"track record"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Nov 18 18:51:04 UTC 2010

At 11:57 AM -0500 11/18/10, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>On Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 10:50 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>  Then there's "get untracked", as when a baseball (basketball, etc.)
>>  player or team in a slump "can't get untracked", which appears to
>>  have derived from a eggcornish reanalysis of "can't get on track" (of
>>  a train car).  Being "untracked" is thus a positive (cf. "finally got
>>  untracked"), precisely the way being on track is for the train, one
>>  that seems to allude to undoing a negative (as when a car or wagon in
>>  stuck in a track/rut).
>>  (Cf. http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001390.html.)
>More here:
Thanks.  Nice treatment, and one that I'd forgotten, if I ever read.
I will, however, claim credit for the first discussion of "get
untracked" as an eggcorn, or rather a reanalysis (since eggcorns
hadn't been discovered yet), within a June 1996 thread on
rec.sport.baseball as part of an argument I was having with David
Tate, who is more widely known (at least in sabermetric circles) for
developing the concept of "marginal lineup value", a measure of the
offensive contribution of a player over a (suitably defined)
"replacement level" player at the same position.


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