I realize that being a sports announcer is harder than it looks. You have to know how to fill up all those silent places with words, while, ironically, keeping quiet at the right spots and not using words you’ve used before. That can lead to some rather oddly mixed metaphors, such as my friend Brad Feldman’s odd construction “Put icing on the gravy” that he used this weekend.
Given all that, I still can’t get why these guys have trouble with learning how to pronounce things. I caught a bit of the Chicago – San Jose game this weekend. I don’t know the names of Comcast’s crew in the box this weekend, but two little bits bugged me.
First off, Krzysztof Król. Our sports establishment has long gotten used to “Krzyżewski” being pronounced “Shishevski,” but somehow they can’t handle the same four letters starting a different name. Instead, Pan Król’s first name is pronounced “Kristof” like he’s some hair stylist of uncertain European origin. I know that Polish can be hard to pronounce, but this is a Chicago based crew, ennit? I’ll let this go. This one is not nearly as bad as the second word they mispronounced.
They have a feature where they give scores from other leagues. They had several scores from Italy and Mexico, including San Luis’s draw with Monterrey. The announcer said “San Louie.” Not just once, but several times including mentioning that he called a game where Chicago played against “San Louie.” I suppose he slips into the “All Foreign Languages are Pronounced Like French” mode. What galls me is that not only is the actual pronounciation of Luis pretty darned close to the English version, but that here is a language that he, as someone involved with soccer in this part of the world (heck, this hemisphere), should have heard a thousand times before . He should take the time to learn how the letters fit together.
I think I’d feel better if he said “San Louis” and I’m okay with him not trilling his “r” in the word “Monterrey.” The guy didn’t grow up watching Cantinflas movies, I get it. But to not even try? It ain’t racist, but it is darned sure disrespectful.