Baseball or Base Ball

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 19 22:28:21 UTC 2012

On Sat, Aug 18, 2012 at 2:24 PM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at> wrote:
> 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.

Not in Black America. Sports Illustrated has long since documented the
strange dearth of black Americans, as opposed to various flavors of
black Latin-Americans - if yawl gnome sane - in baseball. Amongst the
colored, _ball_ is usually football and, sometimes, basketball.
Indeed, in today's NYT Mag,

".. he has played almost no _[foot] ball_ …"

said of the Haitian-American former high-school [basket]baller, Jason
Pierre-Paul, now an NFL [foot]baller.

However, that's a relatively-new change, since, sadly, I'm more than
old enough to recall easily the days, before and after Jackie
Robinson, when ("Let's play some) _ball_!," _the game_, etc. in
BE-speak were also references only to baseball. My grandfather's
gnarled fingers as a consequence of his having worn the "tools of
ignorance" in his youth far outweighed the knot on my father's
shoulder from a poorly-reset bone broken during his days as a two-way

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

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