So I thought I'd get this out in the open now, before the season starts and I'm forced to embarrass myself publicly: I don't know how to pronounce A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes's name.
Go on, laugh. You probably watched a lot of the MLB Network over the winter, and you've heard the guy's name a million times. Not me, I've only seen it in print. It's probably happened to you, when it comes time to finally speak a word you've only read, and you realize you have no clue. I didn't know how to say "gazebo" until last year. But it's happened again, this time with an actual major league ballplayer.
Oakland paid a lot for him, and everyone seems pretty high on the guy, so there's probably not much of a chance he'll wash out before I'm forced to talk about him with friends or in the office. But shit, how do you say his name?
Is it YO-enn-iss? That seems likely. But maybe Yo-AY-niss? Is "oe" a ligature in Spanish? Is it a long "A?" I mean, he probably wouldn't keep pronouncing it like "anus," but he's been in Cuba his whole life, maybe he doesn't know it'd be funny.
I guess it could be YO-ee-niss too.
I would say 90 percent sure the last name is Ces-PEED-iss. Because people are calling him the "Human Centipede," right? So it would have to have that long E sound to make sense. But phonetically it totally looks like Cess-ped-iss. Doesn't one of the syllables need emphasis? CESS-ped-iss? And what is up with the accent mark over the first "é?" What am I supposed to do with that?
I was at my fantasy draft this weekend, and he wasn't taken until pretty late. I'm thinking there's a chance that most of us didn't know how to pronounce his name, so we let him fall rather than embarrass ourselves. Even the guy who drafted him said it very slowly, as if he wasn't sure, so I don't even know if his way was correct.
Didn't ESPN.com used to have a pronunciation guide for certain players on their profile pages? What happened to that?
I wish somebody would tell me how it's actually said. Until then, and possibly even after then, I'm assuming his first name rhymes with tennis and the last sounds like penis, but with a "d."