The Putz stopped here, too
Seldom does a Seattle series go by that I don't get several e-mails or personal entreaties to interview reliever J.J. Putz. And, of course, this is understandable because of the similar ridiculousness of our respective surnames.
Some of you probably remember that I did just that a couple of years ago for a column in the print edition of The Sun. I approached J.J. in the Mariners clubhouse and introduced myself and expected some kind of reaction when he heard my last name, but he just stared at me like I had just surfed back from Gilligan's Island.
No problem. I explained to him that because I was a semi-respected journalist with a very silly name and he was an up-and-coming baseball star with a silly name, we should be having a bonding moment of mutual understanding after mutual lifetimes of middle school taunts and rebuffed marriage proposals.
When he finally figured out what I was talking about, he politely informed me that no natural kinship existed between us because his last name is not pronounced the way it would seem by the spelling. It is pronounced with a longer "U" sound (Pootz) and he was never the object of junior high or any other kind of name-related ridicule.
I suppose I should be happy for him, but if I recall the column I wrote at the time, I just felt stupid that it never occurred to me to tell everyone that my last name is Schmook.
While we're on the subject, what's your favorite funny sports name?
I'm partial to NASCAR driver Dick Trickle, who is one of the very few people who make me count my name-related blessings.