Spring training hasn't even truly started, and already your Anaheim Angels are annoying their $200 million man, Albert Pujols, with billboards proclaiming him “El Hombre“–“The Man” in espeaky Espanish. Not only is it unimaginative, but the St. Louis Cardinals tried to do that, a linguistic play on their beloved Hall-of-Famer Stan Musial–and Pujols told them to shove a bat where the sun don't shine. And he did the same when the Angels did the same.
But the marketing gaffe actually presents a golden opportunity for the Halos. I get they want to do an advertising campaign for the team's golden boy, one built around his Latino-ness–but what to do when your star is some humble God boy with no skeleton in his closet? Following, then, are five appropriate Spanish-language nicknames the Angels can use for Pujols. And in honor of his Christian faith, I will do something unprecedented in my writing career: not use a single Spanish curse word.
1. El Mero Mero
The most logical one, as it's a Mexican Spanish idiom that'll resonate with all the wabs and speaks to Pujols' prodigious powers. Translates roughly as “the top of the top” and used only to describe the best of the best.
2. El Reconquista
Sure, it's grammatically incorrect, but what a wonderful way to reappropriate the term from Know Nothing yahoos! Besides, Angels owner Arte Moreno specifically brought in Pujols to retake the American League West from the Texas Rangers, so it's as apt a metaphor for Pujols as any.
3. El Tablazo
Not too many Dominicans in Southern California–and I think most of them are baseball players or merengue players. The Halos need to make Pujols feel comfortable, so they might as well trot out this Dominican Spanish slang term that means "a big ol' hit” and in the rest of the Spanish-speaking world means "a giant piece of wood.” Perfect to describe Pujols and what he does while tweaking The Splendid Splinter, the nickname for Ted Williams, the best Latino player of all time.
4. El Santo
Pujols wouldn't allow this one in a million years, but that's what he is. And, besides, you know some dunderhead Angels marketing exec is going to come up with the brilliant-in-his-mind idea of selling Mexican wrestling masks to go with a Pujols promotion because all Latinos are the same, right? So might as well associate Pujols with the greatest Mexican luchador of them all. Think of the synergy!
5. El Orange Crush
A good way for our Mexican friends to learn English, a good way for our gabacho pals to learn Spanish. Plus? Incorporates geography, metaphor, symbolism AND in Spanglish–perfect. And that's why it's the least likely in this bunch.