Monday, August 16, 2010

Why Can't Ballplayers 'Make Plays'?

The temperatures in our corner of the country were downright sub-tropic this past weekend. The Jets are playing the Giants tonight, and the Jets coach, Rex Ryan, is making headlines for his foul mouth in the HBO reality show Hard Knocks. (Uh, didn't Rex get the stomach staples? What's with the girth?)

Indeed, football is creeping into the sports fan's mind these days, which prompts us to wonder--how come football players are the only ones who are allowed to "make plays?" You hear it all the time, and I mean ad nauseum, in football: Announcers say Team X has to make plays in today's game, players say they've got to step up and make some plays, blah blah blah.

Dennis Dixon, other locals make plays in NFL exhibitions
, said a headline in yesterday's Portland Tribune.

Ball Ready To Step Up, "Help Make Plays, writes about Cowboys safety Alan Ball.

Of course, "make plays" is shorthand for "make good plays." Throwing an interception is making a play. Coughing up the pill on the goal line is making a play. But recovering the fumble is making a good play--although that doesn't make for a very cool sports expression.

Football has around 125 plays a game, reports

How many plays in a baseball game? I can't find it online. Say, 54 outs, 20 hits, and a pair of errors, and these are, of course, back of the envelope estimates. So around 77 "plays" a game. It's much less than in football--meaning the importance of each baseball "play" is greater, as is the importance of a player making such a play.

Yet ballplayers don't get to make plays.

I guess things all even out. After all, football involves a ball, just as baseball does. Yet you never hear football guys referred to as ballplayers. The baseball guys get to keep that one all to themselves.

Then again, aforementioned Cowboys safety Alan Ball might be classified as a Ball player.

[image: Dallas Cowboys]

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