Garrett Broshuis, who led off this series 16 installments ago, is back to talk about the language of baseball. Broshuis became well-versed in the game’s distinct, and often vulgar, vernacular during six seasons in the Giants organization. He retired earlier this year.
The language of baseball. Everybody knows about spitters and splitters, cans of corn and dying quails, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
As soon as a person steps foot in a clubhouse, the dialogue completely changes. In fact, you don't even have to be in the clubhouse.
I remember a couple of spring trainings ago, I arrived at the hotel on the first day and went directly to the room of one of my good friends. A few of us were huddled around and we hadn't seen each other in almost six months. We were all excited, telling stories, and suddenly it struck me that every one of us were cursing WAY too much. We were all good, upstanding young men; the type of guys that most mothers would call "gentlemen." Suddenly we were potty-mouths.
I mentioned this to one of them. We all agreed that in the offseason we hardly ever uttered a curse word. We behaved as if our mothers were always around. Now that we were back together, our dialogue had completely changed and not necessarily for the better.
But aside from curse words, other words infiltrate as well. In fact, certain Spanish words become part of everyone's lingo, since Latinos are such a large part of the game. A change-up becomes a "cambio," a line drive a "linea," and a glove a "guante." And then, of course, their are the Spanish curse words, which everyone quickly mixes in–mierda, cono, mama…you get the point.
When an outsider walks in the clubhouse–such as a reporter–it changes slightly. But of course, some feel obligated to show off and the dialogue gets worse instead of better. But even this depends on one's perspective I guess.
If a person does happen to find their way into the clubhouse, they'll quickly see that pretty much no subject is off-limits when it comes to the language of baseball. If you can't take sarcasm, you'll have a tough time in this environment. Mothers, sisters, girlfriends–occasionally even wives–are the subject of tormentor's jokes. Even jokes about the shape and size of some people's various organs are permissible–sometimes even encouraged. If you're walking around naked, flaunting yourself, expect the commentary to begin.
The language of baseball. Some would argue it helps build thick skin. Others would say it just builds filth.