Baseball or Base Ball

Charles C Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Sun Aug 19 12:23:22 UTC 2012

Just as curious is why, in the midst of a baseball game, the TV commentator will typically remark that such-and-such a participant has lately been "playing good baseball"--as if he might have a second job as a volleyball player or something other than a player of any -ball.


From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Geoffrey Nunberg [nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU]
Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2012 12:22 AM


Not to mention "Play ball!"

Not sure if this is connected, but Is football the only one of these in =
which the full name of the ball (e.g., "the football)" is routinely =
used, as in "He's going to have to start throwing the football," or =
"They don't have a lot of time to move the football"? You don't often =
hear "He can really hit the baseball" or "She's puts a lot of spin on =
the tennis ball," etc. Maybe a shape thing (or more likely, a pretension =


> From: Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
> Date: August 18, 2012 11:24:39 AM PDT
> Subject: Re: Baseball or Base Ball
> Also:  Notwithstanding the solidity of the usual spelling, "ball" =
alone nearly always designates 'baseball'; it's the defalult.  The terms =
"ball player," "playing ball," "ball field," "ball park," and the like =
are improbable in connection with football, basketball, volleyball, =
handball (either one), tetherball, or dodgeball.  In America, at =
least--where baseball is the great pastime.
> --Charlie

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