Tag: sayings

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• “So, Cruz will score …” (said 10 seconds after Cruz scores)

• “He’s 2 for 3 on the day.” (what is he under the day, or above the day, or next to it?)

• “They are now 26 and 17 on the year.” (same thing, location-wise)

• “Something something something something-wise.” (reminds me of a coach who once used “athletically wise” in an evaluation of another team, comparison-wise)

• “He’s on pace to …” (I’m with the late Leonard Koppett on this; there is no “on pace”)

• “We’re scoreless through five” is not grounds for termination of the announcer, of course, but I always want to point out that 0-0 is, in fact, a score. You: “What’s the score?” Me: “Oh, nothing-nothing.” There is a score, even when nobody has scored, and that score is 0-0.

(Scoreless somehow reminds me of Payless Shoe Source, which apparently is the convergence of a series of transactions without pay — as opposed to paying less, which I think is probably their point.)

Announcerspeak and coachspeak appear to flourish and spread without formal instruction. They are languages passed on, from broadcast booth to broadcast booth, from venue to venue, from generation to generation, simply through listening often enough to someone speaking them. I don’t think announcers are even aware that they are saying something “will” happen after it has already happened. I don’t think they consciously choose to say “on the day” after a statistic, or “on the year” after a won-lost record, especially when context renders those qualifiers unnecessary. He’s 2 for 3. Got it. They’re 24-16. Got it.

If context isn’t enough, “he’s 2 for 3 today” is shorter and less linguistically puzzling, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard an announcer say it. “He’s 2 for 3 on the day” is a construction I consider Pavlovian. They just can’t help themselves, word-wise. Turn on the microphone and it just comes tumbling out.

A lexicographer could probably shed some light on the origins of some of these, but that kind of thing is above my pay grade. Mostly, I shake my head, on the day, when I hear them.

Even in my most curmudgeonly of copyediting moods, I don’t think the phrasings above rise to the level of being word crimes. They are odd add-ons, quirks and curiosities, but they are mostly the kinds of things that are said when you put someone in front of a mic in a press box and they start to fill the silences.

* This list is subject to the occasional update as needed.