07 July 2009

Marc Rzepczynski and the Spelling Bee All-Star Team

What's "Rzepczynski" spelled backwards, if it isn't already?

The Blue Jays are starting a young lefty named Marc Rzepczynski today against the Tampa Bay Rays, one of many starters in the Jays' patchwork rotation this year. He's 23 and his career minor league stats to date (21-11, 2.76 ERA, 277 K's in 254 innings) suggest that he can become a solid major leaguer.

But that's not why I'm writing.

I'm writing about him because , boy, that name is a doozy, isn't it? I mean, I for one am glad that we no longer live in a world where Aloys Szymanski feels compelled to change his name to "Al Simmons", or Joannes Pajkos feels that he won't be accepted without changing his name to Jack Quinn. But it sure makes for some messy lineup cards.

So, in honor of other guys who've succeeded in spite of the fact that their elementary school teachers probably couldn't spell their names correctly, I came up with the

Spelling Bee All-Star Team


C. Jarrod Saltalamacchia - Not a good hitter to begin with, ("Salt-a-MATCH-ee-a", I think) is having an even worse year than normal at the plate, but makes the list on the merits of his 14-letter last name. Besides, Casper Asbjornson has been dead for almost 40 years.

1B: Teixeira, Mark - I was tempted to go with Doug Mientczwkyzch Mint-KAY-vich, but Teixiera can actually hit and play defense, and isn't all but unemployed at the moment. While his name's not that long, there's no apparent reason why it should be pronounced "Te-SHARE-a", so he gets the nod.

2B: Mark Grudzielanek would be the easy choice here if he weren't retired, but then who am I gonna pick, Omar Quintanilla? He's a pinch hitter with a 565 OPS. Grudz (about whom that sentence above was originally uttered, by Harry Caray) is the obvious choice. he can come out of retirement to play the All-Star game. Heck, Magic Johnson did it once, right?

3B: Edwin Encarnacion - Granted, he's been both lousy and injured this year, but there really isn't any other thirdbaseman in the majors right now whose name is all that tough to either spell or pronounce. "en-car-NASS-ee-on" never struck me as a particularly tough name to pronounce, but people insist on saying "en-car-nation" or something like that, so Edwin gets a shot.

SS: Troy Tulowitzki - Not a terribly challenging name, but remembering not to put a "t" in front of the "l" in his last name might be a challenge for some. Nomar Garciaparra, whose first name actually IS spelled backwards, would have been an obvious pick ten years ago, but he hasn't been a shortstop in a long time.

LF: Wladimir Balentien - Can't hit his way out of a paper bag, but with that "l" crammed into the beginning of his first name and an "ie" (or is it "ei"?) in his last, we've unquestionably got our left fielder.

CF: Kosuke Fukudome - Japanese names tend not to be all that difficult to pronounce, since any consonant is always followed by a vowel, but this guy's actually playing and hitting a bit, his name is a bit of a mouthful, and if you pronounce it wrong in mixed company you're probably going to get slapped. So he makes the team.

RF: Bronson Sardinha - What? Why do we have a player who hasn't played in MLB in almost two years on our team? A player who's not playing professionally anywhere this year? A player with a total of 10 MLB at-bats? For that matter, a player whose first and last names are not particularly difficult to spell or say? Why?

Because his middle name is almost 20 letters long: Kiheimahanaomauikeo

And that's all I have to say about that.

Starting Pitchers

LHP: Marc Rzepczynski - pronounced...who knows? Has lots of potential, which is to say he hasn't done anything yet. (Honorable mention: Mark Buehrle.)

RHP: Zach Greinke - Not a long or tough to pronounce name, but he disobeys the "i before e except after C" rule, so that's something. It should be noted, however, that he obeys the "If you're the best pitcher in baseball, spell your name however you damn well please" rule, which was admittedly just instituted this year.

Honorable Mention:
Justin Duchscherer - pronounced "DUKE-shur", not "do-SHARE-er" or "Dutch-sher-er" was actually having a pretty good year, with a 2.54 ERA in 2008 before getting injured, and he hasn't pitched since.

Relief Pitchers

Jonathan Albaladejo - pronounced "All-ball-a-DAY-ho" threw a too many balls, all day-o, and got sent back to the minors for it but was recently recalled when Wang's shoulder landed him on the DL.

Chris Jakubauskas - This 30-year old rookie was horrible as a starter (2-5, 6.64), but solid in 22 relief innings, Chris "JAK-u-boss-kus" is probably our closer.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Loved your Article Marc Rzepczynski and the Spelling Bee All-Star Team

Rzepczynski is actually easier to pronounce than it is to spell