Carleton: The year in new baseball words

From Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus on November 8, 2018:

I’m convinced that the most powerful force in the world is the unspoken word. The word that doesn’t exist yet. It names a real phenomenon, one that shapes our lives in some way, but that no one has yet formed their lips to speak. Every once in a while, a meme makes the rounds about words that appear in foreign languages that describe real things, but which take about 15 words to properly translate.

If only we had an analogue for that word, it would make naming “this vague sense of dread I have that I will not be able to fully express my concerns in an understandable way due to the listener tuning out after I’ve gotten to the 13th word of my explanation for what I’m feeling” so much easier. It’s often the case that languages either invent new words in these situations or borrow them from other languages.

Baseball’s vocabulary is no exception. In 2018, we had something of a crisis of vocabulary around “The Opener,” a word drafted into service as a cheeky parallel to the “The Closer.” But when Rays right-hander Sergio Romo took the mound in the first inning on May 19 with the express understanding that he was not there to pitch five innings, no one was entirely sure what to call him. No one had ever really contended with the fact that the word “starter” came loaded with two meanings that didn’t necessarily need to be welded together.

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Originally published: November 8, 2018. Last Updated: November 8, 2018.