Not everyone who plays Major League Baseball earns themselves a nickname. A player has to have high potential, stand out as one of the game’s greats, or just leave their mark on the game at some point throughout their career. There have been guys like Babe “The Sultan of Swat” Ruth, Ted “The Splinter” William and lesser known players such as Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams. But now with spring training underway for the upcoming 2011 season, one MLB pitcher is looking to lose his nickname.
Kansas City Royals closer Joakim Soria has had enough of the nickname “The Mexicutioner” and feels it has a negative connotation. The 26-year-old native of Mexico is from Monclova, in the northern state of Coahuila, which has been plagued by drug related violence recently.
“It’s been really bad in Mexico right now,” Soria said. “There are a lot of guns in Mexico. It’s out of control right now. If I can change the mindset of the people, change the nickname or just take it out. It’s not a big deal. I think it’s a smart move. I think about my people.”
Soria earned the nickname in 2008, when he saved 42 games and “The Mexicutioner” became one of the hottest selling t-shirts in Kansas City. He did not shy away from the nickname at first but with the recent violence in Mexico he want to get rid of it.
Last season, Soria saved 43 games in 46 opportunities and earned his second straight trip to the All-Star Game. He has become one of the most dominate pitchers in the league, despite being in one of the smallest markets in sports. Last May, he recorded his 100th career save, making him the sixth-youngest pitcher to reach the mark.
Soria made it clear out that Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees and former San Diego Padre Trevor Hoffman, two of the best closers in history, do not have a nickname.
He said he has no preference for a new nickname. "His Mexcellency" was one suggestion.
“I don’t really care about nicknames,” Soria said. “I’m not the type of guy that thinks too much about it. I’m open-minded about anything. I don’t really want to choose one. If it stays Joakim Soria, fine. I don’t really care. But I just want to change that name because it’s bad right now for Mexico.”