(Apparently this is a real place in Granada Hills, California…..Yelp.com)
Former Brewer and genuine connoisseur of violent hacks at baseballs Russell Branyan was blessed with a great nickname: Russell the Muscle. The name fit his style perfectly because it represented the monstrous home runs he would jack, should he make solid contact with the baseball. In my mind, new Brewer Mark Reynolds has a similar M.O. as Branyan. He swings hard, he swings a lot, strikes out a lot, but also is capable of hitting moonshot homers. So, using MS Paint, I tried to figure out if there was a suitable rhyming nickname for our new hero Mark Reynolds:
Mark the Shark
This one's not bad. Mark Reynolds is not a marine cartilaginous fish with a fusiform body, lateral branchial clefts or tough, usually gray skin roughened by minute tubercles. He's also not an active predator dangerous to humans. However, he could be thought of as a "crafty" hitter who takes advantage of pitchers who miss their spots, and he does excel in a very particular field featuring three likely outcomes.
Mark the Aardvark
In no way does Reynolds' play in the field resemble the behavior of a large burrowing nocturnal mammal, as far as I know (at least I hope not). He doesn't have a long snout, powerful claws or feed on termites and ants. No, this "earth pig" is not going to work.
Mark the Ark
"Mark the Ark" could work in the sense that Reynolds' production and even his defense could be a flotation device upon which the Brewers could reach the safety of reasonable production at first base after the cataclysmic disaster of 2013 at that position. So far, the Reynolds signing appears to be something that affords some protection and safety against other options like Juan Francisco. Hopefully Reynolds will be a repository for a large amount of homers and RBI.
Mark the Lark
Reynolds doesn't resemble a ground-dwelling songbird, except perhaps his hair is brownish in color. Instead, his all-or-little approach at the plate is a prime source of or a quest for amusement or adventure! His compelling homers and fearless strikeouts would certainly amount to engagement in harmless fun or mischief. I think we have a contender here.
Mark the Bark
"Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy, or are you gonna bite?" asked Vic Vega in Tarantino's classic Reservoir Dogs (Note: if there's any chance you haven't seen it, watch it immediately…there's also a Brewers reference). This notion of barking but possibly not biting may not do Mark Reynolds any good, because it implies that he's all noise and can't bring the heat. Yet Reynolds can bring the bite as well.
Well that's all for today. I think my favorite is Mark the Lark, since that brings an element of whimsy, surprise and adventure, and though I haven't watched Reynolds extensively in the past, I've seen him play a bit with the Orioles and Indians, and I remember flashes of his highs and lows in Arizona. He will certainly bring a hacking mentality to the plate but his quest for power will definitely amuse and his sense of adventure will result in some really fun home runs. Assuming he gets a decent number of at-bats, I think Brewers fans are in for some awesome displays of raw power from Reynolds at Miller Park this season.