Posted at 6:57 PM on April 22, 2005
by Josh Lee
When Ivan Rodriguez reported to spring training this year, he weighed in at a mere 193 pounds. Since then, he's lost even more weight, and is now down to a willowy 185, 30 pounds below his weight from last season. There was some cooing over his new, slender figure from some quarters, and some clucking about post-steroid shrinkage from others, but not enough people have addressed one of the burning questions of this young season: what do we call Rodriguez now that "Pudge" is clearly a misnomer?
"Pudge" is one of the great baseball nicknames of this generation. It lacks the intimidation factor of "Big Hurt" or "Rocket," but in just about every other way, it's a perfect moniker. It's funny, yet affectionate; simple, yet unique. It's more than just a shorthand for use in sports ticker headlines; like the most successful nicks, it replaces the player's real name in the minds of the fans. There are oodles of Rodriguezes in the big leagues, but there's only one "Pudge." That's why his most common alternate nickname, "I-Rod," is so lame. We've already got an "A-Rod" and a "K-Rod;" doesn't Ivan deserve a more original moniker for his post-Pudge era? For now, I'm just going to call him "Twiggy," but someone out there must be able to think of something better.
(Speaking of great names, Detroit's starting center fielder is Exavier Prente "Nook" Logan. Wow.)
How about "The Svelte Squat" or "South Beach"?
Let us not forget that long before Pudge Rodriguez there was Pudge Fisk... and statistical comparisons aside I don't think Rodriguez could hold Fisk's (undoubtedly disgusting) jock. Anyone that beats the bejeebus out of Lou Pinella is okay by me.