What’s in a name?

It may seem trivial to the reader, but getting players’ information right is very important to me. I spend hours behind the scenes ensuring The Cardinal Nation player database and team rosters are accurate – down to dates of birth, high schools and yes, even the most basic data – their names.

For example, Quad Cities’ reliever Aidan Lucas’ first name was misspelled by many sources as Aiden when he was drafted last year. Fortunately TCN Johnson City reporter Shawn Kerrick spotted that immediately and I corrected it on our site. This spring, when I first met Lucas in spring training and we shook hands, I opened by saying, “Aidan with two ‘A’s’, right?” We shared a laugh.

In other cases, it is not so clear. For whatever reason, until my current trip to Springfield, I had never talked with catcher Charles Cutler. That changed on Monday. As you might expect, I had to ask him if he prefers to be called “Charles” or “Charlie.” We have been using the former, while many others use the latter.

He chuckled and said, “Charles is my business name. All my friends call me Charlie. We’re now friends, right?” Of course, I had to agree. In the process, I added a to-do for when I get home – to change his first name in the data base.

A second target in Springfield was Texas League all-star pitcher Mike Blazek. Most other sources use his formal name, Michael. I searched him out to learn his preference. Blazek explained that most people in baseball call him ‘Blazer’ and others ‘Michael.’ While he has no problem whatsoever with ‘Mike,’ he says it isn’t used much. Change number two.

Then there is reliever Samuel Freeman, shown on the Springfield mound Monday night. The lefty from the University of Kansas has been pitching effectively coming off Tommy John surgery though his velocity is not completely back. Freeman is a most engaging and polite man. In fact, so much so that I forgot to ask him how he wants his name specified. For now, it may remain “Samuel,” but I suspect another change is coming.

Also on my to-do list to resolve is Palm Beach’s Dan/Daniel Calhoun. The 2011 draft is bringing a whole new group, as well… Is it Michael Knox, Bradley Watson, Daniel Miranda… ?

Focusing on getting all last names in the proper places, I hope to have a new roster matrix ready on Thursday incorporating the short-season teams. In the meantime, the individual team rosters on The Cardinal Nation site are very close to accurate.

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