The 2012 edition of MiLB.com Moniker Madness
has now entered the third round, and those who remain could be dubbed the "Sweetly Named 16." Intriguing matchups abound, but none have quite the cachet of Forrest Snow vs. Tuffy Gosewich -- a battle of hardened Moniker Madness veterans.
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This marks the third season in which Snow, a 23-year-old Jackson Generals right-hander, has entered the contest as a No. 1 seed. But, thus far, he has been unable to reach the promised land. In 2010, Snow was upset in the first round by controversial No. 16 seed Travis "Gookie" Dawkins, and last year he went down in defeat to Dusty Harvard in the quarterfinals (Harvard, meanwhile, went on to lose to Seth Schwindenhammer in the Championship Round).
Snow, who comes from a long family line of nature-themed names, is looking to redeem himself this year, and so far, so good. He handily defeated Leighton Pangilinan and alliterative wunderkind Skyler Stromsmoe thus far, but he recently remarked to the Jackson Sun that his next opponent will be "a tough opponent, no pun intended."
That would be the aforementioned No. 4 seed James "Tuffy" Gosewisch, a catcher with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs who has been a Moniker Madness contestant in all six seasons of the tournament's existence. I interviewed Tuffy as part of a 2010 Moniker Madness feature story, and he explained his nickname thusly:
"I was a real terror as a baby," he said. "I'd break the crib, beat everything up, loved to hit things, all sorts of nonsense. When I was maybe six-months-old, my dad said, 'This kid's a Tuffy,' and it just stuck."
Snow vs. Gosewisch is one of two matchups in the tournament's "Razor Shines Bracket." The other features No. 2 seed Xander Boegarts, who faces a formidable opponent in Carolina Mudcats right-hander Michael Goodnight. And before I say "good night" and end this column, let's take a look at the matchups remaining in the tournament's three other brackets.
Icicle Reeder: Caleb Bushyhead has stormed onto the Moniker Madness scene as a No. 1 seed, and thus far he has lived up to his potential. The 22-year-old shortstop, who was recently promoted from Orem to Class A Cedar Rapids, handily defeated Boomer Potts in the second round and now faces presumed Minor League philosopher Socrates Brito.
Meanwhile, a very intriguing matchup awaits in the form of No. 3 Bear Bay versus No. 2 Kevin Quackenbush. Bay, a Tucson Padres right-hander whose nickname was bestowed upon him by his grandfather, spent 2008-10 in the independent leagues and has never pitched at the Double-A level. Thus, he has never taken the mound against the Mobile BayBears.
Farmer Works: Like the aforementioned and seemingly unbeatable Bushyhead, Great Lakes Loons hurler Duke von Schamann has earned a No. 1 seed in his first professional season. In what promises to be a thrilling battle of the titans, he now faces formidable No. 4 seed Rock Shoulders. Shoulders defeated promising newcomer Goose Kallunki in Round Two, thereby scuttling hopes of an eventual Goose vs. Quackenbush matchup.
The other matchup in the "Works" is No. 6 Jamodrick McGruder against overachieving No. 15 Scooter Gennett. McGruder recently triumphed over David Goforth, who was therefore unable to do so. Scooter, meanwhile, earned a surprising upset over South African shortstop Gift Ngoepe.
Natty Nattress: No. 1 seed Rougned Odor and No. 5 seed Zelous Wheeler both earned blowout victories in Round Two, setting the stage for what promises to be a hard-fought matchup. Will Odor's olfactory-themed surname triumph over Zelous?
Another recipient of an easy Round Two blowout victory was No. 2 seed Boss Monoroa, who had no problem whatsoever with his No. 7 seed opponent, Delta Cleary Jr. The same can't be said of his current foe Helpi Reyes, who edged Yogey Perez-Ramos by the slimmest of margins and now advances to Round Three bruised but unbeaten.