SPORTS ON NY RADIO by David Halberstam; Encarta Dictionary

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Tue Sep 21 12:05:04 UTC 1999

Hmmmm! Whose Spanish was Halberstam listening to when he heard "hard _G_"
in "Los Angeles"?


>By David J. Halberstam
>(Halberstam was the radio announcer of the Miami Heat and has long worked St.
>John's college basketball in the New York area--ed)
>Masters Press, NTC/Contemporary Publishing group, 1999
>424 pages hardcover, $24.95
>Pg. VI  Red was Red (Barber--ed.).  He insisted upon pronouncing _Los
>Angeles_ with a hard _G_, the Hispanic way.  ("Los Angeles" is not in
>Pg. 21  (Sam--ed.) Taub was the first to incorporate the lingo of the fight
>scribes and the pugilists themselves.  "The third man in the ring."  "He
>crowned him into the ropes."  "He lunges out with a long right high to his
>head."  Some also credit Taub with the phrase "an overhand right uppercut."
>Others attribute it to McNamee.
>Pg. 39  He (Bill Munday) used descriptions never heard before, referring to
>the end zone as the "land of milk and honey" or "the promised land," phrases
>still popular today.
>Pg. 65  Yet it was that very first night that he (Foster Hewitt on March 23,
>1923--ed.) blurted out in his falsetto, "he shoots, he scores."  It would
>turn out to be the legend's trademark call forever. (...)  New York's first
>true basketball broadcaster, Marty Glickman, has said that the geography
>Hewitt gave hockey on radio offered great illumination on his approach to the
>game on the hardwood.  Terms such as "along the boards," "crosses the blue
>line," or "moves it into the Leafs' zone," all had basketball equivalents
>that helped steer Glickman in developing the nomenclature for his
>groundbreaking basketball work.
>Pg. 79 (Marv--ed.) Albert's patented line in hockey usually followed a flurry
>and a great save by the goalie.  With typical Albert flair, it was "stick
>save and a beauty!"
>Pg. 107 (Les--ed.) Keiter's stock line for most touchdown runs was "5,"
>pause, "4," pause, "3," pause, "2," pause, "1," pause, "touchdown!"  THose
>last five yards took forever to let Keiter squeeze every last second of drama
>from it.  Another Keiterism was, "He zigged when he should have zagged.  And
>he zagged when he should have zigged."
>Pg. 110  If Mel Allen's classic home-run description was "going, going,
>gone," Marty's (Glickman--ed.) field-goal call was his stamp on the
>broadcast.  "It's high enough, it's deep enough, it's through there, it's
>through there!"
>Pg. 202  Keiter created a whole vocabulary for basketball.  Briefly, they are:
>_Tickling the twine_.....Marty Glickman's version of "swish," no iron
>_Ring-tailed off-balance last-second shot
>_The arithmetic reads_..the score of the game
>_In the the bucket_..a shot launched that was good
>_In-again-out-again-Finnegan_..a shot that agonizingly falls out after it's
>halfway in
>Pg. 220  The one basketball line he (John Sterling--ed.) used was "bull's
>eye."  Jim karvellas must have bristled when he heard it.  Sterling traced
>his roots through Baltimore, where he did some color for Jim on Bullets
>broadcasts.  Karvo was the first to popularize "bull's eye."
>Pg. 230  The profile also raved about his (Arch McDonald's--ed.) colorful
>descriptions: "two dead birds" for a double play or "ducks on the pond" for
>base runners.
>Pg. 232  Red (Barber--ed.) introduced his New York constituency to homespun
>Southern idioms never heard before in the big metropolis.  _Newsweek_ printed
>just a few of them in 1945:
>_Sitting in the catbird seat_.......everything is going your way
>_I'll be a suck-egg mule_...........Red is pretty concerned
>_A can 'a easy-to-catch fly ball
>_F.O.B_...................................the bases are full of Brooklyns
>_The bottom of the pickle vat_....the Bums are in bad trouble
>Pg. 243  Vin's (Sully--ed.) occasional home run call "forget it" was born in
>Brooklyn.  "I picked up 'forget it' from the players themselves around the
>batting cage.  If a guy gets what they judge to be a base hit, he gets
>another chance.  Naturally, there's a lot of arguing as to whether it would
>have been a hit since there are no infielders during batting practice.  But
>when it's a home run, they just say, 'forget it.'"  The signature caught on.
>Bert Lee would imitate his "forget it" call on pre- and postgame shows over
>WMGM.  (Could this be the birth of FORGEDDABOUTIT?--ed.)
>Pg. 246  It was (Arch--ed.) McDonald, the true original "voice of the
>Yankees," who dubbed Joe DiMaggio the "Yankee Clipper," not Mel Allen.  He
>also came up with other catchy phrases such as "right down Broadway" (a pitch
>right over the plate) and "the ducks are on the pond" (men on base).
>Pg. 251  "'How about that!' originated in 1949 just after Joe DiMaggio missed
>65 games.  When he came back he hit four home runs in three days.  Fans were
>(Pg. 252) hysterical and I couldn't help showing enthusiasm as they began to
>climb.  It was during those excitingh afternoons that I would cry, 'How about
>that!'"  He elaborated, "I did this without the slightest premeditiation.  It
>was just a natural impulse."
>     The other (Mel--ed.) Allen expression, "going, going, gone," also
>emerged naturally.  In 1946, when a ball kept carrying at Yankee Stadium, "I
>just kept saying, it's going, going, as the ball sailed out of sight."
>Pg. 261  ...(Jerry--ed.) Coleman's exclamation "Oh, Doctor" didn't seem to
>ruffle partner Barber, who made it famous long before Jerry ever put on
>big-league cleats.
>Pg. 272  The games were on WABC and there were those who felt his (Frank
>Messer-ed.) home-run call was a reach, "A. B. C. you later!"
>Pg. 287 It was the year (1954--ed.) that (Ross--ed.) Hodges authored his
>home-run call, "bye-bye baby."  The signature call later became quite popular
>in San Francisci.  "It's a battle cry which any western follower of the
>Giants instantly recognizes and now we even have a song based on it," Hodges
>said in his 1963 book, _My Giants_.  "But New Yorkers never adopted it.  To
>them, it was just another pet expression by a sports announcer."
>(Halberstam doesn't mention the New Jersey Nets' Bill Raftery, who uses "kiss
>off the glass" and "send it in!"  In the last chapter, Halberstam mentions
>his own fate.  The player John Crotty attended the University of Virginia,
>which was founded by Thomas Jefferson.  Halberstam said that "Jefferson would
>have been proud of that pass by Crotty.  Basketball wasn't invented at the
>time of President Jefferson but those slaves on his farm, I'm sure they would
>have made good basketball players."  Halberstam apologized for the comment,
>but was fined $2,500 and later fired.  On Pg. 337:  "Unfortunately, there's a
>double standard set for radio broadcasters.  Talk-show hosts get away with
>virtually any flagrant remark and it's just brushed off as shock radio.  Yet
>should a play-by-play person digress in an untraditional manner it's decried
>as having gone above the line.")
>_Author_                                                   _Phrase_
>Mel Allen............."It's going, going, gone!" signature home-run call
>Marv Albert.........."Yesss!" for a made Knicks basket
>Mel Allen............."How about that!" anything astonishing
>Phil Rizzuto........."Holy Cow!" anything from Roger Maris's 61st home run to
>traffic on the George Washington Bridge
>Marty Glickman...."Swish!" a shot that went right through the cords without
>hitting iron
>Bob Murphy........."We'll be back with the happy recap" going into a
>commercial break after a Mets win
>Marty Glickman...."It's Nedicks!" a basket by the home team
>(Nedick's sponsored broadcasts)
>Marty Glickman...."It's high enough, it's deep enough, it's through there!" a
>made field goal on the gridiron
>Les Keiter............"In again, out again, finningan (sic)" a shot on the
>hardwood that pin-balled in and out
>Marv Albert.........."Kick save and a beauty!" great save by the goalie in
>    As expected, I found it in an article about Pete Rose, "Will Pete Rose
>Ever Grow Up?", ESQUIRE, October 1974, pg. 211, col. 1:
>     Pete Rose rarely does anything half-ass.  As he puts it, he always gives
>"one hundred ten percent."
>     Two books by Allan Metcalf are on the shelves of the local Border's
>bookstore: AMERICA IN SO MANY WORDS (paperback edition) and, if I remember
>the title correctly, THE WORLD IN SO MANY WORDS.
>     NEW YORK: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY should be out in a week or two.  Ric
>Burns got a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities for his
>documentary, but the grant luckily doesn't require him to respond to humans.
>     The ENCARTA WORLD ENGLISH DICTIONARY is out.  Anne Soukhanov and John
>Ayto and Sol Steinmetz (and Lynne Murphy?) are associated with the project,
>but it's astonishingly weak on Americanisms and etymology.  Bill Gates is
>almost a trillionaire, I've never made a single penny, yet I have to endure
>BIG APPLE _n._  informal name for New York City (From APPLE, used by jazz
>musicians to mean "job," and the fact that New York was the most sought-after
>place to have a job or engagement)

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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