Time for baseball fans to brush up on the lingo

April 07, 1995|By MIKE ROYKO

Because of the long strike, many baseball fans could have trouble communicating because their special language skills have grown rusty.

A fan can't just plunk himself down on a bar stool and say something like: "Tell me, do you think that the Cubs are capable of winning enough baseball games this season to be considered worthy competitors or be awarded a divisional title?"

There would be snickering or suspicious stares because that is not the proper way to talk baseball.

Those fans who want to brush up on their baseball talk are advised to tune in to "Sports Yak Yak," the most popular round-the-clock sports radio call-in show.

You will hear the host, Billy Babble, and Chicago's most dedicated sports fans saying things like this:

And now for our first call from Joe in Cicero. Yo, Joe, how you doin', yo?

"I'm doin' great, Billy, and I wanna tell you that you're doin' a great job too. So what are ya callin' me about, yo?"

Uh, no, Joe, you called me. I'm the host.

"Hey, you're right, I forgot. OK, so, the strike's over, right?"

You're right on top of the news, Joe.

"Yeah, well, then tell me this. You think we can go all the way? Can we do it?"

Who you talking about, yo?

"Hey, I ain't talkin' about your kid sister, there, Billy, yo?"

You better not be, Joe, even though I don't have a kid sister, yo? So who you mean?

"I mean the Cubs, Billy. How 'bout them Cubs, huh?"

Yeah, how 'bout them?

"Yeah, I said it first. So, what 'ya think, yo?"

Well, I got to tell it like it is. They got a lot of question marks.

"Hey, that's what I said to my wife. Ask if I didn't tell her they got a lot of question marks, yo?"

I believe you because you tell it like it is.

"Hey, the only way it is, is the way it is, and the only way to tell it is the way it is, you get me, yo?"

Right, because if you don't tell it the way it is, you're telling it the way it isn't, and the way it isn't will never be the way it is.

"Yeah, so who'd we be kiddin', nobody, right?"

You got it, Joe.

"So, what about your kid sister, huh?"

I told you, I don't have one, but watch yourself anyways.

"Oh, yeah, I forget. Hey, I meant the Cubs."

Right. The biggest question mark is the pitching.

"Hey, that's what I told my boss, just ask 'em. Like I always say, pitching is 190 percent of the game."

No, Joe, it can't be any more than 100 percent, and pitching is 90 percent of the game.

"Hey, I bet you're using a pocket calculator, yo? But I'll take your word, on that 19 percent."

Ninety, Joe.

"Whatever. And you know what else I think? I think they're shaky up the middle. And you got to be strong up the middle, know what I mean, yo?"

Exactly. They got to get somebody in center who has got wheels and a glove.

"Oh, yeah, got to have them wheels and a glove. I mean, you'd look pretty dumb without a glove, right?"

You got it, Joe.

L "But I think the kid at short, he's OK if he stays healthy."

Right. He gives you 110 percent every day.

"Wait a minute, you told me there can't be no more than 100 percent, yo?"

What I mean is, he comes to play.

"Oh, yeah, I know what you mean. And Sammy, there, in right. He's got all the tools."

No question, all the tools, and if he ever puts it all together, he could have an MVP year and be a superstar.

"Hey, that's just what I told my neighbor, just ask 'em. But I think the guy at first, he's got to start giving us the ribbies."

No question, we need him for the ribbies. Doesn't give you the long ball, but he's got the eye and he gives you the alley shots. And we got to get more production from the kid behind the plate. Another career year, you know what I mean?

"Hey, that's what I told a guy on the bus this morning, just ask 'em."

I believe you. But I worry about the bench.

"Hey, me, too. I worried about the bench last night so's I didn't get any sleep. Ask my wife again. I told her I was worried about the bench and she told me to shut up and go sleep on a bench. What 'ya think of that?"

I know what you mean, Joe. So the way I see it, if the starting pitching comes through and gives us six, seven innings, and somebody comes out of the bullpen, and we get some production from the three, four and five guys, and somebody with wheels gets on ahead of them, then like I always say, hey, who knows, anything can happen, right?

"Hey, and maybe anything will happen, yo?"

If it don't rain.

"That's just what I told somebody, I forget who, but you can ask 'em."

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