Of course, Spanish names are not the only ones difficult for English-speaking broadcasters and public address announcers. How well could you say the names of these players: Marc Rzepczynski, Matt Szczur, Aaron Altherr, Seunghwan Oh, Jeff Samardzija, Sam Tuivailala or Jameson Taillon. Or how about Robert Gsellman, the Mets relief pitcher?
“It bothered me when I was little but you get used to it,” guh-SELL-man said. “They’ll get it right one day.”
Even before Major League Baseball made Spanish-language interpreters mandatory in clubhouses starting with the 2016 season, Baker asked players for their proper pronunciations and took notes. “It would take me a couple of times just listening to get it down,” he said.
Now, Baker receives constant feedback from the Phillies interpreter, Diego Ettedgui (eh-TED-gui), who is from Venezuela and whose last name, Ettedgui said, is of Arabic and Spanish origin.
“I don’t think it’s anything out of the ordinary,” Baker said. “It’s the way it’s supposed to be. And for our guys, and especially now that we have a significant number of Hispanic players, it’s even more important.”
Marysol Castro, one of the Mets’ two new public address announcers at Citi Field, is of Puerto Rican descent and also uses the Spanish pronunciations of Asdrúbal Cabrera, the Mets second baseman who is from Venezuela; Amed Rosario, the shortstop from the Dominican Republic, and others. She is also the Mets’ first female public address announcer.
As for me, my last name is pretty simple: WAG-ner, not VOG-ner, as in German. But WOG-ner, as my Nicaraguan grandfather used to say in his very limited English, will also suffice.