Baseball and correct grammar don't always mix
By Jim Nelson
columnist for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Many years ago, an outcry arose from public school English teachers and some parents shortly after Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Dizzy Dean launched his broadcasting career.
Their concern didn’t center upon Dean’s knowledge of the game or his level of fame. They were deeply bothered that a generation of young listeners/viewers would copy Dean’s propensity for destroying the King’s English.
In defending his choice of phrases, Dean said, “So what if I said he slud into third or he was throwed out at second. I only made it to the second grade. If I’d been promoted to the third grade, I would have passed up my dad.”
In the fifty years since Dean’s electronic media debut, baseball has changed quite a bit. However, if last weekend’s quotes attributed to star players are an indication, some things about the sport have remained remarkably unchanged.
Following Saturday’s epic 16-15 win over Detroit, Texas Rangers’ star Michael Young observed, “We feel we have to prove ourselves. That’s one thing we really thrive off of.” Certainly, Young set or tied some type of record by ending his sentence with two consecutive prepositions. Even more interesting, his quote prompted a question—does a team thrive “off of” something, or does it thrive “upon” something? Let history be the judge.
Rangers’ second baseman Alfonso Soriano added,
“That is the first time I have ever been in a game like that.” Linguists may
give Soriano more leeway than Young in his “my first time I” instead of “the
first time I” because the Rangers’ newest star is an expert at hitting the curve
but is still learning the language. Young concluded his observations after the
win by noting, "The bullpen did their job (should have been
'its' job), and we did everything we could to claw in a few runs." "Claw
in"????. There's a stat for "runs batted in" and it's common baseball
phraseology to refer to "runs driven in" and "runs knocked in." If Young's "runs
clawed in" can be accepted, perhaps it should more appropriately be attributed
to Detroit's hitters. After all, they are the Tigers.