Four Ways Baseball Has Shaped the English Language

When it comes to everyday office conversation, baseball is not your best friend. What do I mean? Well, if you’re relying on clichés from the diamond, you’re likely to get eye rolls from a majority of your colleagues. In other words, if you explain that you’re going to pinch hit for somebody at a meeting and plan to hit it out of the ballpark because you’re going to avoid throwing any curveballs at the client, expect to see colleagues throwing their head into their hands.

To fully understand the depth of revulsion many possess for baseball speak, consider a bit of satire from The Onion in 2014. The article offers up a faux letter from a father to a son. Feel free to count the tired baseball statements in this excerpt:

“Son, I think it’s high time you and I sat down and touched base. As your father, it’s been difficult watching you drop the ball these past few months…Your head just hasn’t been in the game, and sadly for me, I’ve had a ringside seat as you’ve repeatedly struck out.”

Bluntly put, on the surface, there’s a belief that baseball is a bit like language’s 25th man on the bench; it offers some utility but it’s best used sparingly. That said, if you dig a little deeper, you might think otherwise about the sport’s linguistic contributions.

Read more: The Hardball Times

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