On baseball.

The Jacksonville Suns played their home opener against the “West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx” on Thursday night. Somehow, I ended up at the stadium—not to watch the game, but rather in the hopes that something interesting would happen while I was there. For instance, last time I went to a Suns’ game, I nearly caught a foul line drive, right-handed behind the back with no glove. Alas, the ball hit my hand and kept going.

Baseball is dull. A particular baseball game is only interesting when something goes wrong. In that regard, the bottom half of the first inning showed some promise: the opposing pitcher hit the Suns’ first two batters. In fact, from where I sat it looked like he grazed the first batter’s jock. Alas, neither brawl nor ejection ensued, which surprised me. I thought you were gone the second time you hit a batter, either by rule or by beating.

Later that inning, one of the Suns’ batters drove a foul ball right at some little old lady in the stands behind the third baseline. Took her right down. That cut off all the discussions I’d been hearing from nearby fans about what great seats these were, behind third base. Happily, the old lady recovered and watched the rest of the game.

Then the Suns’ DH came up to bat. He lost control of his bat twice in that at-bat, both times flinging it at the pitcher. Again, no ejection and no brawl.

It was all downhill from there: they played actual baseball the rest of the game.

So we talked about trivia, about how many 7-v-7 soccer fields would fit in the Suns’ outfield, about next season’s soccer jerseys—we’ve ruled out white, blue, and red because too many teams in the league have those colors. I don’t want orange, even though I went to Clemson. Pink is out. Green or purple might be okay. Gray would be cool. Green or purple might be–wait, I already said that.

I’m worried more about the weight of the jersey than the color. It’s going to be summer soon, and I don’t want to run around in a heavy shirt. I want a nice, lightweight jersey with tri-line numbers that won’t stick to your back when you’re running around. Comfort is key.

Anyhow, we talked about work, other baseball games we’d been to, about the proper use of the verb “impact”—which came up because I sent in my National Board portfolio on March 31st, thus fulfilling 2008 Resolution #7. That reminds me, I should check my resolutions. Let’s see… Three fulfilled (#7, #8, #11), the rest are in progress.

The fries at the stadium were really good. The hot dogs were okay.

Back to the portfolio. In my portfolio, I had to repeatedly answer the question, “How did X impact student learning?” This question gored my ox for six months. I’d always thought that “to impact” meant “to compress” or “to collide,” and my classroom activities generally do not involve smooshing students. I think it would be grammatically safer to ask, “How did X have an impact on student learning?” Better yet: “How did X affect or influence or (ideally) improve student learning?”

I probably should’ve let the whole thing slide, because some dictionaries do have “to affect” as a definition of “to impact.” Besides, I knew exactly what the Board folks were asking. But the question still doesn’t sound right to me, and the temptation to play Grammar Nazi is a strong one—or should that be “Diction Nazi”? Was it a matter of incorrect grammar or incorrect word choice? Hm.

Anyhow, the temptation to play Grammar Nazi is a strong one, but there is no ultimate authority on the English language. Some English teachers will tell you it’s okay to have a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence, or a preposition at the end of one, or to split infinitives. Others will swear that it’s forbidden. Some folks will say that if it isn’t in the OED, it ain’t English. I say, Noah Webster wore blue in that war, and he won.

Incidentally, Merriam-Webster’s second definition for “impact (v.)” is “to have a direct effect or impact on.” Shows what I know.

Oh yeah, the Suns won 6-3.


Doctor Hmnahmna Says:At least you have once again confirmed your Communist leanings. Pinko.

April 9th, 2008 at 7:56 am

Vincent Viscariello Says:

Have you ever actually watched a baseball game? I mean the whole thing? I don’t think there are even any baseball players who have watched an entire game. (Possible exception of Babe Ruth back when he pitched and batted.)

April 9th, 2008 at 5:37 pm

  • Doctor Hmnahmna Says:

    As a matter of fact I have, on several occasions. In no particular order: several Norfolk Tides (then Mets, now Orioles AAA club); Houston Astros, both at the Astrodome and Enron/Minute Maid; Baltimore Orioles; Montreal Expos vs. St. Louis Cardinals in spring training at RFK; Atlanta Braves at Fulton County Stadium.

    April 9th, 2008 at 7:03 pm

  • Vincent Viscariello Says:

    I didn’t ask whether you’d gone to any games, I asked whether you watched the entire game. Simply being there for the entire game doesn’t count. Even the guys in the dugout don’t watch the whole game… there’s stuff going on in the stands that’s more fascinating.

    April 10th, 2008 at 5:18 pm

  • Doctor Hmnahmna Says:

    I did watch the entire game on several of those occasions, yes.

    April 10th, 2008 at 8:49 pm