Brad, Novi, Michigan
Subj: What’s in a name?
I heard that Jonathan Papelbon has a slider-cutter hybrid pitch that he calls the slutter. Is it common for pitchers to name their specialty pitches?
Absolutely, Brad. Former Mets reliever Tug McGraw assigned names to nearly all of his fastballs, including the Lady Godiva, which had nothing on it, the John Jameson, which was fast and straight like a fine Irish whiskey, and the Bo Derek, which had a nice little tail. As amusing as his names may have been, nobody can beat the outlandish creativity of former NBA journeyman Darryl Dawkins, who coined unique handles for every one of his highlight reel dunks. Among his most legendary were the In Your Face Disgrace, the Go-rilla, the Earthquaker Shaker, the Candyslam, the Dunk You Very Much, the Turbo Sexophonic Delight, the Spine Chiller Supreme and, my personal favorite, the Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Glass-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Babies-Crying, Glass-Still-Flying, Cats-Crying, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Thank You-Wham-Bam-I-Am-Jam. The NBA is a far less colorful place without Chocolate Thunder rattling its rims.