Friday, August 30, 2013

Dempster's Purpose Pitch Beyond 'Bush'

How many things could "bootleg" possibly mean?

According to, 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, 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

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.


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.


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.