The Common Man is back from his Southwestern vacation. He basked in the desert sun, drove the vast empty expanse between L.A. and Phoenix twice, saw Mickey Mouse and rode roller coasters with The Boy and The Uncommon Wife, and went whale watching (but sadly missed out on watching any whales, who had all swam past on their way up north already). Along the way, if you were following his frantic tweeting, you might have noticed TCM took in a Diamondbacks game at Chase Field. It was an interesting game, as Dan Haren struggled on the mound, but managed to collect four singles in four trips to the plate. The final one came as manager AJ Hinch apparently sent Haren up to hit for himself with two outs and a runner on 1st in the 6th inning, despite being up just a single run. Haren was replaced by Juan Gutierrez to start the next inning, so it seems that Hinch simply wanted to let his starter try for his fourth hit rather than going for a pinch hitter. The move worked, but it’s hard to justify it.
Anyway, in honor of his hosts last week, The Common Man thought it would be appropriate to honor their nickname by objectively reviewing it. Let’s get started.
Nickname: Diamondback (Rattlesnake)
Size: 120-150 cm (3.9-4.9 feet)
Special Abilities: sliding on belly, metabolic manipulation, rattle, poisoning your ass, swallowing large objects whole
Best thing about the Diamondback Rattlesnake: The Western Diamondback rattlesnake is freaking deadly. It is responsible for the most deaths by snakebite in Mexico and second most in the U.S. (behind the Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake). Make no mistake, you don’t want to mess with a big rattlesnake. They will totally kill you if you get near them. Their intimidation factor is high and they have no problem attacking things that are bigger and tougher looking than they are. You’d be pretty confident too, if you had fangs dripping with proteolytic venom.
Worst thing about the Diamondback Rattlesnake: While you might think the rattle is cool (after all, it gives you the warning you need to back slowly away and continue to live), it’s not so good when others can see you coming. One wonders why, exactly, a snake needs to warn you at all. Why doesn’t he just kill you and be done with it? Alas, the Diamondbacks will never sneak up on anybody.
More good news: Rattlesnakes have the ability to slow their body metabolism, allowing them to go up to two years without eating. If the Dodgers ever get their act together and start acting like a large market team, this will be important, allowing Arizona to wait out lean years in between competitive squads. All of the time snakes spend sliding around on their bellies are excellent practice for those close plays at 2B and 3B. Plus, again with the ability to kill you.
On the other hand: Nobody really likes rattlesnakes, except weirdos who keep them as pets. But these people are generally anti-social, and live alone for most of their 20s and 30s, and nobody likes them either. Alas, that probably makes them bloggers. That said, what does a rattlesnake care if you don’t like it? It’s solitary and ornery and will totally poison the hell out of you if you come near it. Not big on teamwork, the rattlesnake, but still awesome.
Addendum: Before we get to the final analysis, I wanted to point out that, while the Diamondbacks may use a snake for their nickname, their actual mascot is Baxter the Bobcat. Baxter is a cheap looking, emotionless furball, who doesn’t really do anything interesting. He is named after the team’s original name for the ballpark (Bank One Ballpark: BOB), but since that’s gone the way of all corporate sponsorships, he is pretty much disconnected from everything else the team has going for it. The Common Man gets that having a snake for a mascot might not make sense (what with its no arms and legs, and all), but putting beefy arms and legs on a snake certainly makes as much sense as letting some random bobcat become your team’s mascot, especially when that mascot seems to serve no real purpose. He’s not funny and he’s not acrobatic, and he basically just throws t-shirts during one of the inning breaks. TCM has no use for that, and neither should you.
Final Analysis: Despite the epic fail of Baxter the Bobcat, the Diamondback is actually a pretty awesome nickname. It’s bad-ass and intimidating. It takes no guff from the artful Dodgers or the prissy Metropolitans, and will totally bite their calves when they go walking in the desert in their Chuck Taylors. In that way, the Diamondback Rattlesnake is not only scary, but it does a public service. The fewer yuppies and hipsters there are, the better. And because of this awesomeness, the Diamondbacks get The Common Man’s first A. Nice job. Baxter the Bobcat, however, gets an F-.
Other nickname reviews so far: the Mets, Blue Jays, and Cardinals.