Tuesday, November 26, 2013

'14 Mets Have a 'Hoss' in the Race

With Matt Harvey having his elbow redone for the foreseeable future, the Metsies will need a serious horse to take the mound every fifth turn in 2014.

Better yet, maybe a hoss can lead the team from the hill.

A horse is, of course, a sturdy pitcher--a guy who eats up innings, ends losing streaks, and carries the team on his back, much like a, ya know, horse does.

That may be future Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard.

"Noah's a hoss," said Brandon Nimmo, future Mets outfielder, in the NY Times after the Futures Game at Citi Field in July.

A hoss is southern slang for horse. It is not known at presstime if hoss is a higher compliment than horse.

Urban Dictionary describes "hoss" thusly:

One who is a beast that can basically do anything he wants. He is usually loved by all and a ladies man. He could break anyone or anything in half.

Perhaps unnecessarily, Urban Dictionary adds, "Hoss is a compliment."

Nimmo knows about horses. He's from Cheyenne, Wyoming. They have a lot of horses out there. They may even call them "hosses."

[ADVERTISING] Fantasy Baseball Puts A Stress On Numbers

More than any other major sport in the United States, baseball has always been about numbers. At its core, it is a team sport composed of a bunch of one-on-one battles, which makes it easy to compare and contrast players. In recent years, fantasy baseball has put even more of a stress on numbers. As owners draft their players and try to compose the best roster possible, fans are researching and studying more than ever.
Many fantasy baseball owners, especially the most competitive ones, are always looking for an edge. Some feel as though they now have one thanks to the rise in popularity of more complex statistics. Most fantasy baseball leagues still have basic categories such as batting average, home runs, strikeouts and more, but advanced statistics do a good job of helping a person predict output prior to the start of the season.
Statistics such as on-base percentage, batting average balls in play, isolated power and more are just the start for those who love to crunch numbers while also loving fantasy baseball and sports in general. Some are resistant to all of these numbers, and they certainly are not perfect, but it is a way for people to stay connected with the sport while sitting at their desk or on their computer.
The majority of baseball fans still get drawn in by those sexy numbers, such as Joe Dimaggio’s 56-game winning streak, hitting .400, hitting over 60 home runs and more. The issue is that the majority of the most well-known numbers are counting statistics. In a one year season, people are looking for consistency and efficiency with the players they draft on their fantasy baseball team.
Numbers are only going to become more and more prevalent for baseball fans, so those resistant to change should get used to it. Baseball is still known as a game that has to be played on a field, but analytical tools are always being created and tinkered with to try and explain what happened in the past, and what might happen in the future.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Darling's Trading In His Chevy For a Cadillac-ac-ac-ac-ac

If baseball announcers are to be believed, Cadillacs are best enjoyed at a modest cruising speed.
After all, "Cadillacing" after a batted ball means taking your time in getting to it.

"A simple ground ball up the middle in almost game, Heyward kind of Cadillacs in and gets that ball," said Ron Darling during Dodgers-Braves last week. "But he cannot with Puig running."

Darling has long had a thing for Cadillacs. As a minor leaguer back in 1982, he said in Newsday about making the Big Show:

"The money is secondary, really. I'm a pretty frugal guy, although in New York my frugalities might include a Cadillac."

During day games at CitiField, Darling will often share the booth with Ralph Kiner, who had a little something to say about Cadillacs during his illustrious playing career.

"Home run hitters drive Cadillacs," Kiner famously said, "and singles hitters drive Fords."

Funny, I was half tuning in last night to Sox-Rays, and another announcer on TBS--not Darling--referred to a player "Cadillacing" in for a fly ball. 

Did he get it from Ron? Or is it a real baseball term?

In fact, "Cadillacing" been around for some time. The radio program A Way With Words cites the Seattle Times waaayyy back in 1989:

"He moved to his right to catch a fly out, but Greg Gagne surprisingly tagged from first base and reached second when Griffey’s threw was too soft and wide. “I don’t like him ‘Cadillacing’ like that,” he said. 

The University of Oregon has the word in its online slang dictionary, and defines "Cadillacing" thusly:

To run in an unhurried, showy way; generally, to perform or operate lackadaisically, carelessly, or without worry  

Finally, we turn to hip-hop for a bit of clarity. The emcee Paul Wall rapped this in 2008:

These boys lazy Cadillac'ing, while I'm greenback stacking

So Cadillacing has been around for some time, yet seems to be the darling of the baseball announcer set these days. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Dempster's Purpose Pitch Beyond 'Bush'

How many things could "bootleg" possibly mean?

According to TheFreeDictionary.com, it is primarily, to make, sell or transport liquor illegally--the phrase coming from a bottle of hootch hidden in a lower pant leg.

It is, secondly, doing the same with compact discs or tapes. (Hey, TheFreeDictionary.com--see all those people on the train with the white buds in their ears? They're not listening to CDs or tapes!)

It is, thirdly, essentially doing the same with satellite television.

Finally, it is a sports term:

To fake a hand-off, conceal the ball on the hip, and roll out in order to pass or especially to rush around the end.

Yet bootleg is popping up in baseball too--and as an adjective, no less.

If the Yankees somehow make it into October this year, the pundits will pin it on Ryan Dempster plunking Alex Rodriguez August 18. (Coincidentally, Dempster returns to the hill tonight following his suspension for the incident.)

According to NJ.com:

CC Sabathia referred to Dempster’s behavior as “bootleg.”

Sabathia has used bootleg as a synonym for "bush"--short for, of course, bush league.

I don't see a single usage of it in this manner on Google, but I am checking in with the language of baseball expert, Paul Dickson, author of The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, to see if he has.

[image: vintageperiods.com]

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Word of the Week: YANXIETY

YANXIETY: noun The fear that the dreaded Yankees will climb back from even the stiffest of deficits late in the game--that no lead is safe.

Usage: The Rays were up by 6, and Rodney was on the mound, but I still felt pang of Yanxiety as the Bombers prepared to hit in the bottom of the 9th.

[image: NJ.com]

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tie Goes to the Banger

The various sources for new terms on Batter Chatter are of course ballplayers, along with scouts, and sportswriters too--all fairly colorful factions in their own right. 

But those dour-faced figures known as umpires have their own lingo as well.

 Whereas an extremely close play at first is known as a "bang-bang play," to an umpire, it is simply a "banger."

Discussing the plan to increase instant replay usage in Major League Baseball, Jim Evans, who put in 28 years umping in the American League, told the NY Times the replays will  typically vindicate the boys in blue.

“I want the replay to show the umpires are actually right on those bangers 99 percent of the time,” Evans said. “And when you have that unusual play which the ump can’t adjust to, then you go to replay.” 

When I think of "banger", I think of Irish sausages on a bed of mashed potatoes. Yet the "bangers and mash" context is only the #5 definition that pops up over on Urban Dictionary.

The other four:
If a Song is extremly tight or just unbelivably awesome. It is a banger

An intense party, which involves large amounts of drinking, beer pong, and plenty of skanks to grind on.
A girl with an attractive body

An old, delapidated worn out car or less commonly, van. 

There is nothing, as if this writing, on Urban Dictionary about bangers being close plays. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pounding the Pavement For A Suspect

We all know what a slam dunk is away from the hardwood--a challenge so easy as to not really even be a challenge anymore. Get a craft beer-loving client to go to lunch at the new joint that features 812 microbrews? Slam dunk! Ask for a raise after pouring the overserved boss's boss into a cab at the holiday party? Slam dunk!

Not as well known--the slam dunk has a baseball equivalent. While the slam dunk elicits a very vertical image--Jordan soaring through the air like an Eagle, or little Spud Webb telling gravity to shove its perpetual come-back-to-earth nature up its arse, the baseball counterpart hugs the ground.

In fact, it is a ground ball, and you've probably heard it in this context if you dabble in law enforcement.

Wrote the NY Times about a homicide case on a famous street in broad daylight that remains unsolved:

“You got ground balls and you got mysteries,” said John Cornicello, who used to command homicide detectives in Brooklyn. “A ground ball is husband stabs wife and maybe stays on the scene. This is a mystery.”

Perhaps the gumshoes need a good sinker specialist to get that sorely needed ground ball. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Keith 'Soldiers' On After Dopey Descrip

To have Keith Hernandez on your baseball telecast is to take the good (funny, no filter observations from a sharp mind) with the bad (dopey comments that could've used a filter).

Keith stepped in some of it during the recent Subway Series, when Mets second-sacker Daniel Murphy had his bat sawed off by a filthy pitch in on the hands.

"Well, that is a dead soldier right there, folks, laying in that infield dirt," said Keith.

The problem was, it was Memorial Day, when baseball announcers are wise to avoid metaphors that mention war-dead. 

An SNY rep called it "an honest mistake" and said, "We will address the matter with Keith," reports the NY Daily News.

Keith's misspeak even reached the Daily Mail over in England, which reported "outrage" over Hernandez's characterization of Murph's splintered timber, though the article fails to mention any actual outrage.

The Daily News article says "dead soldier" is an established baseball term (it is not to be confused with "wounded soldier," which refers to half-finished beers that have been abandoned), but I'm not seeing a single usage of it in that context on the interwebs--outside of reports of Hernandez's Memorial Day blunder.
It does not appear in Wikipedia's Baseball Glossary or MLB's pretty lame Baseball Lingo page. 

Keith will not let it happen again--until, of course, he inserts his foot in his mouth once again.