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Baseball Phrases That Need To Be Laid To Rest
Perhaps the sport of baseball should follow the example of a luxury brand, which just announced that its name needed a facelift. According to the November 24 edition of The Wall Street Journal, the company will do business under its new name starting this month.
While changing the very name of baseball would be far too drastic, some outdated phrases seem to reinforce the sport as obsolete or inaccurate. Take for example his anachronistic American pastime moniker, the very first syllable of which equates to something long gone.
Another term, which has seen alarming growth in recent seasons, is the disabled list. The adjective in this sentence clearly comes from a whole different generation, given its association with today’s society.
Disabled has been applied for a few decades to serious physical and mental problems that are rarely completely overcome, contrary to its goal in terms of baseball. An injured player averaged just thirteen and a half days on the DL last year, a clear indication that these guys aren’t what the average American would consider handicapped. Why not, like all other major sports leagues, call it the injured reserve list?
Another sentence was mentioned much less than the disabled list, but must also have been psychologically more painful for some players. This is the concept erroneously called the Mendoza Line, an imaginary designation for a .200 batting average.
The term, for some reason, was named inappropriately for former player Mario Mendoza, whose batting average was actually fifteen runs over .200. Throughout September, fans had to listen to announcers wondering if Toronto All-Star outfielder Jose Bautista and Texas infielder Roughned Odor would finish above the Mendoza line. (Bautista finished the season with a .203 batting average, Odor at .204).
These averages are almost identical to those of the two players who gave the original brand name the Mason-Dixon Line, a more catchy and precise expression. Leo Dixon, who played from 1925 to 1929, had a career average of 0.206. Jim Mason did even worse, finishing with a lifetime mark of .203 after a career that spanned from 1971 to 1979. The pair beat a combined .204, eleven points behind Mario Mendoza.
Most people are already familiar with the geographical reference of the term, a demarcation unique to the United States of America. This fact, combined with the accuracy of the statistics, is just one more reason for broadcasters and other reps to drop the term Mendoza Line.
And while they’re at it, they might bury another annoying inaccuracy. When referring to the pitcher’s mound, refer to it by its original nickname of the bump. Considering the paltry height of the thing, it’s much closer to being a bump rather than a hill.
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