J.J. Putz

J.J. Putz (Getty Images / January 24, 2008)

When the Arizona Diamondbacks designated reliever J.J. Putz for assignment on Friday, it brought back all sorts of memories.

Obviously, you have to have a soft spot in your heart for anyone named Putz, even if he claimed in an interview with me several years ago that it was not pronounced the way you might expect. He said that it rhymed with "toots" instead of "mutts" and insisted that he had didn't remember anybody making fun of his name when he was in middle school.

Of course, this didn't ring true with me and I went ahead and wrote a column that generated hundreds of message board headlines around the country that read "Schmuck interviews Putz," probably because none of us ever really graduates from middle school.

If I remember correctly, my punch line in that column was something like this: "I don't know what bothers me more, the fact that he refuses to own up to the real pronunciation of his last name, or that it never occurred to me to tell everyone that my name was pronounced 'Schmook.'"

Hopefully, J.J. will get picked up by somebody and I'll have another opportunity to discuss the matter with him.