Friday, May 13, 2011

The language of baseball

It's been awhile, laddies and ladies, but I'm finally ready to do another post on the language of baseball. Let's begin by talking about the pervasive folksiness of the sport.

As the baseball season began, a couple of times I heard announcers say of a player: "He really had a good camp." In other words, he did well in Spring training. It's all kids and camp to these guys. Same with calling the locker room the "clubhouse". Indeed. And where to we pay our dues to join? Sounds cozy.

One announcer said of a pitcher who had potential but really didn't understand his craft: "He puts his fanny right next to Buehrle's when they're not pitching -- and he's learned a lot."

Early in the season, it seemed the Mets couldn't win a game. When they finally did win one, Gary Cohen, one of the Mets announcers, said "Terry Collins finally got a chance to shake some hands and pat some rears on Sunday."

Said of a player who's always switching teams: "He's always wearing different laundry." I got a kick out of that line and it speaks to the camp-like reality of the baseball locker room, where fresh laundry is always the order of the day.

Said of a player who was just pitched tight inside: "That'll loosen up his jersey!"

As I say, it's very folksy in baseball-land. Okay, now a couple of baseball peeves:

"Nice hustle by (whoever)!" Really!? He's showing some special quality by running full out for first base while being paid millions of dollars to do so? Really?

And what's with these lawless umpires? "I think that's a little hometown scoring" said an announcer, referring to a player who was given a "hit" when he really reached on an error. And why? Because he was the hometown guy, a hero of the sport, that's why. Shifty umpiring sucks and yet it's totally accepted. This has to change. They're there to give an accurate call or they shouldn't be there at all.

And finally, just for fun, let's haul out some weird baseball names from the past. They really add to the sport, I think. I'll list more in a future post but here are just a few of these fabulous names: 

Stubby Clap
Skeeter Barnes
Firpo Marberry
Butch Husky
Johnny Dickshot
Dick Pole

It's hard to believe they're real people, but they are. Baseball seems to attract these names like honey draws flies. Kinda fun. Okay, that's it for today's baseball talk. More coming soon! I have a sea of notes to put up here -- and I guarantee you, some of them will loosen up your jersey.