Position Changes: Or, Renaming 1 Through 9 (Plus Bonus DH!)


As a loyal reader of NotGraphs – and by the way, thank you for that; turns out, the answer to the question as to how many boats a man can ski behind is six! – you might’ve noticed a peculiar penchant among NotGraphs writers, at least when we aren’t slaloming behind our sextet of Super Air Nautiques.

Namely, we like to name things.

We have named stadiums, teams, even men.

We have matched nicknames to players, and players to nicknames.

Now it’s time to name, or rename, the game’s most basic component: positions.

Traditional name: catcher
Duty: catching.
Other duties: squatting; wearing cup; checking cup; rechecking cup; re-rechecking cup; being interchangeable; “calling a good game;” blocking balls in dirt; being a “field general;” sweating; hitting .226; throwing out “would-be base stealers;” getting designated for assignment; “getting called up;” not blocking plate; acting solicitous toward umpire, i.e., complimenting him on his strike zone and his mouthwash; placing mask under armpit after victory and walking toward center field while saying things to pitcher that television viewers attempt to lip-read
New name: Squatmaster, Lord of the Groin

Traditional name: first baseman
Duty: manning first base
Other duties: engaging runners in pleasant conversation; spitting sunflower seeds in dugout; becoming the subject of “trade talks”
New name: Talkie, the Talkative Trade-Talks Man

Traditional name: second baseman
Duty: fielding second base
Other duties: being scrappy; getting uniform dirty; being a “spark plug;” spitting; scratching; throwing sidearm; getting destroyed on double plays
New name: The Pedrioator

Traditional name: shortstop
Duties: manning shortstop; being handsome
Other duties: on field – “anchoring defense;” off field – sexing ladies
New name: Clooney, Lord of the Groins

Traditional name: third baseman
Duty: adjusting cup
Other duties: manning “hot corner;” crouching; patting runner on rump; talking to third-base coach about God-knows-what; charging bunts; letting balls “go foul;” flipping foul balls to fans who are staring at Clooney; protecting family jewels
New name: Testicles (pronounced Test-i-cleez), Master of Manly Precincts

Traditional name: left fielder
Duties: ignoring hecklers; shielding eyes from sun; discussing dinner plans with center fielder during pitching changes; jogging from field; hitting sixth
Other duty: manning left field
New name: The Last Grassbender, Keeper of the Sward

Traditional name: center fielder
Duties: stylin’; profilin’
Other duties: turning triples into “loud outs;” calling off right fielder; glaring at right fielder when he doesn’t listen; glaring at left fielder when he doesn’t listen; robbing hitters of homers and acting like it’s no big deal; returning to bench and watching catch on Jumbotron because it’s a big deal
New name: Tournament of Roses Float Winner (Category: Judge’s Special)

Traditional name: right fielder
Duties: gesturing to fans in Section 42G; turning doubles into triples; turning triples into inside-the-park home runs; settling under fly balls; catching fly balls; contributing to “exciting plays at the plate;” daydreaming
Other duties: listening to center fielder; not listening to center fielder
New name: Roy

Traditional name: pitcher; other traditional name: hurler
Duties: pitching; hurling
Additional duties: waiting for someone else to catch pop-up; hiding foreign substance somewhere on body; “shaking off signs;” agreeing to signs; conferring on mound; pumping fist in direct aftermath of key strikeout; disagreeing with umpire; catching ball at end of around the horn; icing shoulder; icing elbow; going on disabled list; undergoing surgery.
New name: Princess

Traditional name: designated hitter
Duty: designated hitting
Additional duties: being large; being slow; being large and slow; clogging bases; being emergency first baseman; “studying film;” “working in the cage;” staying loose; staying warm; “staying in the game;” “studying the opposing pitcher;” becoming subject of retirement speculation; retiring
New names: Chili Papi; Davis Ortiz; David Davis; Bat Masterson, PhD.

We hoped you liked reading Position Changes: Or, Renaming 1 Through 9 (Plus Bonus DH!) by John Paschal!

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John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.

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