Perhaps no one was more excited about the Cubs’ offseason acquisition of Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome than radio broadcaster Ron Santo. However, observers have noticed major problems with the phonetically challenged Cubs radio man’s attempts to pronounce the name so far this season.
Santo’s strict off-season regimen of practicing the name at least 20 minutes each day has failed to pay off. Broadcast partner Pat Hughes was kind enough to provide him with a cheat sheet that phonetically spelled out “Koh-skay Foo-koo-dough-may” in large bold print.
Unfortunately Santo accidentally spilled coffee on the sheet, wasting Hughes’ effort. The Cubs organization has received immense pressure from the FCC to avoid Santo’s imminent on-air blunders. The team complied and sent Santo a notice that prohibited him from speaking the name during live broadcasts.
“Things got quite ugly when Harry Caray would botch the name Hideo Nomo,” said Dennis Morreal of the Federal Communications Commission. “So, we can only imagine the trouble a name like Fukudome will cause.”
To assist Santo, the Cubs provided a list of broadcast alternatives when describing their new acquisition. The acceptable names included “Foo,” “Fookie,” “K-Foo,” “No. 1,” “The right fielder” and “That guy from Japan.”
By Brian Berns