26 Ways of Fouling Off a Baseball

As we head toward the All-Star break with our sputtering Sox eight games under .500, let us pause to savor one of the game’s less transient joys – its reciprocally enriching relationship with the English language.

Later this month, Roger Angell, “the greatest of all baseball writers,” will be honored at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. This anticipatory tribute, in the form of 26 verbs, owes a great deal to another of the game’s bards, Ned Martin, the Red Sox play-by-play announcer for the Impossible Dream team of 1967 and the great tragedians that followed in the 1970’s and 80’s. Thanks to him, I can summon the flight (or otherwise) of each of these foul balls:

  • beat
  • blistered
  • carved
  • crushed
  • cued
  • dribbled
  • dumped
  • fisted
  • hammered
  • hooked
  • jacked
  • lashed
  • launched
  • lifted
  • looped
  • nicked
  • nudged
  • poled
  • pumped
  • roped
  • skyed
  • slammed
  • spanked
  • tomahawked
  • twisted

(PS – thanks, Wallace Stevens, for the title.)


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