"... he can go back, go massive, or go yard."

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Mon Nov 7 05:43:54 UTC 2005

On Sun, 6 Nov 2005 18:59:02 -0500, Wilson Gray wrote:

>Okay, but what do "go back" and "go massive" mean?

Same as "go yard", according to that St. Louis Post-Dispatch article. I've
never heard either of these used on ESPN et al., so I guess they didn't
catch on.

I believe all of these "go ADV" expressions for hitting a home run are
modeled on "go deep". The OED draft entries cover the baseball sense of
"deep", though the only cite given for "go deep" is Dickson (1989).


deep, adv.
Sport. In or to a point relatively distant from the originating point of
play, in reference to the (expected) direction of play and to the
(expected) usual point; spec.: (a) Cricket and Baseball. In a place
farther from the batsman or batter than is usual or expected (esp. used of
a player in a particular position); spec. (Baseball) of an infielder: in a
position in the outfield just beyond the infield; (of an outfielder) in a
position relatively close to the fence; (of the ball) to a point
relatively close to the fence.
1849 W. LILLYWHITE Young Cricketer's Guide 21 This fieldsman must stand
deeper. 1857 T. HUGHES Tom Brown's School Days II. viii. 388 The
batter..cuts it beautifully to where cover-point is standing very deep, in
fact almost off the ground. 1891 W. G. GRACE Cricket x. 265 Mid-on..is
placed close in or deep according to the wish of the bowler. 1900 G.
PATTEN Rockspur Nine xx. 178 John Smith had been playing ‘deep’. Almost
instantly he saw that the ball was soaring on its way to pass over the
fence, yet he whirled and ran toward that fence as hard as he could. 1989
P. DICKSON Baseball Dict. 125/2 Both infielders and outfielders may play
deep, while the batter may hope to hit the ball deep or ‘go deep’. 1989
Newsday 14 Aug. 93/3 Teufer, who was playing deep at second base, charged
the bouncing ball and had to decide in a instant whether to glove it. 2002
Penrith (Australia) Press (Nexis) 11 Oct., Another time I was fielding
deep when the wicketkeeper ran to get the ball but he did not let me know
he was there and we collided.

--Ben Zimmer

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