Baseball analyst Tim McCarver, erstwhile designated catcher for Steve Carlton and master of the strained metaphor and simile, is usually good for at least one gaffe per broadcast. Last night, during the World Series game, he said, “It’s a five-letter word: strike.” I was half asleep, so I can’t provide the context, but I was alert enough to know that he was one off on his number of letters. I’m sure a producer got in his ear about it, and one inning later ol’ Tim corrected himself. Just another example of his love-hate relationship with the English language – he loves it, it hates him. Stay tuned for more verbal gymnastics from this consistent contributor to “War.”
Spark continues to be one of the most badly-edited mainstream publications in the Wilmington area. This week, the cover includes this slugline: “Tribute the departed this Halloween with these 5 DIY Costume Ideas.” Note to Spark: tribute is not a verb, it’s a noun. You can pay tribute, but you can’t tribute. You will be seeing this in the War on Words column. (The issue also has label spelled “lable” in a caption and the word “alright” in a column – it’s all right, all right?)
This “tribute” abomination is part of the trend that is turning nouns into verbs. “Gift” is a another recent example. People now “gift” their alma maters with donations. Ugh!
Random Rankings: Whenever lists of top sports movies are put together, they include the usual: Bull Durham, Hoosiers, Major League, Remember the Titans, Field of Dreams, etc. One that is always missing, and I admit it goes back a long way (1951), is Jim Thorpe, All American. It stars Burt Lancaster, who was an excellent athlete (he was the catcher in a trapeze act before going to Hollywood), and unlike most sports movies, it’s based on an actual person – the greatest athlete of the 20th century. It of course takes some liberty with the truth, but it tells a compelling story about a Native American who overcame all kinds of obstacles to become an Olympic champion and a professional football and baseball player. The DVD is available on Amazon and eBay. I have a VHS copy, if anyone would like to borrow it.