St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha never wanted to be called “Wacha Flocka Flame.”
“I guess it’s just something I have to get used to,” he said on Friday before the Cardinals played the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The nickname is a reference to the similarly named rapper Waka Flocka Flame. Wacha had never heard of the hip-hop artist before a friend his freshman year at Texas A&M introduced Wacha to his music.
And it was not love at first listen.
Wacha had no interest in adopting a nickname associated with the rapper then, let alone filling his iPod with Waka Flocka Flame songs. Wacha still doesn’t. But fans, along with outlets including ESPN, Sporting News and Arch City Sports, have embraced its usage.
Wacha’s disinterest in the nickname doesn’t stem from a disinterest in rap. He listed hip hop and country as his favorite genres of music for his get-to-know-you Q&A on the official website of the Memphis Redbirds, the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate. His lack of interest is individualized.
While the 22-year-old Wacha has quickly developed into a prominent pitcher, Waka Flocka Flame isn’t the most respected rapper.
Wacha won four of the five games he pitched in the 2013 MLB playoffs, finishing with a 2.64 ERA. Comparatively, in review of Waka’s last album “Triple F Life,” Rolling Stone wrote “classing up Waka is like putting a fig leaf over King Kong’s balls.”
Due to the not-so-gratifying comparison, it isn’t shocking that Wacha doesn’t lay in bed at night dreaming about Waka writing a song about him, though the idea of isn’t far-fetched. Waka is a sports fanatic and coined “hard in the paint,” a phrase used often enough by athletes for ESPN to publish a feature about it.
The pitcher did say he isn’t fazed by the nickname as much as he used to be, but he's not dying to hear a “Hard on the Mound” remix.
*All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.