Dingers, Jacks and Taters: In Defense of Baseball Clichés

By Patrick Dorn
The Hoffman Agency, San Jose

After a long offseason, baseball is finally back.

Even though the Giants won the 2014 World Series, the offseason still felt excruciatingly long.

Like every year, winter has turned to spring, and with it beckons the familiarity of baseball season — the smell of fresh cut grass in the air, cold foggy nights (OK, maybe only in San Francisco) and the sound of popping gloves.

Unfortunately, the beginning of this season has been interrupted by something so rude and heinous, I felt absolutely compelled to write about it …

In case you missed the recent AP Stylebook update (they happen every year), let me tell you, it hit a little too close to home. The “end-all and be-all” of style guides for the journalism industry has taken a direct shot at the fabric of the sport of baseball —America’s favorite pastime — by suggesting writers avoid the use of clichés when covering baseball.

This unwarranted aggression against something I hold dear will not stand!

As a public relations practitioner, I have nothing but the utmost respect for AP style and use it on a daily basis. On the flip side, I am also a lover and passionate defender of baseball lingo and clichés.

Because of this, I am torn.

I understand the logic of encouraging reporters to avoid clichés in sports. Referring to home runs as either a home run or a homer makes sense and helps keep articles consistent. But, isn’t it a bit more fun to call them big fly’s, dingers and taters?

Of course it is.

That’s one of the things that makes baseball great. It is a child’s game, played by adults, with a strange and often goofy lexicon.


Where does it end? Today, it is home-run terms, tomorrow it could be “ace,” “bush league” and “caught looking.”

I am here to adamantly say to the Associated Press: Grab Some Pine, Meat!

(This post is meant to be satire. I really appreciate the work that goes into the AP Stylebook and fully support the recent changes.)

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