TORONTO — It’s Players’ Weekend in Major League Baseball and everybody who wears a uniform has a personally chosen nickname on the back of his jersey.
Phillies nicknames range from the not-so-creative (Pat Neshek is “Neshek”) to the fairly creative (Nick Williams is “Nicky Dubs”) to the doubly creative (Rhys Hoskins is "Big Fella" and husky Tommy Hunter is “Bigger Fella”) to the, well, we just had to ask.
Relief pitcher Austin Davis laughed in telling how his buddies from Cal State Bakersfield gave him that moniker several years ago.
“Well, I was a little fat coming out of college,” he said before Friday night’s game against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. “I was pushing 255, so I was a little overweight, and there was one instance that kind of made it stick.
“We were at a pool party and I sat down on a chair and the chair broke out from under me and that kind of solidified 'Big Fudge.' They always called me fat or tubby, just joking, but when I broke through a chair, that’s when 'Big Fudge' was born, I guess you could say.”
Major League Baseball vetted all the nicknames — just to make sure they were all suitable for a family game, you know — and when Davis’ “Big Fudge” jersey arrived, he snapped a picture of it and sent it to his buddies.
“They’re pumped,” he said. “They’re trying to buy it on the internet.”
Davis was a 12th-round draft pick of the Phillies in 2014. He has made a nice showing in his rookie year in the majors but landed on the disabled list last week with back tightness. He is currently rehabbing with the club — and filling out his Big Fudge shirt at 230 pounds.
Davis explained that the "Big Fudge" reference was from a character on the comedy show "How I Met Your Mother."
“It wasn’t just random,” he said with a laugh.
OK, so, asking for a friend: How did Davis lose all that weight anyway?
Turns out he played winter ball in Nicaragua after the 2015 season. It was hot. It was humid. And the food wasn't exactly something to write home about.
Ah. So that’s the trick.