Renaming the 'ultimate grand slam'

Leon Halip

Rajai Davis hit an ultimate grand slam on Monday night, but no one's calling it that because it's a stupid name. Let's rename it.

On Monday night, Rajai Davis hit the grand slam you practiced in your backyard.

Here we go, down by three, bases loaded, in steps (you) ...

He did it against Sean Doolittle, an impossible pitcher. The crowd went bananas.

It was just the 28th time in baseball history that a player hit a grand slam down by three, in the final at-bat in their home ballpark. A double play ends it. A regular ol' out makes a comeback exceedingly unlikely. Instead, the team wins in a split-second, the home crowd erupts, his teammates crowd around the plate. It's the greatest dejection-to-elation moment in baseball, if not pro sports.

And they call it an "ultimate grand slam."

Oh, come on. What kind of name is that? Ultimate grand slam. Baseball is so concerned with its legacy and history, yet the most exciting possible swing of a baseball bat sounds like a flavor of Mountain Dew. Someone who looked like Dan Cortese said "oh, bro, ultimate grand slam" after Chris Hoiles hit one in 1996, and the name stuck. Oh, how the name stuck.

So unfortunate. At least that means it's time to play "What Should We Name This?", in which we look to give a baseball-related event a name. In this case, we're looking to take away an awful name and replace it with a less awful name. If you like the name ULTIMATE GRAND SLAM, you like getting punched in the face while listening to someone play "Eruption" at a Guitar Center. Let's help you. Some possibilities:

The famous people

Here are the Hall of Famers who have hit a walkoff grand slam down by three:

  • Roger Conner
  • Babe Ruth
  • Roberto Clemente
  • Alan Trammell

Trammell's in my Hall of Fame. Get your own Hall of Fame. There's a statue with him on a tandem bike with Lou Whitaker, and it's near the food court.

In this scenario, you name the grand slam after a player. No one's ever going to say, "Dude, he has a chance for a rogcon here," but you get the idea. Saying that he hit a Clemente has a ring to it. A Grand Tram is a little too cute, but you get the idea. You can't use Babe Ruth, though, because it would never not sound like a homer where the player called his shot. There's a list of walk-off, down-by-three grand slams here (that doesn't have Ryan Roberts from 2011 or Davis from Monday night).

A description of the play

This would be the spiritual successor to ULTIMATE GRAND SLAM, except not as awful. A golden grand slam. A silver comeback. A swingphoric grand slamporium.

Man, these are all worse than the one I'm making fun of. A down-by-three dinger. Miracle dinger. Wonderbat. I know this category has a chance, but I need to find suggestions that are actual improvements. Thunderswat. Professor Neatswing. Dammit, pass, pass, move on.

Unrelated or made-up words

Pick some existing words, or just get some syllables and start mashing them together. A strangle. A cyclone. A growler. Or on the made-up side, a fantle. A bamph. A studge. Just dig through the Lewis Carroll archives and see what shakes out.

This, too, is worse than the actual name, and I'm running out of time.

Brooks Conrad

Again, just 28 people have hit one of these. More pitchers have had a four-strikeout inning. Almost as many have thrown a perfect game. This is rare.

Do you know how many people have made a crucial error in a playoff game? Probably a lot more. Tony Fernandez. Alex Gonzalez. Bill Buckner. Those are the obvious ones, without any research at all. There are probably dozens. Yet what is Brooks Conrad known for?

That. What is he not known for?

That. This seems supremely unfair, to be a part of a rare moment of baseball euphoria, yet be associated with a not-nearly-as-rare occurrence. Name the ULTIMATE GRAND SLAM after Conrad, and that changes.

The only problem is that Brooks Conrad is kind of a plain name. The Clemente had some music to it that a Brooks or a Conrad will never has. As such, we're going to have to pass. The sentiment is still there, though. Maybe just the verb can help out. He conradded a grand slam to win the game. Keep it in mind.

The winner

It was there the whole time, right from the first sentence.

A backyard grand slam.

A backyard grand slam.

Just adding one word adds so many layers. An ultimate grand slam makes you think of a player riding a manticore and hitting the grand slam that decides World War III. A backyard grand slam makes you think of down by three, bases loaded .... There was no other situation that made sense when you were a kid. It was always down by three, bases loaded. You don't have to use it, but that's what I'm using from now on.

Congratulations to Rajai Davis on his backyard grand slam. It might be a decade until the next one, so appreciate it now. There's no better way to appreciate it than by giving it a name that is more deserving of the feat, even if only slightly.

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