Monday, March 22, 2010

He is Joe--He is Not Joltin' Joe, Please

Twins fans are exalting today that the hometown hero, Joe Mauer, has inked a long-term pact with the team that will keep him playing here (knock on wood, no injuries) for at least 8 more seasons. He will get a huge amount of money to do so--as in he could almost take care of that Haiti clean-up by himself--but that's another topic for another (rant) day.

I am happy for Joe, happy for the Twins, but not so happy with the Strib headline: "Relax Twins Fans, Joltin' Joe Stays." Wait a minute. We know who Joltin' Joe is/was, as in "Joltin' Joe Dimaggio" (he even had that in a song about him.) Let's not mess with the hallowed nicknames.

Famous nicknames are a wonderful part of baseball charm, as in The Great Bambino, 3 Fingers Brown, The Iron Horse, The Sultan of Swat (so good he needed at least two), Mr. October, the Say Hey Kid, even The Kid. There are a hundred others.

I resent demeaning and watering down the use of those names because the current baseball generation doesn't seem able to come up with its own. (Somebody please tell me, when was the last great baseball nickname? I may be missing some, so I really am open to suggestion here).

Until we come up with our own (St. Paul Joe? Sideburn Joe? Quiet Joe?), lay off the Hall of Fame nicknames. They got earned over many years by some incredible ball players. Such as Mr. Dimaggio. They, and their nicknames, deserve some respect. 

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