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– Baseball –
Learn English – Lesson 95 – Baseball
There are many controversies and debates as to the origin of baseball. Its most direct ancestors appear to be rounders and cricket. The first published rules of baseball were written in 1845 by volunteer firefighter and bank clerk, Alexander Joy Cartwright, for a New York City « baseball » club called the Knickerbockers. These rules would form the basis for modern baseball, introducing the diamond shaped field, foul lines and the three strike rule. A summary of its establishment is believed to be as so:
1845: Alexander Cartwright’s set of baseball rules was published.
1871: The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players was established.
1876: Over 3000 spectators watched the Philadelphia Athletics lose to Boston Red in the first National League game.
1878: Frederick Thayer, the captain of Harvard University Baseball Club, received a patent for the baseball catcher mask.
Baseball became increasingly popular, so much so that in 1919, philosopher Morris Raphael Cohen described baseball as America’s national religion. It has broken records, brought it outrageous amounts of money, through merchandise such as baseball caps and shirts, spawned the little league (children’s baseball teams) and the women’s league, tackled race issues and has unfortunately been at the centre of controversy for steroid use.
The viewing audience is now half of what it was 30 years ago but the sport remains a country favourite and is played globally. Whatever lays ahead no one knows, but one thing is for sure, so prolific was the sport’s effect that baseball terminology has made its way into everyday language. Here are a few you may recognise:
Ballpark, in the ballpark, ballpark figure, and out of the ballpark
To cover one’s bases
Cover all the bases is also used and means to ensure safety. In business, covering one’s bases means being prepared for every contingency.
To throw a curveball is to surprise, often completely and totally unexpected, and usually unpleasant.
In interpersonal relations, an individual who can’t get to first base with another person is unable to achieve some initial goal or to establish a relationship. A kiss might be first base in a romantic relationship. Getting an appointment with a potential customer might be first base in a business transaction or negotiation.
Hardball, play hardball
To play hardball is to be or act tough or aggressive. Mostly used in the business world.
A heavy hitter refers to a powerful or commanding person, a leader. In business, the heavy hitters may be those who draw the most clients or make the most sales.
Hit or miss
To describe something as hit or miss is to suggest that it can either achieve success or completely fail.
When we describe something as « coming out of left field » we say that it is unusual, unexpected, or irrational.
Being « caught off base » could mean that you are caught unawares or by surprise. “Way off base” means misguided, mistaken, or working on faulty assumptions.
“Take a rain check” is usually used to promise to accept a social offer at an unnamed later date. An equivalent of saying “another time”.
Step up to the plate
“Step up to the plate” can be shortened to step up and means to rise to an occasion.
“Touching base with someone” is to make contact with someone or to inform someone of one’s plans or activities.
Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz 1:
Summary Statements Comprehension Quiz 2:
Drag and Drop Quiz 3:
1. Often, we use two nouns or two adjectives together which then become a compound-noun or compound-adjective:
|A PAINTING CLASS||A PAINTBRUSH|
|A BASEBALL CAP||A SHOP ASSISTANT|
|A FLYING SAUCER||A DRIVING LICENCE|
2. When put together, the first nouns plays the role of an adjective, giving more information about the second noun, and therefore becoming singular. The same applies to compound adjectives, where the first adjective is also singular:
|A painting class||A class that teaches painting|
|A paintbrush||A brush specially designed to use with paint|
|A baseball cap||A cap generally used by baseball players and fans|
|A shop assistant||An assistant that will help customers in shop|
|A two-year contract||A contract that lasts two years|
|A five-year old girl||A girl who is five years old|
3. In some cases, the words can be given in both order, meaning both two different things:
|A vegetable garden||A garden where vegetables are grown|
|Garden vegetables||Vegetables that are grown in the garden|
|A shopping bag||A bag used to go shopping, that might be empty|
|A bag of shopping||A bag full of shopping|
4. Those nouns can themselves be preceded by yet another noun, reaching up to three consecutive nouns:
|Country garden vegetable||Vegetables that are grown in the country garden|
|Table tennis table||The table you need to play table tennis|
Please note that there are no specific rules on when to write these nouns as one or as two separate words.
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