An Open Letter to Ron Gardenhire Regarding His Nickname for Caleb Thielbar

Good ol' Meat Raffle - Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

He's Meat Raffle, Ron. Goddammit. Look in your heart, Gardy. Look in your heart.

Dear Gardy,

Hey Gardy, it's Stu from the RandBall blog at StarTribune.com and SBNation's TwinkieTowndotcom. Recently, it's come to my attention that you've given a nickname to Caleb Thielbar, your new late-inning specialist and a genuine ONE OF US folk hero. It has also come to my attention that this name ISN'T "Meat Raffle," the perfectly great nickname I've given him that reflects his outstate Minnesota roots. Rather, you've chosen to to go with "T-Bar."

Ron.

You're well known for giving your players affectionate nicknames, oftentimes ending in a "-y" suffix. Lots of kids grew up with you recognizing the play of "Cuddy" and "Spansy " in your post game interviews, and they are the better for it. However, if you're going to deviate from that pattern and go with the wildly inferior "T-Bar" sobriquet, when "Meat Raffle" is right out there, warm, welcoming, ready to shut the door in the 8th and win some ham steaks at the VF later, it's frankly troubling. The #8thInningMeatRaffle hashtag is poised and ready to be Twitter's next big thing. And then you go and pull this (pardon my French) crap. It's unseemly.

I understand that crafting and bequeathing a nickname is a manager's prerogative, and I get that you've more than earned that right through your many years of service to the organization. However, I also know that your position is a little more precarious after the last few seasons, and this recent rough patch isn't helping. You're probably a little distracted. No one would blame you. You have to figure out how to replace Josh Willingham, you have to piece together a rotation with a bunch of question marks and 5th starters, and you have to figure out how to move that house in Little Canada when nobody wants to move to Little Canada. You've got a lot of balls in the air. Allow me, Stu, to help you, Ron.

Next time Meat Raffle gets in the game (see how great that just sounds?), shuts the damn door and sets up Perk, you go into that post game press conference, you look those vultures in their beady eyes, and you tell them how Meat Raffle just went out there and pitched, picked the boys up and got it to your closer. People are going to know exactly who you mean. "T-Bar" may as well just be Jeff Gray for all anyone cares. "Meat Raffle," though? That's a guy you can count on to get three no-nonsense outs.

Think it over, is all I'm asking.

Cordially,

Stu

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