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Say What?

Well it’s early in the season, and we’re subjected to play-by-play, color commentary and player-manager interviews. Every year they say the same damned thing, and you know bloody well that they’ve been well-schooled in the art of the euphemism. So I thought I’d cut through the crap (anybody else think that that phrase is nasty?) and provide a handy translation to what you’re hearing. So …

When they say: “The manager likes the fact he throws strikes” what they mean is: “He’s the only way we can get the outfielders to do wind sprints.”

When they say: “He doesn’t get cheated on his swings” what they mean is: “He hasn’t drawn a walk since Dubya’s daddy was in the White House.”

When they say: “He‘s a veteran who still has a lot to offer” what they mean is: “Welcome to Kansas City—try not to suck too much.”

When they say: “His bat keeps him in the lineup” what they mean is: “When a fly ball is hit to him with men on base, count how many times the pitcher uses the ‘F’ word.”

When they say: “He was scratched with flu-like symptoms” what they mean is: “He’s talking to Dr. Ralph after his three-pitchers of margaritas supper.”

When they say: “He’s going through his pre-batting ritual” what they mean is: “Is he doing the Macarena or is his hand possessed by a succubus?”

When they say: “You can tell he spent the offseason working his butt off in the weight room” what they mean is: “I’m guessing he can probably use a thimble in place of his cup.”

When they say: “He’s intense” what they mean is: “Even his mother thinks he’s a first class butthole.”

When they say: “He comes ready to play everyday” what they mean is: “He really digs that ‘players’ coffee’ doesn’t he?”

When they say: “We’re gonna manufacture runs” what they mean is: “We can’t hit and won’t walk so we’re praying for lots of passed balls, errors, hit batsmen and defensive indifference.”

When they say: “He’s colorful” what they mean is: “If he was dating your daughter you’d take out a restraining order.”

When they say: “He’s a scrappy ballplayer” what they mean is: “He’s a white kid that the fans like for some inexplicable reason.”

When they say: “He’s the second lefty in the ‘pen” what they mean is: “When the game’s out of reach he’s the sacrificial lamb offered to the god of the bloated ERA.”

When they say: “He’s effectively wild” what they mean is: “Is he high?”

When they say: “They’ve been high on this guy for a long time” what they mean is: “He’s talented—dumb as a bag of rocks—but talented.”

When they say: “He’s been through a lot to get back to this point” what they mean is: “He beat his kids, cheated on his taxes, impregnated the west coast, ate three reporters and singlehandedly put no fewer than 22 BALCO employees’ kids through college ,and you’re supposed to be all perky that he’s hitting .300 on May 15.”

When they say: “We have a veteran club this year.” what they mean is: “Tell the trainer to stock up on Polygrip, Depends, Geritol, and prune juice and make sure the guys on our Triple-A club keep their bags packed.”

When they say: “They’ve got a bullpen by committee” what they mean is: “They invited 30 relievers to camp and in complete defiance of mathematical probability, they all sucked.”

When they say: “He’s having a career year” what they mean is: “Contract drive or stanozolol—too close to call.”

When they say: “He refuses to give into the hitter” what they mean is: “He lacks the testicular fortitude to throw a strike.”

When they say: “He’s a speed merchant” what they mean is: “He’s a bona fide, certified out machine.”

When they say: “It’s his job to lose.” what they mean is: “We blew the budget in the off season after getting drunk with Scott Boras and we can’t afford to upgrade the position.”

When they say: “He’s around the plate a lot” what they mean is: “They don’t call him the human launching pad for nothing.”

When they say: “This is not a save situation” what they mean is: “The game is on the line but they’re holding back their best reliever in case they’ve got a three-run lead in the ninth.”

When they say: “Remember the name—he’s gonna be the next Willie Mays” what they mean is: “Remember the name—in three years he’ll be left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft.”

When they say: “There’s nobody warming up in the bullpen” what they mean is: “That’s why you don’t diss your manager in the press, he’ll take revenge on your ERA.”

When they say: “Everybody has a shot, all jobs are open” what they mean is: “Not only will we suck, we might lose 120 games this year.”

When they say: “They don’t appreciate me here” what they mean is: “They gave our new free agent acquisition a retarded contract and now I want one even more retarded.”

When they say: “He’s gone from thrower to pitcher” what they mean is: “Two years tops and he’s toast.”

When they say: “He has an intelligent guy and might have a future in broadcasting” what they mean is: “Stick a microphone in front of him and he simply won’t shut up.”

When they say: “He has great fundamentals” what they mean is: “He can’t hit, he doesn’t walk, he can’t field, but he always throws to the cutoff man.”

When they say: “He’s underrated” what they mean is: “He doesn‘t play in New York.”

When they say: “He’s overrated” what they mean is: “He plays in New York.”

When they say: “It’s not a level playing field” what they mean is: “We traded our best young talent for over the hill veterans, our general manager gutted our minor leagues for a 38-year-old ‘proven closer’, our fans are smart enough to see we haven’t got a clue and stay away, and we’re blaming the Yankees so folks won’t realize we’re incompetent.”

When they say: “His teammates claim he’s great in the clubhouse” what they mean is: “His teammates are petrified that he’ll perform a prostate exam with a fungo bat on them if they diss him in the press.”

When they say: “They’re playing it one game a time” what they mean is: “In case you haven’t had enough clichés—here’s one more.”

When they say: “He’s got great raw stuff” what they mean is: “He can’t hit the ground if he dropped his cap, but boy those three digits on the speed gun are fun to look at.”

When they say: “Welcome to FOX’s coverage of the World Series” what they mean is: “Unless Tim McCarver gets laryngitis, your choices are the mute button or jamming an ice pick into your ear drum.”

When they say: “They’re in rebuilding mode” what they mean is: “Throwing money at the problem blew up in their faces last year so they’re going with Plan B.”

When they say: “David Samson reports that a number of cities are interested in hosting the Marlins” what they mean is: “Remember when Randy Newman sang about short people: ‘They got little hands and little eyes and they walk around tellin’ great big lies’?”

When they say: “He offers protection to the middle of the lineup” what they mean is: “He might hit 25 home runs but his 175 whiffs will keep him from hitting into inning ending double plays.”

When they say: “Our relationship with the MLBPA has never been better” what they mean is: “We haven’t told them what we’re planning yet.”

When they say: “He’s a player who values his privacy” what they mean is: “A guy from ESPN showed up at his house uninvited for an interview and they still haven’t found the body.”

When they say: “The pitchers say he calls a great game” what they mean is: “He lets the pitchers throw whatever they want.”

When they say: “Here’s a column translating clichés” what they mean is: “Writer’s block and procrastination is a lethal combination for a columnist.”

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