Even before his dominant Major League debut, StephenStrasburghad been turning heads with his overpowering fastball and devastating curve. But today the 21-year-old right hander raised eyebrows for a much different reason, announcing at a morning press conference that he is dropping his birth name in favor of the mound name, Ace Heater.
The change, which is effective immediately, was made with the hopes of improving the young flamethrower’s marketability.
"Cary Grant was born Archibald Leach. Rita Hayworth was Margarita Cansino," said Scott Boras, Heater's agent. "Without their stage names, they never would have made it as big as they did. If actors can do it, we see no reason why baseball players can do it. And, let's be honest, Stephen Strasburg isn't any better than Archibald Leach. At the same time, Ace Heater is way more kickass than Cary Grant."
Although not everyone agrees, most notably Heater's mother, Mary Ann Strasburg.
“Ace Heater!? Who the heck does he think he is?” said Mary Ann. “What’s wrong with the name Stephen? There’s no St. Ace, I’ll tell you that much. Nor does he have a great uncle Ace who served in World War II, may he rest in peace."
According to Heater, the decision to change his name was an easy one. After Boras pitched him the idea of being the first person to have a mound name, it wasn’t a matter of if he was going to take one, but what it was going to be.
“At first I was pretty set on Chaz Kay, but Scott told me it was too subtle. I tried to meet him halfway with Chuck Kay, but then we decided that sounded too much like Jackee. And I'm just not sassy enough to pull that off."
After hours of discussion and deliberation, the two finally agreed on a name. Heater says he’s satisfied with the name he chose because it highlights his two greatest attributes, “being a pitcher and throwing really fast.”