Like Barry Bonds, Baseball Widow hasn't retired; she's just not playing.
Enjoy the archives. . .



Monday, December 13, 2004

Life Looks Good From the Top of a Soapbox

Baseball is a great game to talk about, isn't it. I think that's why blogging about baseball is so much more abundant and successful than it is for any other sport.

On the other hand, I think the rise of blogs says a lot about the deficiencies in mainstream media. Political blogs give a voice to those shut out of the big picture debate, and in a way so do baseball blogs.

Either way, I have my own pet peeves about the way this great game is discussed. About 50% of that problem is caused by Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan, but the other half is just a part of the lingo of the game. And I hear even the best reporters, GMs, players, bloggers, etc. using this junk. So, I thought that I could take a cue from our political blogger brothers and try to change the world for the better, one word at a time. See, Baseball Widow and I are pretty passionate about word usage. It's probably the angry nerds that we really are deep down, but every time we hear someone misuse the phrase "begging the question", I'm afraid she's going to climb to the top of a belltower and start hurling unabridged Webster's Dictionaries at innocent passersby.

In that spirit, I'm climbing onto my soapbox to present the first in a series of baseball lingo rants.

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"Sweepstakes"

The Yankees are the frontrunners for the "Randy Johnson Sweepstakes". The Braves are in on the "Tim Hudson Sweepstakes". In fact, the Mets may see Ed McMahon pulling up to Shea to tell them they may already be a winner in the "Pedro Martinez Sweepstakes".

Wait a second . . . this isn't a raffle. A sweepstakes is "a betting or gambling transaction in which each person contributes a stake, and the whole of the stakes are taken by one". If the Mets do sign Pedro, they'll be paying him royally for the next four years -- they'll be paying all of the stakes.

If it were really a "sweepstakes", and luck were involved, there'd be some possibility that Pedro would wind up in Kansas City next year. Or at least KC GM Allard Baird would keep getting annoying junkmail claiming that he had a shot at getting the coveted pitcher(and while he's at it why not subscribe to a few fine publications).

No, this is an auction, but you never hear that the Astros might just win the "Carlos Beltran Auction". The right word is there just waiting to be used, and we're all refusing to use it because . . . I don't even know why. "Sweepstakes" is stupid.

So stop saying it, already!

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