They were known to the world at large as Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, and Nick Blackburn. But in the Twins clubhouse, they were Morny. Cuddy. Blacky. Longtime Twins manager Ron Gardenhire loved nicknaming the way he despised Hunter Wendelstedt, often taking the first syllable of a player's surname and tacking on a "-y" suffix.
Now, though, Ron Gardenhire has been replaced with Paul Molitor, and no one is quite sure what's next, including Molitor himself.
"I loved what Gardy did with the names, but I have to do it my way," said the Hall of Famer and St. Paul native. "I just don't know what that way is yet. It's a fluid situation, to be honest."
Players say the uncertainty of what they're going to be called isn't a big deal now, but as spring training looms, they know it's only a matter of time.
"You don't want to go into Opening Day, wondering if your manager is bawling you out, or some other dude named 'Slugger,' said Twins second baseman Brian Dozier. "Paul's played the game, so he knows this needs to get nipped in the bud.
"I heard from Perk (Twins closer Glen Perkins) that he (Molitor) was gonna call me 'Glamour Shots.' I hope that's not true, and Glen is always full of (stuff)."
Molitor would neither confirm nor deny that report, but did say that Dozier was "handsome as the day is long."
"I'm still kicking around some ideas, and I think I'll settle on a convention by the time pitches and catchers report," said Molitor. "I like the idea of going back to the old days and giving 'em old-timey names like 'Moonlight' and 'Three-Finger.' I ran that last one past Perk on the Twins Caravan, and he just started laughing and making a, well..."
Molitor proceeded to make a hand motion commonly associated with male masturbation.
"So maybe I'll just go with initials or something. Goddammit, Perkins."