Let’s Replace the Word Half-inning: An Update

Nearly two years ago now, the BBB proposed a new word to replace the awkward and awful sounding “half-inning” forevermore.   At every utterance, it is preceded by hesitation as the speaker searches in vain for a better word to describe either the top or bottom of an inning.  And so, as required by the merciless doctrines, we submitted our carbon copied forms on time and in triplicate to the relevant nomenclatural authorities:  Baseball Lexicon’s (i) Steering Committee; (ii) Ways and Means Subcommittee; (iii) Holy Synod; and (iv) the Diocesan Grievance Review & Change Control Convocation.  Still, we await their response.

As you may recall, the BBB proposed the words “chad” or “wick” to replace half-inning, in honor of 19th-century baseball writer, Henry Chadwick.  Another suggestion was “leg”, because it was, and still is, used in one of the early British bat and ball games known as bat and trap.  The prior BBB post is here. You should read that before proceeding.

Well, roust the herald buglers from the chambermaids’ beds and polish their instruments for blowing, for we have uncovered new evidence in support of our proposal!  Retire to your mahogany library, scale the rolling wooden ladder to the second floor where your secret brandy flask is kept inside a tattered copy of The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.  Turn to the chapter on the 1870s and you will find the following excerpt:


New Terms or Expressions:  During a tour of England in 1874, Henry Chadwick drew up a lexicon of the game for the benefit of the British writers.  It included such terms as assists, passed balls, balks, fungoes, grounders, pop-ups, double plays, overthrows, and whitewashed.  Other terms are not now in use, such as muffed balls, daisy cutters, and line balls (which, of course, became line drives).

So, there we have it.  Not only does Mr. Chadwick deserve for many other reasons to be immortalized within the lexicon, but he also served to develop said lexicon.  Bill James himself has declared it.  What more do you require, various and sundry committees!  Which ritualistic act of loyalty must we perform to earn your ecclesiastical decree?  If it pleases the committees, we are prepared to kill both heretics and hobos for this necessary end.  What say you now, good sirs and madams?  What say you!

********

Let us explore terms and expressions whose names may not be familiar.  From Wikipedia:

fungo:  A fly ball hit for fielders to practice catching. It is not part of the game, but is accomplished by a batter tossing the ball a short distance up in the air and then batting it himself.

fungo bat:  A lightweight bat with a long, skinny barrel used to hit fungoes. It is not a legal or safe bat to use in a game or even in practice with a live pitcher, because it is too light.

A whitewash is an informal term in sport describing a game or series in which the losing person or team fails to score.

Taken from the free preview available at Google Books, The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, by Paul Dickson:

muff

Also from Dickson:

daisy

In the interest of due diligence, and realizing just before publishing this post that not doing so would be an act of complete jackassery, the BBB thought it wise to search this Dickson free preview for the words half-inning and inning also.  Maybe there we might find a previously conceived replacement for the word half-inning.

half

Nope, nothing of interest there.  Moving on…

In keeping with the comprehensive nature of Dickson’s 974-page baseball tome, which we realized we must purchase immediately if not sooner, and in fact did so, Dickson has not one, but two entries for inning:  one singular and the other plural.  For the purposes of this post, the most interesting aspects of the entries are the synonyms provided within the entry for the singular.  The plural entry is also provided below:

inning1

inning2

inningsinnings2

Hmm…, canto and chukker.  Those are distinct possibilities.  Well, having already committed ourselves to either chad or wick, or possibly leg, we must now set about the task of post-decision rationalization as it pertains to striking down these young up-and-comers, canto and chukker, which by virtue of being pleasing to the ear, are clearly the leading candidates to overthrow our previous proposal.

First, canto:

canto

No, this simply won’t do.  It seems like a stretch to borrow a term from long-form poetry and apply it to baseball.  Plus, epic poems?  TLDR.

Next:

chukker
This won’t do either.  We, the filthy repugnant masses, would not take kindly to an elitist polo incursion prancing atop the working-class ethos of baseball, even if, especially if, it arrived directed by dressage.  It’s a shame, though.  Chukker just sounds so good.

Although canto and chukker have not succeeded in overthrowing our previous proposal, further reflection on chad, wick, and leg leads us to admit that one is in fact the superior candidate.  Despite its bat and trap heritage, leg is too… anatomical, and chad is too strong a reminder of our state’s electoral embarrassment during the 2000 presidential election.

So, it is decided.  If we have slain a sufficient number of witches and hobos to satisfy the committees, and if it pleases the Baseball Lexicon, wick shall replace half-inning, forevermore.  Here’s to you, Henry.

Henry Chadwick, amply-bearded gentleman

Henry Chadwick

—————————————

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