inning, walk, home run, hon run, 4-bagger, grand slam, grand salami, double play, triple play, dinger, tater, cutter, closer, sinker, heater, rubber, liner, soft-tosser, 2-seamer, 4-seamer, no-hitter, front door slider, back door slider, donut, chin music, pick off, shake off, walk off, tag up, choke up, changeup, pop up, pitch out, dugout, circle change, Bugs Bunny change, slurve, fork ball, palm ball, screw ball, curve ball, knuckle ball, spit ball, small ball, dead ball, live ball, fly ball, ground ball, moneyball, split-finger, balk, deec, strike zone, snow cone, bunt, swing-and-a-miss, box score, shortstop, backstop, sweet spot, bullpen, good eye, batter’s eye, seeing eye single, pillow, ernie, frozen rope, hose, wild card, blue, ump, slump, slump buster
The list above represents but a loose thread protruding from the rich, baccy-soiled tapestry that is the Baseball Lexicon. A fundamental aspect of all these distinctive words and phrases is that, once we have agreed on their meaning, using them makes communication more efficient. For example, saying or writing “snow cone catch” is preferable to “he caught the ball in such a manner as it protruded from the top of his glove”. Therefore, this jargon not only adds to baseball’s charm, it serves a useful purpose.
This post furthers that purpose and represents my humble offering unto the Baseball Lexicon. I tremble before it as I kneel on one knee, with head bowed and with hands outstretched and together. On my hands rest two words, freshly conceived yet of inveterate origin, either one of which I propose should replace the uninspired and ponderous word “half-inning” forevermore.
Seventy-four years ago, the Veterans Committee of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum elected Henry Chadwick into their ranks. Despite his regrettable limey upbringing playing cricket, or more likely as a rejection thereof, Mr. Chadwick contributed greatly to the gloriously American game of baseball. He invented the box score, developed early statistical measures such as ERA and batting average, and popularized the game in the 1800s.
For his noble efforts, the amply-bearded Mr. Chadwick deserves to have his name perpetuated within the game and to be remembered thusly in reference to completion of three sixths of an American baseball inning. I present to you examples of the proposed new word, so virulent in forthcoming popularity, they are italicized for your protection.
“Hey jackass, I can’t see the damn game! Stay in your seat ’til the chad is over!”
“I know damn well this idiot manager isn’t leaving that pitcher in there to finish the chad. He’s getting lit up!”
“Hey, after this chad is over I’m gonna go take a piss. Watch my beer.”
Isn’t the monosyllabic “chad” preferable to the awkward and seldom-used trisyllabic “half-inning”? In the entire history of baseball has no one previously thought of a substitute for this ungainly word? Furthermore, we may use “chad” to refer to the top of an inning and “wick” to refer to its bottom. However, we can address that later, once “chad” has swept away this oversight of Baseball Nation, as a mighty wind sweeps clear the shanty planks of poor construction.
Alternatively, we can just replace “half-inning” with “leg”, as the Brits used in bat and trap many pints ago, as evidenced here:
“The bowling side waits for the ball behind and between the posts and then hurls the ball back toward the trap to knock down a “wicket,” or flap of wood attached to the front of the trap and hinged at the bottom. If the bowler knocks down the wicket, then the batsman is “bowled out.” If a batter does not get out, then one run is scored. Once all members of a batting side are out, then the teams switch places. Each turn for a batting side to score is called a ‘leg’ and one game consists of the best of three legs.“
So as to hasten its just and wise decision, I will stop myself here and take my leave of the Baseball Lexicon. I thank it for its generous consideration of either of these two proposals, “chad” or “leg”, equal in worth and, I hope, profound in effect.