You can blame Ron Washington for the moniker on the back of Ian Kinsler’s Players’ Weekend jersey. The appearance of the name “Bootsie” had many Tigers fans scratching their heads wondering where that one had come from.
Washington started calling Kinsler “Bootsie” during their mutual time with the Texas Rangers, though Kinsler has no idea why. Evidently the name followed him during his move to Detroit when both David Price and hitting coach Lloyd McClendon picked up where Washington left off.
Kinsler told press, “Lloyd McClendon and 'Wash' are really good friends, so McClendon started calling me that last year. It has made it through somehow. I didn't know what else to put on the back of my jersey, so I went with that.”
Michael Fulmer went way back to his high school years to come up with “Fulm Piece” but already regrets the decision. “I really hope it doesn't stick, but I guess we will have to find out.”
Some nicknames seemed like they’d be obvious choices, but due to copyright issues, the players weren’t able to use the ones they wanted. That’s the reason Alex Wilson didn’t go with the obvious fan favorite of “Star-Lord” which is owned by Marvel (and parent company Disney). For the same reason, Mikie Mahtook wasn’t able to use the nickname the team has for him, saying it’s “kind of copyrighted.”
Both Wilson and Mahtook went a new direction with their nickname choices, and brought former teammate Justin Wilson into the fold with them.
Alex Wilson, unable to trade on his likeness to Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt, chose his uniform nickname based on a joke he and Justin Wilson shared in the Tigers’ bullpen, that while they had the same last name, they weren’t actually related. This resulted in a running joke that they were like Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly’s characters in Step Brothers.
As a result, they selected the names “Dale” and “Brennan” for their uniforms, each representing one of the characters. Justin Wilson maintained the joke even now that he’ll be wearing a Cubs jersey.
Mahtook’s “Night Hawk” is also a Step Brothers reference, as it’s the name Will Ferrell’s Brennan asks to be called by new step brother Dale (who wants to be known as “Dragon” himself). Mahtook said of his nickname choice, “I love that movie. I think it fits my personality.”
The best nickname of the bunch might be one that never makes it to the back of a jersey, however.
UPDATE: Apparently Alex Wilson will now be using “Snake Farm” instead of “Dale,” based on his walk-out song.