The following is an excerpt from Willard R. Espy’s book The Game of Words. I was saving it for opening day of professional baseball, but in honor of my blogging friend Wes Kenney’s return to
wearing zebra stripes umpiring I am sharing it today.
It was originally published by Cleveland Amory in Saturday Review to recognize the many varieties of spoken American. I recommend reading it out loud, and for the main section using intonation that you would expect from an announcer.
“After an introduction listing the major league baseball teams (in one league the Allanna Brays, the Pissburgh Pyruss, the Los Angeles Dahjers, The Sane Louis Carnals, the Monreal Espos and the Cincinnaai Res; in the other, the Ballimore Orioles, the Washinton Senaturs, the Deetroy Tigers, the Cleeland Indians, and the Minnesota Twins) the story, which I judge to be jotted down from a television announcer’s report begins:”
Each mannijer signs the car showing his lineup for the day and joins the daily huddle arown home plate to learn the groun rules . . .
(As the batteen order appears before us on the screen, we are told that certain named players are in leff, senner an rye feels. Others are at the traditional spots of firss, secun an thirr base, an shorestop.)
The pisher no longer goes inna wineup, but a stresh. The firss pish is stry one, followed by ball one. Then stry two, ball two, ball three–the full coun. The ba–er fouls one inna the stanns an the cown remains aa three an two. Finally he flies deep to the senner feeler who makes a long run anna fine runnen catch up againssa wall, beyonna warneen track.
Another ba–er goes to one an one, then pulls one downa leff feel line, where the feeler plays it offa wall an fires to secun. But the ba–er, with a hook sly, slies in safely at secun with a double. He calls for time while he duss off his suit, or at leass his pans.
The game moves along. It develops into a real pishers ba–l.
The nex ba–er grouns to shore, anna runner on firss slies inna secun, to break up the du-ul play.
Three weeks from necks Sa-arday is Ole Timers’ day, so get your tickus early at onea the many convenion box offices. Come ow an see baseball’s grays, including several memmers of the Hall a Fame.
Wes, you may not be umpiring for professional baseball anymore, but you’ll always be a Hollow Famer for me.