walk-offs before "walk off"
nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU
Tue Sep 10 04:18:58 UTC 2013
Yes, of course -- it should be "walk-off pitch." Funny that semantic broadening has finally brought it to the point where it once again can permit Eckersley's original use for a defensive move.
> From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject: Re: walk-offs before "walk off"
> Date: September 9, 2013 6:38:51 PM PDT
> On Sep 9, 2013, at 5:48 PM, Geoffrey Nunberg wrote:
>> Thanks, Ben. I guess "game-ending" comes close either for an offensive or defensive play in the bottom of the last inning (e.g. "game-ending error, balk etc."). Though the last out in the top of the ninth is also game-ending, but not a walk-off, when the home team is ahead. That is, walk-off implies that there' s no need to finish the inning.
>> It's interesting that you see "walk-off error" and even "walk-off balk" as well, though they don't make a lot of sense, unless the defensive player is doing the walking…
>> I also queried my friend John Thorn, the official historian of MLB, on this one and he answered on the etymology of "walk-off":
>>> Nope. Walk-off homer, e.g., is a back formation from its coinage by Dennis Eckersley as a "walk-off piece" in a final inning
> Should that be a "walk-off *pitch*"? If not, it seems like an unusual formation. Presumably Ecklersley was either referencing, or anticipating, his famous walk-off pitch culminating in the gimpy Kirk Gibson's "I can't believe what I just saw" home run that won Game 1 for the L. A. Dodgers against Eckersley's favored Oakland A's in the 1988 World Series, and thereby (as legend has it) clinching the series, which the A's eventually won in 5 games. As Eckersley put it in the aftermath of giving up the most famous walk-off since Ralph Branca gave up Bobby Thomson's 1951 "shot heard round the world" to win the pennant for the N. Y. Giants against the then Brooklyn Dodgers, "It was like an out-of-body experience. Nobody wanted to look at me. Hell, I wouldn’t look at me either." The Eck certainly seems like someone capable of coinage.
>>> --referencing a lousy pitch after which the pitcher had no need to see the outcome but only to walk to the dugout. originally a disparaging tag for a pitcher's event, it now refers to everything but: walk-off error, walk-off single, etc.
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