Firstman: Q&A with ‘Baseball Thesaurus’ author Jesse Goldberg-Strassler

From SABR member Diane Firstman at Value Over Replacement Grit on December 16, 2014, with fellow SABR member Jesse Goldberg-Strassler:

If you know me, you know [I] love words/phrases.  I love their spellings, their etymologies, their pronunciations.  Well baseball is certainly full of great terms and phrases.  If you are a fan of “The Dickson Baseball Dictionary,” then you should also have in your library a copy of “The Baseball Thesaurus” by Jesse Goldberg-Strassler.

You may know Goldberg-Strassler as the voice of the Lansing Lugnuts baseball team, but he’s also a lover of phrases, and the Thesaurus is now in its second edition. I spoke with him about the book, his influences growing up, and his love of baseball and words.


JGS: Fullest credit goes to my parents, who read to me and with me ever since I was young. As I grew older, we took constant trips to the library, returning an armload of books in exchange for a new exciting stack to lug to the car. (I clutched them to my chest, with the bottom book at my belly button and my chin atop the top-most book. It was precarious.) The more evocative the writing, the more I was enthralled. I still read through a Gordon Korman or a Diana Wynne Jones novel and marvel at how their worlds are brought to life. In sports books, I was a devotee of Matt Christopher, whose baseball heroes were always wonderfully walloping or lacing the pitch, such that I could see the ball soaring out of sight. Combine this love of the written word with my family’s lack of cable: I had to read the newspaper or listen to the radio in order to follow the latest goings-on. My evenings and weekends were spent in the company of such wordsmiths as Jon Miller and Chuck Thompson delivering the Orioles’ games, and Jack Buck and Vin Scully handling the Game of the Week — and they painted clear pictures with choice phrasing.

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Originally published: December 16, 2014. Last Updated: December 16, 2014.