Archive for June 7th, 2009
Washington, D.C. — The New York Mets, already decimated by injuries, placed J.J. Putz on the disabled list Saturday. The reliever had been experiencing pain in his throwing elbow and it was initially believed to be bone spurs. However, an MRI revealed the cause to be an inability to pronounce his own last name. Putz will miss nearly three months while he works on his Yiddish.
Putz, who currently pronounces his name with a long u, “had battled through this ailment most of his career” according to Mets’ General Manager Omar Minaya. “We knew about it, but our scouts were confident it wouldn’t hurt his effectiveness on the mound. His hundred big league saves proved that. Unfortunately, in New York, with its huge Jewish population, it’s a lot tougher to hide this type of ailment.”
In Yiddish, the term putz literally means ‘penis.’ However, it is often used in English to describe an unlikeable or unintelligent person. (see also, schmuck.)
Putz will be working with Dr. Oleg Steinblatt, Associate Dean of Yiddish Studies at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in Manhattan. “Though I cannot speak to how such an inability to properly pronounce a Yiddish word would hamper Mr. Putz’s ability to effectively get out of the 8th,” admitted Dr. Steinblatt, who says his parents discouraged sports when he was a youth, “it does appear his ailment is largely psychological.” While Dr. Steinblatt did not elaborate on the methods he would use to get Putz to pronounce his name with a short u, it will likely involve watching a lot of unfunny Jackie Mason bits.
While they brace for Putz’s absence, the Mets received more bad news when it was learned All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes would be out indefinitely with an inability to remember which handshake he’s supposed to do with what player.