Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Of Monsters and 'Monster Men'

The shift.

The second baseman moving over to short right, shortstop to right center, third baseman enjoying a smoke and a hot dog in the first row of the stands.

It's the baseball story of the 2014--that and all the glowing re2pect for the Yankee captain.

But what do you call that infielder hanging out in short right like an underage kid in a bar?

He's a monster man, saves David Cone.

"It looks like slow pitch softball out there," said Cone in a recent YES Network telecast. "The 'monster man' in those games played short right."

Boothmate Ken Singleton had his own term for the short, temporary right fielder.

"Monster man or rover," said Ken.

Maybe not enough people write about softball these days, but I don't see any use of "monster man" in a softball context in the interwebs.

I do see a football one on UTSports.com:
Three-time Vols football letterman Nick Showalter passed away on Monday at the age of 65. Showalter played "monster man" for the Vols from 1966-68. He went on to become a successful dentist in Knoxville.

And then:

In those days, Tennessee coach Doug Dickey often recruited prep quarterbacks, reasoning they were the best athletes on the team, and turned them into capable offensive and defensive players.
Dr. Showalter was one of those type players, playing defensive end and "monster man" during his career, a time in which the Vols won the SEC and national title in 1967 and graced three bowl games.
Apparently, "monster man" is a widely understood term down in Tennessee, as UT Sports offers no explanation as to what the heck it is.

But Wikipedia's "Glossary of American Football" defines it as:

A strong safety in a four-deep secondary with the ability to cover deep zones, defend against runs and, on occasion, play on the line of scrimmage.

The rover, says Answers.com, can be just about anywhere, as the word indicates.

The rover usually plays in shallow center-field, but like every other player (except the pitcher and catcher), can play anywhere on the field at any time.