For the second consecutive year, Major Leaguers will put their personalities and passions on the field when Players' Weekend takes center stage during all games from Friday, Aug. 24, through Sunday, Aug. 26.Here are the nicknames the Cubs will wear on their backs while sporting colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate
For the second consecutive year, Major Leaguers will put their personalities and passions on the field when Players' Weekend takes center stage during all games from Friday, Aug. 24, through Sunday, Aug. 26.
Here are the nicknames the Cubs will wear on their backs while sporting colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms:
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Albert Almora Jr.: "TICO"
Almora's mother gave him his nickname.
"It really came in high school, because my dad and I are called the same name," Almora said. "My mom, to tell the difference, would call me 'Tico.' My dad didn't really call me that. When I got to high school, my dad used to help out with the team, so instead of calling me Albert, my dad would call me 'Tico.'"
Almora said he may get a little more creative next year.
"They used to call me the 'Flying Cat' -- it's 'gato volador' in Spanish and it's a song," Almora said. "I used to fly around in the outfield."
Anthony Bass: "FISH"
Javier Baez: "EL MAGO"
Spanish for "The Magician," Baez was given the nickname by fans in Puerto Rico after some impressive, almost magical fielding during the 2016 postseason.
David Bote: "BOAT"
Folks seem to have a tough time pronouncing the rookie's last name and often mispronounce it as "boat." So, he went with that nickname.
"People don't get it right, so it's 'Boat,'" Bote said.
Kristopher Bryant: "KB"
They are his initials.
Victor Caratini: "VIC"
Tyler Chatwood: "CHATTY"
Jesse Chavez: "DADO"
Chavez says his daughters came up with the nickname, which should be pronounced "Dad-oh." His girls like to add an "O" to everything, so their mother is "Mom-oh." Not sure if they call the team he pitches for the "Cubs-oh."
Steve Cishek: "SPEEDPASS"
When Cishek was in high school in Falmouth, Mass., he worked as a gas station attendant, which used the "Speedpass" device for quick payment. It also provided the right-hander with a nickname.
"I remember I was out there pumping gas and a couple of my buddies in high school drove by and yelled out the window out of nowhere, 'Speedpass,'" Cishek said on Friday. "I'm like, 'Oh, no.' I go back to school the next day and that's the name that stuck. If someone yells 'Speedpass' wherever I'm at, I know it's someone from back home."
When Cubs manager Joe Maddon talks about Cishek, he calls him "Shrek."
"'Shrek' is like my professional baseball nickname," Cishek explained. "That's the first nickname I got from day one when I got drafted. Our pitching coordinator with the Marlins asked me my nickname, and I said 'Speedpass,' and I gave him my college nickname, which is 'Roy,' and then he said, 'Well, Cishek is tough to say, so we'll go with "Shrek."'
"I put [Speedpass] on so my friends where I grew up will know," Cishek said. "Hopefully, they'll appreciate it."
Willson Contreras: "WILLY THE BEAST"
A passionate and aggressive player, Contreras got the nickname in Spring Training.
Yu Darvish: "YU-SAN"
The addition of "san" on a name in Japanese is a sign of respect.
Brian Duensing: "DEUCE"
Duensing was on the Twins in 2008 when manager Ron Gardenhire came down to watch some pitchers.
"He walks in and says, 'Hey, Deuce, how's it going?'" Duensing said. "I look around and realize he's talking to me. I think he thought people were calling me 'Deuce,' instead of 'Duens.' Fast forward to 2009, I made the big league team and I told Matt Guerrier that story and he lost it laughing. He kept telling everybody, and the name stuck. Now everybody calls me 'Deuce.' It's all Gardy's fault."
C.J. Edwards: "STRINGBEAN SLINGER"
Edwards was "Carl's Jr." last year, but this time, he's using a nickname he got in the Minor Leagues.
"My first full year of pro ball, I was called up from Arizona to Spokane," Edwards said. "One of their broadcasters or media guys came in after my second outing and said, 'Hey man, what if we put up a stringbean slinging a baseball,' and that would be my thing. I said, 'I don't know.' He said, 'We'll call you Stringbean Slinger.' So it started in Spokane, Wash."
Cole Hamels: "HOLLYWOOD"
"Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins gave that to me in the Minor Leagues," Hamels said. "Any [nickname] you get in the Minors, it sticks."
Justin Hancock: "HERBIE"
Ian Happ: "HAPPER"
Kyle Hendricks: "HENDO"
Jason Heyward: "J-HEY"
Brandon Kintzler: "SALT"
Kintzler got the nickname in the Minors because of his salty disposition.
"Someone always knew someone who started calling me, 'Salt,'" Kintzler said. "I didn't want to put that name on [my jersey] last year and in Spring Training, they talked me into it. Everywhere I've gone the last three years, my name is Salt. My name isn't Brandon any more, it's always Salt. It's something someone nicknamed me -- it's like an edge to my attitude."
Thomas La Stella: "LA STELLA"
"I forgot," La Stella said about fulfilling the request for a nickname. "I said I'd get back to them. I never did. It's like homework that I didn't do."
Jonathan Lester: "LEFTHANDER"
That's who he is.
Brandon Morrow: "B MO"
Mike Montgomery: "MONTY"
Daniel Murphy: "MURPH"
Jose Quintana: "LELO"
Quintana is using his younger brother Abel's nickname instead of "Q."
"I want to dedicate it to him," Quintana said.
Anthony Rizzo: "TONY"
Randy Rosario: "PELO FINO"
Rosario's nickname means "fine hair." Rosario does have nice hair.
Addison Russell: "ADDY"
Kyle Schwarber: "SCHWARBS"
Drew Smyly: "SMILES"
Pedro Strop: "STROPY"
Justin Wilson: "J WILLY"
Benjamin Zobrist: "ZORILLA"
Manager Joe Maddon gave Zobrist the nickname when the two were together on the Rays.
"I started calling him that in 2008 when we were both with Tampa Bay and he really came on strong," Maddon said. "It's sort of the antithesis of the man, but, as a player, it fits him perfectly."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.