MIAMI GARDENS, FL: Mike Stanton #27 of the Florida Marlins hits a solo home run against Pitcher Mike Minor #36 of the Atlanta Braves at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
You're familiar with the Miami Marlins' Mike Stanton. Now it's time to get familiar with the Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton. He's the same guy, and he's really good.
This past offseason, the Florida Marlins became the Miami Marlins, and a huge deal was made of their re-brand. They had Pitbull and everything. They got a new logo. They got new uniforms. They got a new stadium, in a new location. They got a new manager. They got a new approach to roster construction. Not that much time has passed since the Florida Marlins last existed, but they've become an entirely different baseball team.
It seems the re-brand has a trickle-down effect. If you're a baseball fan, you're familiar with Mike Stanton. Mike Stanton is re-branding, as he doesn't want to go by "Mike" anymore.
"The man of a million names," Stanton said.
He likes them all, but with spring training cranking up and Stanton touted as a future home-run champion, he said Wednesday he prefers Giancarlo.
That's not something selected out of the blue. I know it sounds like it is, but Stanton's full name is Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton. He went by Giancarlo when he was much younger, but he stopped because people had trouble with the pronunciation. That's when he switched to Mike, because it takes a complete idiot to mispronounce Mike.
Giancarlo never entirely went away. Friends kept calling him that, and Jeffrey Loria has been calling him that. But now it's back, with gusto. Stanton is listed as Giancarlo on the Marlins' official roster for the first time.
Now, Mike Stanton going by a different first name doesn't matter to us in any meaningful way. We still know who he is, and it's not like this is another Fausto Carmona situation, where his name changes and his age changes and he gets into trouble with the law. Mike Stanton is Giancarlo Stanton. Okay.
But this still makes me happy, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Giancarlo, for one thing, is an awesome name. It's a distinctive name, and it's a fun name to say, like Giuseppe. Stanton's going to be the first Giancarlo in the history of Major League Baseball (the Gio in Gio Gonzalez is short for Giovany, which is also awesome). And it's about time that Stanton finds a way to stand out. I mean, he's always stood out with his performance and his mammoth home runs, but "Mike Stanton"? Names don't get much more boring than Mike Stanton. There have been three Mike Stantons, and one of them is the all-time leader in holds. Holds are baseball's dumbest and most uninteresting statistic.
Great players should have interesting names. Babe Ruth. Barry Bonds. Honus Wagner. Roger Clemens. Willie Mays. As Mike, Stanton had an uninteresting name, but as Giancarlo, Stanton has a very interesting name, and as bizarre as it sounds I think this is going to help him achieve greater renown.
Forget Mike Stanton. There is now Giancarlo Stanton, and he is 22 and amazing. A lot of people today are talking about MLB's expanded playoffs, but I think this is my story of choice.