"I need a nickname that makes people light up."
By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
Carlos Santana is already 17 days and four homers into his Major League career. I’ve put this off too long. It’s time to give this kid an Official Nickname.
Those of you regularly reading the Indians Inbox (which better be all of you, or else something is askew here) know that the nickname “Smooth” was, at one time, bestowed upon Santana by several readers, only to be rejected by yours truly.
Not that I’m necessarily the final arbiter in these matters, by any means, but my job here is to give voice to the voiceless, to survey the landscape of voices in the wilderness and come to some reasonable conclusion on the pulse of the fanbase on any given topic. And really, what more important topic is there than the Carlos Santana nickname? None that I can think of.
Several nicknames for Santana are currently floating in the Internet stratosphere, but he can only have one, true nickname that will stick, and I’m taking it upon myself to be the one to select it. (Note: I was going to make this a poll, but when learning how to post a poll into this blog became overly complicated and time-consuming I decided to take a more dictatorial approach.)
Only two rules applied:
1. The nickname must tie in to that other Carlos Santana, somehow.
2. It can’t be “Smooth,” because that’s as overplayed and annoying a song as has ever been created.
So without any further ado, here are the results:
Second runner-up… “Shaman” (Submitted by John C., from Chicago.)
References Santana’s 2002 solo disc. John C. who claims to have been at one of Shin-Soo Choo’s first games with the Tribe and held up a sign that said “Big League Choo,” a fantastic nickname that happily stuck. Sadly, I don’t see the same fate for “Shaman.”
First runner-up… “Black Magic Backstop” (Submitted by Jim K. from Youngstown.)
Strong submission. References Santana’s most classic hit. Love the alliteration. Just don’t see it lasting over the long haul, especially when Santana starts playing the occasional game at first base.
And the winner is… “Supernatural” (Submitted by Scott H. from Mountain View, Calif., Paul T. from Cuyahoga Falls and Mike L. from Tallahassee, Fla.)
Hopefully this appeases those who submitted “Smooth,” as the hit single is included on this 1999 disc. You’ve got the alliterative element when you place this before Santana’s name, and you’ve got an apt description of this kid’s abilities. I love it, and I hope you love it, too.
Now on to less important matters.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- Michael Brantley’s coming soon to a Progressive Field near you. “He’s close,” Manny Acta said. The last time Acta said that about a Triple-A guy, he was talking about Carlos Santana. Mr. Supernatural was here the next day. I’m not saying Brantley will be here tomorrow, necessarily, but he’s showing the Indians the things they wanted to see – namely, notching some extra-base hits, playing solid defense in center field and using his speed. Brantley has hit and scored in each of his last six games, batting .464 (13-for-28) with three doubles, a homer, eight RBIs and eight runs. In 21 June games, Brantley is batting .352 (31-for-88) with four doubles, a triple, two homers, 13 RBIs and 14 runs scored while walking 10 times against just eight strikeouts. Consider that before June, Brantley had just six extra-base hits in about a month and a half of action with the Clippers. That lack of power was the biggest knock against him, and he’s addressing it.
- The addition of Ezequiel Carrera in the Russell Branyan trade adds another body to the Columbus outfield and probably emphasizes the fact that Brantley will be here soon. Carrera will report to Columbus in a week to 10 days, once he’s healed from the hip pointer that currently has him on the disabled list.
- Obviously, the Indians are looking into the possibility of trading Austin Kearns, which would open up everyday playing time for Brantley up here. Kearns hasn’t down much to help the showcase, as he’s batting .163 (8-for-49) with two RBIs in his last 13 games.
- The other day, I told you shortstop Josh Rodriguez had been bumped to Double-A Akron to make room for the demoted Luis Valbuena at Triple-A Columbus. Well, that didn’t last long. Rodriguez is back in Columbus after just two games with the Aeros. He will share time with Valbuena at short, while also contributing at DH and in the outfield. Rodriguez is having a strong year, batting .317 with an .881 OPS in 21 games in Akron and .341 with a 1.031 OPS in 26 games in Columbus.
- Kerry Wood needed that 1-2-3, three-punchout save Sunday against the Reds. And the Indians needed it, too, if they’re going to have any hope of trading Wood, who has not attracted any interest thus far. Wood could hardly be blamed if he wants to pitch himself out of here, given the circumstances. “We all want to win,” he said. “We all want to get to the World Series. I wanted it to happen in Cleveland, but it hasn’t worked out. My job is to go out and do the best I can to help us win the game.”
- Hearing our old buddy Sal “The ‘Stache” Fasano (now that’s a nickname) is an early candidate to replace Cito Gaston, who is retiring as manager of the Jays at season’s end. Because CastroTurf was once billed as the “Official Web Site of Sal Fasano,” you better believe I’m pulling for Sal to get the gig. He’s currently managing the Jays’ Class A affiliate Lansing Lugnuts in the Midwest League.
- Acta thinks “Big League” Choo is starting to benefit from batting in front of Santana. He said there was a time, not long ago, when opposing pitchers had no reason to give Choo anything to hit.
- Before Choo did it against Bronson Arroyo, no Major Leaguer had posted a pair of multiple-homer games against the same pitcher in one season since San Diego’s Mike Cameron did it against the Cubs’ Rich Hill in 2007. Choo is the only player to do it in Interleague Play. (Elias Sports Bureau)
- Right-hander Shane Lindsay, designated when Jayson Nix was added to the roster, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Akron. Lindsay has a 2.08 ERA in four relief appearances for Akron in June.
- Mitch Talbot’s eight wins lead all Major League rookies. His 2.39 ERA on the road is the third-best in the league.
- The Indians went 5-13 in Interleague Play. They are now 118-129 all-time and 16-38 over the last three years. Certainly bucking a trend, as the AL earned the edge in the season series for the seventh straight year.
- Hector Ambriz’s UCLA Bruins are battling South Carolina in the College World Series. “I think they’re going to do it,” Ambriz said. “It would be the first national championship in UCLA [baseball] history. We’ve got to win it for Wooden.”
- Congrats to Terry Grahl for being named the Indians’ representative when the “All-Stars Among Us” are honored before the All-Star Game. Grahl is actually from Michigan, but she made up for it by founding Enchanted Makeovers, a non-profit that refurbishes shelters for women and children.