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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Has Joakim Soria Lost His Swagger?

When people say "Air", "Mailman", or "Magic" when talking sports you can pinpoint who exactly they are talking about in Jordan, Malone, and Johnson.  In all avenues of life, nicknames sometimes define a person or become a distinction of that person, that their real name sometimes may be forgotten or not even known.  If I were to ask you who Elbert L. Woods(ITS NOT TIGER-he's Eldrick Woods), Orlando Smith, Eric Esch, or Harold Henry Reese(not related to any Peanut Butter Cups) would you know who these people were?  Some people who concentrate their life around sports may know, others, would play a guessing game.  But if I said Ickey Woods(Yes, the Ickey shuffle guy), Tubby Smith, Butterbean, or Pee Wee Reese, many more people would have knowledge of who those people are.

Nicknames are a definition of sometimes how people remember you, what you are, or even maybe what you aren't(example-your heavier in weight but they call you slim).  Not always does your real name define you, sometimes it takes a simple or complex nickname for people to remember you by.  These nicknames sometimes follow you for a lifetime, but thats not always a bad thing.

Sometimes these nicknames create a newer "you" and gives a possible emotion "high" in their mental playing state.  For example, Tiger Woods in my opinion, would never have had the same impression on people if they were to call him Eldrick Woods.  You can't relate the "eye of the Tiger" to Eldrick.  It just wouldn't make sense, would it?  Eldrick is gone, its on a birth certificate, but he's "Tiger" now and will be til' the day he passes on.  The only possible way Eldrick would have worked was if he was a polite Englishman and we referred to him as "Sir Eldrick".  But I prefer Tiger.

It was around Feburary 22, 2011 that Joakim Soria, relief pitcher for the Kansas City Royals, announced on his Twitter page the following quote, "how about if we change my nickname to something positive?  in support to mexico to stop all the violence!!!"(Twitter 2011)  Soria, from Monclova, Mexico was nicknamed the "Mexicutioner" because of his ways of throwing nasty pitches in the bottom of the ninth inning to close out games and strike out the opposing top hitters of the MLB game.  Soria believed his nickname was inappropriate given the violence occuring in his homeland.  I get it.  Inappropriate is viewed in different ways and sometimes taken out of context.  Lisa Lampanelli can be inappropriate in her comedy skits, but if you view it as a skit and not "real-life", she's quite the comedian.  I find her enjoyable and funny, even if she makes fun of me or my race.  She jokes of all races, human, aliens(well-maybe not), etc.  It's a skit, she's playing a "persona" of someone else, it's not who she actually is.  But her skit "persona" gives her a swagger that makes her on top of the world at that time she's on the stage.

Since dropping his "Mexicutioner" title this season, so far Soria hasn't been the pitcher he once was.  It is early, its been cold, and there's several reasons you could give for why he isn't the dominant closing pitcher as he been in the past.  But if it continues, maybe he's lost his swagger by losing his nickname.  "Wild Thing" Ricky Vaughn in "Major League" had the nickname that came with a song after he found his need for glasses.  But "Wild Thing" was how people referred to the made-up character that Charlie Sheen portrayed.  When the music blared, and Vaughn trotted to the mound, he too had a swagger that put fear in the opposing team.

I get it(becoming possibly my catch phrase)... no one cares for the violence in Mexico now or at anytime.  But this nickname isn't about that, or shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence as the "ignorant" violence in his home country.  If Soria grew up in a small farm town of Iowa and had the nickname of the "Mexicutioner", would we cast character issues of doubt over him for having what could be considered one of the best nicknames in all of MLB?  I would like to think that we wouldn't. 

Soria can actually use his fame and nickname as a way to provide opportunities for those in Mexico who look up to the MLB player.  He could create a charity organization "Mexicutioner Strikes Out Violence In Mexico" and raise money thru selling his t-shirts and other memorabilia to raise money for the unfortunate happenings in his home-country.  He could provide game-used memorabilia for the police in Mexico kind of like the way the United States does in exchanging guns for cash.  It may or may not work, but he isn't going to solve it all by himself.  But he can do his part, in which he may have already.  Labeling him with a nickname like the "Mexicutioner" can be a positive for himself, the Royals, and also for Mexico if it is spinned-off in the right way and used in the right way.  If Soria does that, maybe than, he can get his "swagger" back.

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