[Ads-l] Astros clinch World Series

Baker, John JBAKER at STRADLEY.COM
Fri Nov 3 15:09:45 EDT 2017


The sports use of “clinch” is simply an extended use of the verb clinch, meaning to fix securely.  What’s wrong with saying that victory in a series of games was not clinched (secured) until the final game?


John Baker



From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Jonathan Lighter
Sent: Friday, November 3, 2017 9:19 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: Astros clinch World Series

External Email - Think Before You Click


Dan is astute in observing that "clinch: implies (or should imply or once
did imply) uncertainty.

JL

On Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 12:51 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com<mailto:adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>> wrote:

> In 2004 the Associated Press published an article in which a seven
> game hockey series was "clinched" in the seventh game, I think.
>
> Date: April 20, 2004
> Newspaper: The Daily Chronicle
> Newspaper Location: De Kalb, Illinois
> Article: Canadiens, Flames advance in playoffs (Associated Press)
> Quote Page B2
>
> https://www.newspapers.com/image/130192291/?terms=%22clinched%22<https://www.newspapers.com/image/130192291/?terms=%22clinched%22>
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> Kovalev assisted on Richard Zednik's two third-period goals in the
> Canadiens' 2-0 win Monday night that clinched the series in seven
> games.
> [End excerpt]
>
> Garson
>
> On Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 12:30 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com<mailto:adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>> wrote:
> > A 2013 book about the Cincinnati Reds triumph in the 1940 World Series
> > employed "clinched" in the discussion of a full seven game series, I
> > think.
> >
> > Year: 2013
> > Title: 100 Things Reds Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die
> > Author: Joel Luckhaupt
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > The Reds clinched the Series in seven games, their first title since
> 1919.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Wikipedia entry: 1940 World Series
> > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1940_World_Series<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1940_World_Series>
> >
> > [Begin Wikipedia excerpt]
> > The 1940 World Series matched the Cincinnati Reds against the Detroit
> > Tigers, the Reds winning a closely contested seven-game series...
> > [End Wikipedia excerpt]
> >
> > Garson
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 11:40 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu<mailto:laurence.horn at yale.edu>>
> wrote:
> >>> On Nov 2, 2017, at 8:36 AM, Dan Goncharoff <TheGonch at MEDIAKAT.COM<mailto:TheGonch at MEDIAKAT.COM>>
> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> I would never write that about a game 7 win. For me, clinching requires
> >>> uncertainty. The Astros could have clinched in game 6, but didn't.
> >>>
> >>> I won't use 'clinch' in a simple win-or-lose situation. I can see it in
> >>> complex scenarios, eg, clinching a spot in the playoffs by winning the
> last
> >>> regular season game.
> >>>
> >>> ——————————————————————————————
> >> Agreed. That does strike me as an odd use of “clinch”. It’s a bit
> complicated, though. I agree that it seems like a baseball, basketball, or
> hockey team can be said to clinch a 7-game series in Game 4, 5, or 6, but
> not 7; thus, Joe Carter’s Game 6 walk-off home run clinched the 1993 World
> Series for the Blue Jays, but Bill Mazeroski’s walk-off Game 7 home run
> didn’t “clinch” the 1960 World Series for the Pirates, it only won it.
> (And yes, I’m using “walk-off” anachronistically here.).
> >>
> >> On the other hand, if Federer wins three of the first four of five
> scheduled sets against Nadal, he isn’t said to have clinched the match,
> only to have won it. The most natural uses involve cases where additional
> (“meaningless”) games must be played, but then why isn’t it odd to say that
> a team clinches a World Series victory when they win in 5 games? It’s not
> like they go ahead and play the last two games, any more than Federer and
> Nadal would play the last meaningless set. “Clinch” is used in Davis Cup
> play, though, since even if one country’s team is up 3-0, they go ahead and
> play the last (“meaningless”) matches, so after a team builds that
> insurmountable lead, they are indeed said to clinch. Similarly, in a
> national election, you clinch victory when you get enough electoral votes
> to “put you over the top” (since the other electoral votes will still be
> counted).
> >>
> >> But the use Dan mentions about last night’s game is all over the web,
> so it’s not an error but a broadening.
> >>
> >> I tried the OED, which was no help, since they don’t include the
> relevant lemma in their (admittedly not-fully-updated) entry for clinch,
> v.1. The closest is
> >>
> >> 5. To make firm and sure (a matter, assertion, argument, bargain,
> etc.); to drive home; to make conclusive, confirm, establish.
> >>
> >> with no cites involving securing ultimate victory in a contest. AHD5’s
> entry predicts the pennant-clinching or division-clinching uses or, by
> extension, the playoff-spot-clinching and electoral contexts (the latter
> requires a bit of tweaking to the definition) but not the
> World-Series-clinching occurrences:
> >>
> >> 3. Sports To secure (a divisional championship, for instance) before
> the end of regular season play by having an insurmountable lead.
> >>
> >> So the key is the notion of insurmountability, along with the
> end-of-season (or end-of-electoral-vote-counting) context, but that
> doesn’t distinguish between the cases we (at least some of us) do
> distinguish between, including that weird distinction between scheduled
> 7-game World Series and scheduled 5-set tennis matches.
> >>
> >> LH
> >>
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------
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>
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>



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