 公道伯
With the greatest name for a superhero that doesn't yet exist, McCann has been gifted with this name for his ready willingness to stand up for the unwritten rules of the game.
The only other question: Will Uncle Justice appear in DC Comic's "Suicide Squad?" I mean, it can't be worse than Jared Leto as the Joker, right?
6. Tim Lincecum - American Hank Chen
Original Spelling: 美國陳漢典
This one is really simple: Comedian Hank Chen not only looks a little like Lincecum, but has appeared on TV doing the Giants pitcher's wind-up.
No word on if Chen's nickname is the Chinese Tim Lincecum or if Lincecum is planning on replicating any of Chen's act.
5. R.A. Dickey - Old Butterfly
Named for both his age and the fact that his knuckleball dances and flutters like an old butterfly at a wedding, there is one other similarity between the hurler and the insect: They both lack a UCL. I think -- I'm not an insectologist.
4. Kris Bryant - The Boss
Bryant has already picked up quite the nickname for a rookie ballplayer. But while the name is partially because of his playing style, the other reason is that Kobe Bryant's nickname is "The Boss." Since they are both K. Bryants, it just makes it easier to combine them.
Plus, I assume facing Kris Bryant as a pitcher is like playing the boss level of a video game.
3. Stephen Strasburg - Genius Strasburg
Original Spelling: 天才小史
Like with Halladay, Strasburg's strong play earned him the nickname of "Genius." It's also because between starts, Strasburg moonlights as a NASA intern.
2. Hong-Chih Kuo - Phoenix
Kuo had two Tommy John surgeries, an additional elbow surgery for bone chips and was on the DL five different times in his big league career. Despite all this, Kuo kept rising from the ashes like a phoenix, finishing his career with a 3.73 ERA and a 10.6 K/9 ratio.
1. Giancarlo Stanton - Freakish Strength Man
Original Spelling: 怪力男
Of course, the top can belong to only one man. One freakishly strong man. Honestly, when watching Stanton crush pitches like this:
Is there really any better nickname out there? From now on, I will only refer to Stanton as "Freakish Strength Man."
Well, America, it's time to up our nickname game. Wouldn't you agree?