The latest edition of Ben’s Bookshelf appeared on MiLB.com this past Thursday. The featured book this time through is Jesse Goldberg-Strassler’s “The Baseball Thesaurus.” It looks a little something like this:
The Baseball Thesaurus is just what its name implies. To quote my own (stellar) writing, the book is “an alphabetized romp through the baseball lexicon peppered with quirky anecdotes, vintage photos and memorable quotes.”
The Baseball Thesaurus greatly enhances my ability to turn pedestrian baseball sentences into flowery works of national pastime poetry, and for this I am grateful. Using the thesaurus, one can transform a bland remark such as “The pitcher threw a curveball and the batter hit it over the fence” into “The hurlester buggywhipped a snapdragon and the swatsmith manhandled it beyond the rampart.” (Reader comprehension be damned!)
Words, let’s not mince them: I am a nerd who enjoys writing in this antiquated (and, yes, borderline pretentious) sort of way. So last Thursday afternoon I took to Twitter and asked my ragtag band of followers to submit run-of-the-mill baseball sentences so that I could then gussy them up with the Thesaurus. Some highlights:
1. “The Northfield nine posted a picket fence in the middle innings and held on for a 3-2 win.” (submitted by @NatsProspects)
@NatsProspects is kind of messing with me here, by submitting a sentence that is already gussied up! The alliterative “Northfield Nine” can’t really be improved upon, nor can the use of “picket fence” to describe three one-run innings in a row. But, beyond that, I did my best to tweak it up (although the only instance in which I was able to employ The Baseball Thesaurus was with the word “inning”). My version:
“The Northfield nine posted a picket fence in the centermost stanzas, and persevered for a 3-2 triumph.”
2. “The runner tags from second and is thrown out by the right fielder.” (submitted by @LivingInAJar)
In this case, The Baseball Thesaurus equipped me with the tools I needed to go on an alliterative rampage:
“The tenant tags from the second station, but is vanquished at the coffin corner by the rightfield retriever.”
3. “‘fly ball…..caught’ or anything else Harry Doyle broadcast during the amazing 1989/1990 Indians seasons” (submitted by @Spike_RRE)
For those who may have forgotten, Harry Doyle is the name of the Cleveland Indians announcer played by Bob Uecker in the Major League films. You know, this guy:
“Fly ball…caught” can be transformed into “Cloud-scraper…captured”, but why stop there? Here’s another Harry Doyle quote, transformed via the Thesaurus.
“That ball is off his glove and outta here!” becomes “That lemon is off his lobster trap and over the barricade!”
4. “Sharp two-out single up the middle. This will score two.” (submitted by @CJBoerger)
Okay, this’ll be the last one. My transformative attempt:
“Screaming Meemie to the center of the outer garden. This will send two plateward.”
And then there is the great art of photography, each example of which is worth 1000 words. This picture, tweeted on Tuesday afternoon by the fast-acting folks @IndianapolisEMS, is my favorite example in quite some time.
Unforeseen technological adversity has made it so that I can’t post this picture. So, click HERE to see a droopy-eyed bear practicing first aid on a severed torso.