The Major League Baseball is coming to Sydney. The LA Dodgers are playing the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 22 and 23, 2014 at the famous Sydney Cricket Ground.
There are more people who go to Bondi Beach on the weekend than real MLB fans in Sydney. There are probably more people who even go to Starbucks near Hyde Park, than follow baseball over here. However, get involved in this incredible game, Sydney and attend a game which is loved all over the world and not just in the US. Tickets are still available, so don’t miss out.
Baseball terms have evolved into common vernacular in a spectacular way. While most Aussies might not watch the game or even follow it, I bet you a hotdog with ketchup and mustard, everyone has used a term from the game, at least once in their life.
I’ll start “right off the bat” now and hopefully this isn’t a “hit or miss” piece about common terms from baseball which you have all heard.
Everyone wants to hit a “home run”, which basically translates to success, in personal and work environments. School kids talk about “getting to first, second or third base” with members of the opposite sex and if they don’t get to first base they have a “strikeout” or their friends will tease them about “having a swing and a miss”.
In the business world when you are about to close a deal and something unexpected comes up which hinders or stops the deal going through, the words “we have been thrown a curve ball” are often muttered in a negative tone. At a bar when trying to meet a girl a curve ball might mean her ex boyfriend has just shown up or she needs to attend to a crying friend. Something unusual has happened to stop any progress you might be making. Charlie Sheen certainly threw a curve ball to the producers of Two and a Half Men, when he drank too much ‘tiger blood‘ and had to be cut from the show completely.
Charlie Sheen’s behaviour certainly prompted people to also say “that’s come out of left field” and it was also used worldwide when Miley Cyrus started twerking for the first time.
“Off the hook” is used when you do something you shouldn’t have but get away with it, without any repercussions. Obviously it’s not like robbing a bank and getting away with it, but if you leave the iron on at home and come home and the house isn’t in flames, you have been let off the hook. In baseball terms it relates to a pitcher who expects to record a loss, but his team scores enough runs to tie the game or take the lead.
A baseball stadium was traditionally called a ballpark, although there are now stadiums. When negotiating a price on something, you say “you are in the ballpark” if the figure being discussed is close to what is needed for the deal to go through.
Other phrases which are used on a daily basis which come back to baseball include going into bat for someone, stepping up to the plate, touching base, hitting it out of the park, a brand new ball game, you’re in the Major League now or a heavy hitter.
We’ve all heard of “playing hard ball” and it actually refers to the comparison between balls in softball and baseball. “Going going gone”, is a traditional way for a baseball announcer to describe a home run as the ball is heading over the fence. “Let’s play ball” is used so often in the work place and in baseball terms before each game starts or after a dead ball situation, the umpire yells “play ball” to re-start the game. We’ve all called for a rain check when we need to cancel an appointment. A rain cheque was literally a refund cheque given when baseball games were called off and was first used in 1884. The first recorded written use of this term dates back to 1930.
I hope it’s not three strikes and I’m out, but I’m taking my bat and ball and going home now.