Good morning! Hope everyone had a good weekend.
Now then: Potentially historic news is brewing in Major League Baseball, as word came down last night that the Reds are calling up corner infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand from their Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats.
As you may recall, the Reds made some waves last winter when they posted the photo shown at the top of this page, showing Encarnacion-Strand in a Reds jersey with his full NOB in all its hyphenated glory (its prodigious length accentuated by the Reds’ clunky NOB font).
Encarnacion-Strand took part in the Reds’ spring training camp as a minor league invitee, and I was looking forward to seeing his NOB on the field. Unfortunately, he wore only part of his surname during that stint:
Boooo! Why would the Reds tease us with that earlier photo if they didn’t have the courage of their convictions?
Even worse, Encarnacion-Strand was eventually optioned to Triple-A Louisville — a team that goes NNOB:
What a waste of a fun name!
But now that Encarnacion-Strand is poised to make his big league debut, he has a chance to make history. The current record for the longest NOB to appear on an MLB jersey is held by Twins pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson (15 letters plus a space), who appeared in one game last October:
Encarnacion-Strand’s surname, clocking in at 17 letters plus a hyphen, would set the new standard for MLB NOBs — if he and the Reds choose to go that route. If the Reds send him out there with the foreshortened “Encarnacion” (which Reds beat writer and friend of Uni Watch C. Trent Rosecrans says is the most likely option), that would be a major missed opportunity, both for him and for them. Come on, Cincy — let the kid set the record!
It’s worth noting that the Reds have some experience with lengthy hyphenated NOBs, having previously employed Dee Strange-Gordon (13 letters plus a hyphen):
Anyway, the Reds have known for a while that Encarnacion-Strand was on a big league trajectory, so they’ve had plenty of time to prepare for this moment. Have they developed a compressed version of their NOB font? A double-decker treatment? Come on, people — make it happen!
To be clear: I don’t think any of these loooong, semicircular NOBs actually look “good” (especially in the Reds’ NOB font), but there’s a novelty to them that I find irresistible. That’s why I’m rooting for Encarnacion-Strand to be wearing his full surname when the host the Giants tonight.
And please, Reds, whatever you do, don’t ever trade this kid to the Yankees.
Of course, all of these NOBs — Encarnacion-Strand, Woods Richardson, and Strange-Gordon — carry an asterisk in the NOB sweepstakes because they’re compound surnames. For mononymic surnames, Salty (14 letters) still holds the record.
Update, 2:20pm: It appears that my plea has fallen on deaf ears:
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 17, 2023
(My thanks to Twitter-er @_RF30, who was the first to bring Encarnacion-Strand’s call-up to my attention.)