Uncle Skeleton, Eight-Headed Dragon and the other amazing Mandarin baseball nicknames
You aren't truly a star until you've been given a nickname, whether you're The Man, the Kid, or Big Sexy.
But the nickname is not just an American phenomenan. Taiwanese fans have their very own nickname system. Fans of the Chinese Professional Baseball League, or CPBL, have their very own nickname system. And just as many English language nicknames are based on puns, these nicknames are also largely based on the player names' phonetic similarity to Mandarin words. Thanks to some amazing coincidences between the two languages, these nicknames are also absolutely amazing.
Rob Liu, who runs CPBLStats.com -- one of the greatest English-language information sources on the league -- spoke to MLB.com from his part-of-the-year home in New Zealand to introduce us to this glorious world of nicknames, and to give a little more info for some of them.
Though these nicknames may not be as popular with non-baseball fans the way The Splendid Splinter is in the States, Liu says, "If you are really into baseball, they will know these sorts of names."
Here are some of the best. We've included the Mandarin spelling of each nickname and its pronunciation to help illuminate their lore.
Bartolo Colon's nickname in Taiwan is 8-headed dragon. I just want to share that. pic.twitter.com/tNTAYqTDvd— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) April 16, 2018
"In the business world in Taiwan, if you're a chairman, they always use your last name and add 'Dom.' So, if you're Lin, you're Lin-Dom."
"This is more for Pujols' performance and the way he plays than how it sounds." Note: It's also a play on his American nickname, The Machine.
Justin Morneau: Ferocious Bull 猛牛 (Meng Niou)
"Morneau is a ferocious bull and Morneau hit well for the organization. So, you put two and two together."
Chi-Chi Gonzalez and
"Whenever those two have a matchup, the people of Taiwan call them Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers. Because in Taiwan, we call Chip and Dale, Chi Chi and Didi."
It's not just MLB players who have amazing nicknames. The CPBL stars have their own, too -- though fewer are based on the sound of their name.
Wang Seng-Wei: Magneto 萬磁王 (Wan Cih Wang)
"He is the all-time leader in hit-by-pitches."
Lin Chi-Wei: Little Princess 小公主 (Xia Gong Zhu)
"Whenever he starts, he always got tons of run support from his teammates."
Ni Fu-Te: God of Earth 土地公 (Tu-Di-Gong)
Lo Chia-Jen: Bulbasaur 妙蛙種子 (Miao Wa Chung Tzu)
"He looks like a Pokemon. And also, with