Baseball lingo

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Tue Jun 3 13:04:39 UTC 2008

In last night's TV broadcast (Cox SportSouth network) of the regional championship baseball game between the Univeristy of Georgia and Georgia Tech, the commentator consistently used the term "R.B.I." to refer to figures greater than 1--for instance, one player had "posted ten R.B.I. in the tournament."  I don't recall having heard that construction before.  I wonder whether the commentator regards "R.B.I." as a mass noun or interpretes the initialism to represent "runs batted in" as well as "run batted in."

The same commentator remarked on one occasion that Georgia kept "putting up crooked numbers"--meaning, presumably, numbers of runs higher than 1 (Georgia won the game 18-6). I had never heard that before either--though the phrase "crooked numbers" gets 9,670 raw Google hits and "crooked number" 8,380--many of them in reference to baseball:

Of course, the phrase "crooked letter" jokingly refers to the letter "s" in the old (pseudo-)mnemonic-device for spelling "Mississippi."


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