On the whole, baseball lingo is pretty amusing. Bunt, for one, is downright funny. I don't know any other words that describe a cake and an
alternative method of hitting. Sacrifice? Tight. Sacrfice bunt? Even better. Grand slam? Just grand. But the term hit batsman doesn't sit well with
me. Who decided that a batter becomes a batsman when he gets hit by a pitch? Is a batsman supposed to be the baseball equivalent to a casualty of war?
And if a pitcher is struck with a line drive, does he suddenly become a pitchman? What about umpires? Are they umpsmen?
For those of you unfamiliar with the notion of defensive indifference, it's when the battery (pitcher and catcher) on the leading team concedes the
advancement of an opposing runner in the late innings of a game in the interest of focusing on the batter at hand, resulting in the runner not being
credited with a stolen base. It's basically playing it safe. To me, just the thought of defensive indifference is offensive. You might even say I
have strong feelings about it. Why not enforce offensive indifference for intentional walks? That way, base runners won't feel so bad when they aren't
credited with a steal in the box score...
A walk's as a good as a hit, right? That's what I hear. So is a walk and a steal as good as a double? And is a double and a steal as good as a triple?
What about a double steal? How good is that? Beyond the confusion, at least we can all agree that a walk's as good as a hit. A base hit, that is...
Was it a strike or a ball? A hit or an error? Was he safe or out? And did he check it or go around? For more than a century, Major League Baseball has
relied upon the "better judgment" of umpires and official scorers to decide the fate of its game. So why does discretion get thrown out the window in
ground-rule situations? A double should be the minimum award for a ground-rule hit, not the only one. Circumstance matters. The trajectory of the ball
matters, as does its pace. The dimensions of the field matter. The positioning and quickness of the outfielders matter. And the speed of the runner
matters. In most cases, awarding a double is the correct ground-rule ruling. But that doesn't mean that a ground-rule triple and even a ground-rule
inside the park homerun should be out of the question...
Is it a ground-rule ruling or simply a ground-ruling? And is a homerun just an easier way of saying air-rule quadruple?
American imperialism doesn't extend to politics alone. It's been alive and well in Sport for more than a century. Major League Baseball started it all
with the World Series. Professional baseball became known as the Great American Pastime at the turn of the twentieth century, but there was nothing
international about MLB until decades later. Technically, baseball wasn't even our national sport until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in
1947. Before that, the game was little more than the exclusive pastime of white people in America. Given the rising influx of Dominican, Puerto Rican,
and Japanese stars, just to name a few, MLB has made significant strides in legitimizing the name of the Fall Classic. One day, the World Series may
truly become the series of the world. And one day, Major League Baseball might be hailed as the Great International Pastime...
When I say cheese, meat, heat, gas, and smoke, what comes to mind? A cheeseburger cookout? Fourth of July festivities, perhaps? Me, I just think about
baseball. Fastballs, to be specific...
Given the undeniable rise of the compartmentalized bullpen, the term reliever is making less sense by the day. Maybe the taboo notion of a replacement
pitcher should be considered as a replacement for relief pitcher. These days, most relievers are only replacing starters, who aren't expected to go
nine. It's the guys with undefined bullpen roles - the true mop-up men of the 6th and 7th innings - who are inheriting the runners. They're the ones
putting out the fires. And they're the relievers doing the real relief work...
[Edited on 9/8/04 by deanchristopher]