Fw: Crip shot, radio man, snow bird

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Jan 27 11:32:27 UTC 2001

At 4:23 PM -0500 1/27/01, Frank Abate wrote:
>Strictly from memory:
>In commentary on baseball many years ago, Joe Garagiola (who played in the
>majors) used to speak of "shootin' cripples", in reference to a hitter being
>able to get an easy hit because the pitcher's "stuff" wasn't there, that is,
>the ball wasn't moving or breaking.  It was a bit of old baseball slang, I
>assumed, and I further assumed it referred to the obviously non-PC concept
>of how easy it would be to literally "shoot a cripple".  No surprise that
>this has fallen into disuse, for any sport.
>It's been a while since I've played basketball (bad knees), but I remember
>an easy lay-up or wide open shot underneath the basket being called a
>"bunny", and a person who stayed back and waited for a long pass for an easy
>shot being called a "cherrypicker".
I've more often heard an announcer refer to a basketball player
MISSING a cripple, rather than to one as shooting one or making one.
And the cripple here is indeed a very easy shot--layup or perhaps
dunk.  I'm not familiar with the baseball use for an easy pitch to
hit, but the etymology Frank suggests (whether from baseball or
basketball uses) makes sense.  I probably should have wondered why an
easy shot was called a cripple only when someone missed one.  (And of
course the pre-PC suggestion predicts that it will be "shooting a
cripple" that will fall into desuetude while "missing a cripple"
survives (a bit).


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