• Exclusives

    Braves Bullpen Trio Needs New Name

    By Kent Covington

    In 2011, no bullpen trio in baseball was more dominant than Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel, Johnny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty.  In fact this group of Braves’ relievers was reminiscent of another bullpen trio; The “Nasty Boys” (Rob Dibble, Randy Myers and Norm Charlton) of the 1990 Cincinnati Reds.

    The Nasty Boys… pretty cool nickname, huh?  That moniker could be found on a variety of t-shirts sold by street vendors outside Riverfront stadium and on the handmade signs of countless fans in ‘90.  “The Nasty Boys” was catchy, it sounded mean and it aptly described the “stuff” of that flame-throwing trio. It helped form an aura around Cincinnati’s relief core, which may have enhanced, at least slightly, the sense of intimidation felt by opposing teams that trailed the Reds after 6 innings.  And it certainly helped the buzz factor surrounding the team as they mounted their World Series run, a perk the Reds marketing department put to good use.

    An indelible and marketable nickname also helped that trio to leave a more vivid imprint on Major League Baseball.  Twenty-two years later, we’re still talking about The Nasty Boys.

    Now, let me ask you something.  Twenty-two years from now, will anyone say “Hey, remember ‘O’Ventbrel’?”

    O’Ventbrel is the nickname that seems to have caught on—at least to some degree—to describe the remarkable Braves trio of Kimbrel, Venters and O’Flaherty.  But is O’Ventbrel really the best we can do?  The ’90 Reds trio gets The Nasty Boys and these guys get O’Ventbrel??

    Braves closer, Craig Kimbrel

    With this nickname, we’ve turned the back-end of the Braves ‘pen into the “Brangolina” of Major League Baseball. It’s not intimidating, and it’s not memorable.  Let’s leave the name-squishing to TMZ.

    How many O’Ventbrel t-shirts did you notice on street vendor tables outside “The Ted” last season?

    My point is simply this:  These guys deserve better. They deserve an enduring label.  And let’s face it… anything that adds even a small measure of excitement to the sometimes lethargic crowds at Turner Field is a plus.

    That’s why we believe it’s time to kill O’Ventbrel (no, not the pitchers; just the nickname).

    Over the past six months, I’ve asked our Twitter followers to suggest nicknames for this Braves trio. I’ve polled those suggestions and have isolated a couple of names that stand out.  The first of those names is “The Unholy Trinity” (credit to @politicgame).  It sounds edgy and aggressive, and it has an intimidation factor.

    But someone (@ChopAttack) recently suggested a nickname via Twitter that seems to poll better than anything else… “The Untouchables”.

    The Untouchables is, of course, the name of a classic gangster flick and television series, so the name is inherently menacing.  And it definitely describes the “stuff” of this trio, which is at times, well… untouchable.  It’s also short and memorable.  The marketing possibilities surrounding this moniker are endless.  A 1920’s gangster photo shoot with Kimbrel, Venters and O’Flaherty—complete with pinstriped suits and tommy guns, anyone?  And fans would surely have fun with the classic gangster theme.

    Admittedly, As long as Braves broadcasters, writers, and even manager, Fredi Gonzalez, continue to repeat “O’Ventbrel”, this effort may be a lost cause.  But again, these guys deserve better, so we’ll give it our best shot.

    So with this blog, we officially ask you to join our campaign to replace the utterly forgettable O’Ventbrel with a far more enduring and buzzworthy name.

    Here’s to the continued dominance in 2012 of The Untouchables!