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.


Artichoke Annie said...

I think I need to follow Keith's teams, definitely they have the most colorful commentators.

Of course it's 'Kids & Kamps' - they are the boys of summer.

I have only one new addition from my b-ball lingo journal, from last night - "This game is OVAH!"

writenow said...

That's from the Cubs win yesterday? I'm glad Dempster got a W. I love that guy. I recorded the game but haven't watched it, and I'm thinking about saving it for the dead of winter. I detest the Giants (solely because of their closer) so it's a fun win for me.

I watch a LOT of games, Annie -- more than you'd think possible. That's why I hear all this great stuff. Volume. You gotta have volume.

Artichoke Annie said...

Actually from the White Sox game last night - I caught the last inning. The Cubs game was not available in my area....grrrr. I guess one of these year's I will have to pony up the big bucks and purchase the MLB channels.

writenow said...

Getting MLB is worth it. It really is. But what drives me nuts is that all winter we look forward to seeing games again. Thing is, MLB has ZILLIONS of games -- but they don't show them! Makes me crazy. They show one classic game a week, if that, and offer idiotic talking-head shows all day. MLB, wake up: show us games all winter. We're hungry for this; you have what we want; and you're not showing it. What's wrong with this picture?

cm said...

One of my favorites that I don't know if you've mentioned is the high inside pitch that announcers call " a little chin music ".

writenow said...

You're right, Carmine. That is always funny to hear. They say so many things that make me smile.

Artichoke Annie said...

Heard today while watching tennis: "He makes angles like a diamond cutter."

[yes, I watch tennis as well] - Cubs rained out today.

writenow said...

You're kidding! There are other sports? Sorry about the rainout on your Cubs. My Mets won! I've got the Red Sox/Yanks game recording now and I'm about to fall into it. Baseball! May the season never end.