SEATTLE -- Some are silly childhood names. Some are serious hat tips to departed friends and relatives. Some are obvious takeoffs on names or, in the case of Kyle Seager, simply “Seager.”
But with the third annual Players' Weekend rolling out this weekend as Seattle hosts the Blue Jays in a three-game series at T-Mobile Park, all the Mariners will be revealing a little about themselves with the nicknames they’ve chosen to wear on the back of their jerseys.
Here are the Mariners' choices -- and the explanations for those that aren’t obvious.
Austin Adams: "A-SQUARED" and Brandon Brennan: "B-SQUARED"
Adams and Brennan are both on the injured list, so these will probably never get displayed. But the interesting thing is that Adams chose his nickname -- in reference to his double initials -- without consulting with fellow reliever Brennan, who did the same with his alliterative name.
“Once we found out, we were going to take a photo that said A-squared plus B-squared equals something,” said Brennan, who just went on the IL this past week. “But we hadn’t figured out what the something is yet.”
Keon Broxton: "C.J."
The new center fielder is using the opportunity to pay tribute to a cousin, William Carter Jr., who died this past year at age 31 of a heart condition in Broxton’s hometown of Lakeland, Fla.
“Mine is a little more sentimental, more personal. I just wanted to honor him,” Broxton said. “We grew up together. He got me into skateboarding early in my years. I played sports with him, played basketball. He was my best friend.”
J.P. Crawford: "CRAWDADDY"
No mystery here. “That’s something people have been calling me my whole life when I started playing travel ball, and it’s stuck with me,” said the Mariners' shortstop. “Nothing crazy.”
Cory Gearrin: "C.G."
"C.G." normally stands for "complete game" for pitchers, but since Gearrin is a reliever, he stuck with his initials.
Marco Gonzales: "GONZO"
Some would vote for “Polo,” but the lefty is playing this one straight.
Dee Gordon: "⚡️"
No words needed. Literally. Gordon will simply wear the emoji signifying the “Flash” nickname that not only suits his game and headlines his “Flash of Hope” charity, but it was first made famous by his dad, former reliever Tom “Flash” Gordon.
Gordon used “Varis” as a reference to his given name, Devaris, last year, but he decided to go with an emoji after seeing Reds reliever Brad Boxberger use emojis for "box" and "burger" last year. The question is whether a thin lightning bolt emoji will be visible as the lone symbol on his jersey, but Gordon has no concerns.
“I’m skinny, bro,” Gordon said. “It’s going to look like a billboard on my back.”
Felix Hernandez: “KING FELIX”
The veteran right-hander is on the IL, but he could return by the weekend in time to re-live his “King” days one more time. Hernandez has been known as King Felix since he was tagged with that moniker as a teenage phenom coming up in the Minors.
Yusei Kikuchi: "U SAY"
Fun with phonetics!
Wade LeBlanc: "FRENCHY"
Minor League manager Randy Ready dropped this one on the veteran southpaw in his first year of pro ball in 2006 with the Class A Fort Wayne Wizards and it stuck, sort of. He said a few players still call him Frenchy.
“When I see guys I came up with on the Padres, I’ll hear it from them,” said the 34-year-old. “But I’ve been so many different places, I’m kind of just Wade now.”
Matt Magill: "GOOSE"
The recently acquired reliever is a big fan of Top Gun and lives with his wife in San Diego, where the sequel to the original movie is being filmed.
“We named our son Maverick, so I went with Goose because I like to say I’m going to be his wingman for life,” said Magill, whose first child just turned 1. “It’s pretty simple, but we love it.”
Tommy Milone: "TOMASO"
This isn’t actually a nickname, but rather the veteran starter’s given first name. Not that anyone ever used it when he was growing up.
“My mom calls me Thomas. My dad calls me by names you probably can’t say out loud,” he said with a laugh. “More and more people that find out that’s my real name start using it, but it hasn’t really stuck yet. Maybe one day.”
Dylan Moore: "D MO"
A utilitarian nickname for a utility player.
Tom Murphy: "STASHU"
The cartwheeling catcher is paying tribute to his grandfather, who passed away in February about six months after his grandmother.
“That was his nickname,” Murphy said. “His name was Stanley and his parents were from Germany and Poland and that’s what they called him. He was one of my best friends.”
Omar Narváez: "NARVY"
Like the catcher himself, it works.
Domingo Santana: "SALOMON"
The big slugger is also remembering his grandfather, who died of cancer in the Dominican Republic during Spring Training.
Kyle Seager: "SEAGER"
The Mariners third baseman had one of the best nicknames in all of MLB two years ago when he went with “Corey’s Brother.” The ensuing crunch of interviews and endless comments led to the low-key Seager playing it straight the past two years.
Mallex Smith: "WATER"
The fleet-footed outfielder hung this moniker on himself at the start of the year for a simple reason: “Because I flow anywhere.” Hard to argue with that, though his teammate Gordon doesn’t hesitate.
“Water can be cut off at any time,” teased Gordon.
“Does the ocean ever stop?” countered Smith. “It flows all the time. If lightning hits water, I still flow. You don’t see lightning every day. Everybody needs water. Every. Single. Day. You need your daily dose. Your body is made of 70 percent water. Everybody is water, but they can’t be ‘Water.’ There’s only one ‘Water.’”
Erik Swanson: "SWANNY POPS"
The rookie right-hander’s Instagram handle is “@swannypops” because “@swanny” was already taken, of course, and up popped “@swannypops” as a potential alternative.
Sam Tuivailala: "TUI"
While "Tui" is short for "Tuiasosopo" for longtime Seattle sports fans, it's hard to argue that "Tui" is a lot easier to say than "Tuivailala."
Daniel Vogelbach: "THE BABE"
The Mariners’ All-Star designated hitter says Hernandez filled out his Players' Weekend form last year, when Vogelbach was with the team during one of his big league callups, but he wound up being with Triple-A Tacoma when the time came around and never got to wear it.
“He didn’t really give me a choice and put it on there. He said, ‘Just do ‘The Babe.’ I said, ‘Whatever’ and didn’t change it this year. So that one is a credit to Felix,” said Vogelbach.
While the stocky 26-year-old has a similar body type to Babe Ruth, he isn’t trying to pretend he’s following in those enormous footsteps.
“It has nothing to do with comparing yourself to them,” Vogelbach said. “It’d be like somebody putting 'Trout' on the back of their jersey. It’s just a nickname. It’s a fun weekend. Just all fun and games.”
Matt Wisler: "WIS"
On a team with three other relievers named Matt on the 40-man roster, this one is not only functional, but necessary.