This column is a 'must read'
It was immediately after the Indians were pounded by the Yankees for a second consecutive loss last week when one of the TV announcers declared that the next game for the Tribe was a "must-win" ballgame.
While I found it mildly amusing that only eight games into the season, some were already hitting the panic button, I also found the realization somewhat disheartening that in Cleveland, that button – and usually rightfully so – gets pushed quite frequently.
It got me to thinking about all the goofy clichés there are in baseball, although many apply to most any sport. That being said, why don’t we peruse some of the better ones which have withstood the test of time (in other words, they were idiotic statements the day they were first uttered, yet we somehow have come to embrace them as legitimate and/or sensible):
1) "Must-win ballgame" – To me that statement implies that apparently, the games leading up to the "must-win"’ contest were not as critical, and that somehow the boys should be excused if they looked as if they weren’t really trying too hard, because they, in fact, weren’t!
2) "Baseball’s a funny game" – Newsflash: It’s not quite as hilarious when you get beat, 14-1.
3) "He’s going to have to step up" - This remark is usually made by a manager or teammate when a sub has to replace a (usually injured) player who had much better skills, and implies that the sub can somehow raise the level of his game to help offset the loss of the "regular." If the sub is already giving it 100 percent, then he really can’t raise the bar any higher, can he? (See more below.)
4) "He always gives 120%" – Now, I’m no math whiz, but I was always led to believe, perhaps erroneously, that when anything (man, machine, iPad) operates at maximum capacity, it is physically incapable of doing more than 100 percent, for that 100 percent represents full "potential." Guess that’s not the case in sports, where apparently the sky’s the limit when it comes to capacity, although it seems to me that the sub almost always demonstrates quite clearly why he was a sub in the first place.
5) "He’s got good mechanics" – What, suddenly we’re talking about the guys who work on the pitcher’s Lamborghini?
6) "Baseball is played between the lines" – Wait a tick. Do you mean to tell me that the stuff the ballboy or ballgirl catches doesn’t count? Huh. No wonder they don’t try real hard.
7) "He’s getting shelled out there" – What, the pitcher is an Easter egg?
8) "We’re going to approach the season one game at a time" – Personally, I’d prefer that you play all 162 games within two weeks so we don’t have to suffer for six whole months.
And in a related development, some readers have indicated they’d like to see all my columns for one year condensed into one issue so they, too, could end their suffering.
And that’s in spite of the fact that I always give 120 percent.
Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!