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Second base…tastes like chicken? Apparently, that’s what Dustin Pedroia is going for with his new nickname, the Muddy Chicken. Pedroia has always been known as the little guy with the big sense of humor, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. But does this signal the end of the Laser Show? Let’s hope not.
From what I’ve gathered, there are two reasons athletes have nicknames. The first of these is convenience. Why struggle to say Saltalamacchia when you can simply call him Salty? You can do your best to pronounce Iguodala, or you can opt not to make a fool of yourself and just say Iggy. If an athlete wants to have a sweet nickname, but doesn’t have a ridiculous last name, he is left with one other option: Perform well enough to strike fear into his opponents.
Shaq was Diesel and Randy Johnson was the Big Unit. There’s Vinsanity and AK-47. Sure some of these nicknames may be funny, but they also add a bit of mystique to these players. A cornerback isn’t nervous facing some guy named Johnson, but the possibility of getting burned by someone called Ochocinco is certainly going to make him think twice. This point is problematic for Dustin Pedroia.
The Muddy Chicken. Just visualize that for a minute. If I was a pitcher and someone came up to the plate whose name was Muddy Chicken, I’d throw it right over the plate just to stick it to him. I’m not going to let some unclean poultry run the show. Yeah, I understand the reasoning–he’s short like a chicken and he isn’t afraid to get a little dirty to get the job done. But Muddy Chicken just sounds demeaning.
Imagine what might have happened if this nickname hadn’t originated with the Red Sox. What if Robinson Cano had said, “Of course I’m the best second baseman in baseball. Who else would it be? It couldn’t be Pedroia. I’m better than that Muddy Chicken?” Red Sox fans would be furious and the rivalry would be as heated as ever.
Maybe I’m wrong and The Muddy Chicken is a nickname too great for me to appreciate. But why bother with another nickname when your first one is already great? It doesn’t get much better than Laser Show. Lasers are cool. Laser is a fun word to say. Parents don’t even let their kids play with lasers (Maybe I’m thinking of matches, but I’m not sure). Lasers are menacing. Chickens lay eggs.
Perhaps The Muddy Chicken won’t even last. Or it could replace Laser Show for good. Or maybe Pedroia is just gunning for Shaq’s record number of nicknames. Unfortunately for Dustin, his fate is out of his control. Glen Davis wanted to move on from Big Baby and become Uno Uno. It was ultimately a failure that never caught on with the fans. Big Baby is and always will be Big Baby. The Muddy Chicken will face a similar fate. The Muddy Chicken was funny for a night, but I am betting this is one idea that gets scrambled.