I never thought I’d need a thesaurus by my side to watch the Detroit Tigers play. The TV sportscasters have a specialized vocabulary made up of jargon all their own, and they appear to be the only ones who understand it. I don’t, that’s for sure.
Take the term “barrel up” for example. It makes no sense. How is it possible to barrel up when there are no barrels anywhere on the ball field? All I see are baseballs, bats, and bases. Someone please point out the barrels. Even Macho Guy, my in-house translator, is out in left field on that one.
Every time I hear the sportscasters say, “punch out,” I expect the dugouts to clear and a brawl to break out between the opposing ball clubs during which they punch out each other. Now this term is deceptive. It raises false expectations. It implies that civilized, mild mannered baseball is as macho as rock’em, sock’em hockey. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When I inquired, MG informed me that the sportscasters were referring to a strike out. Well, why didn’t they just say so?
Then there’s “the dish.” The first time I heard the sportscasters use that one I thought they were discussing a beautiful woman they spotted in the stands. Nope. They were referring to home plate. Seriously, fellas, home plate doesn’t resemble a dish in any way, shape, or form. You wouldn’t eat off home plate, would you? Eww. Gross. No way. So it’s home plate, not “the dish.”
You won’t believe this one. I actually heard one of the sportscasters refer to the pitcher’s mound as a hill, as in [insert pitcher’s name] will take “the hill” for tonight’s game. Talk about exaggeration. A pitcher’s mound is just a tiny pile of dirt. The only way that hill jargon would work is if he called it “the molehill.”
It may be a side effect of engaging in the profession for sportscasters to ignore commonplace baseball terms and replace them with cutesy terms of their own invention. Maybe they do it for fun to keep from becoming bored repeating the same terms game after game. Whatever their reason for doing it, they are bucking baseball tradition.
It’s sacrilegious, I’m against it, and I want to put my thesaurus away on game day.