Since baseball season begins Thursday, it seems like a good time to review some of the jargon we'll be hearing ceaselessly these next six months:
No-no - Complete transcript of a typical Chase Utley interview.
Bad hop - That annoying Sixers mascot.
Foul lines - Def Comedy Jam.
Round tripper - Mama Cass.
Uppercut - What happened in big-league clubhouses in the wake of improved drug testing.
Twin killing - Urge that comes over me whenever I see Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen on Oprah.
Takeout slide - What Domino's hopes to reverse with its new pizza.
Find a hole - What prosecutors had no trouble doing with Roger Clemens' testimony.
DL - The train that carries commuters between Pratt and 69th Streets.
Split finger - One injury the Phils didn't experience this spring.
Doubleheader - Barry Bonds' hat size.
Fielder's choice - The Brewers again? Or should I go to a team with a future?
Freeze the hitter - What happens when you schedule a nighttime exhibition game in Philadelphia in March.
Gap hitter - A player's teenage daughter.
High heat - What I do when I'm hungry.
No decision - John Felske's managerial style.
Deliver - De organ a lot of baseball managers ruin.
Pitch count - John Montefusco.
Stolen base - A German bakery.
Batter's box - Pillsbury or Aunt Jemima.
Strike zone - Wisconsin.
Windup - The fate of many players after dinner in the Napa Valley.
Good eye - An Australian greeting.
Baseball traditions I could live without:
1. Champagne celebrations - Hooray, you won. Get drunk in private.
2. Postgame shaving-cream pies to the face. The first time was funny. The next 143,658, not so much.
3. Throwing back visitors' home runs. I wait my whole life for a game ball and when I finally get one, I'm going to return it? Boo all you want, it's going home with me.
4. Finger-pointing to the heavens. Unless God or a dead relative is also responsible for your striking out with runners on base, don't bother.
5. Formal postgame interviews. What are the chances you'll get an (A) honest, (B) original, or (C) thoughtful response from someone staring into 62 cameras?
What a matchup. VCU- Butler is a Final Four semifinal. Sounds more like a product advertised on late-night TV. ("Purchase a VCU-Butler now, and you'll never have to dust your TV accessories again!")
I'm not even certain what VCU stands for, other than a complete refutation of bracketology.
Very Considerable Underdogs?
Vast Conspiracy Uncovered?
Vintage College Upsets?
Verifying CBS's Unctuousness?
Phil at ease. Now that everyone's picking the Phillies to win 100 games and another World Series, I think I speak for a lot of aging Philadelphians when I confess to being extremely uncomfortable.
Our scarred psyches, after all, evolved through decades of desperate longing. No one who experienced what we did is capable of donning the kind of cocky assuredness that has cloaked Phillies fans since Cliff Lee's return.
We can't handle front-running. We're much more used to looking ahead, toward where the locomotive of misfortune is surely bearing down on us, rather than looking behind to see whether anybody can catch us.
Maybe the Phils will go wire-to-wire. Maybe we'll have another Broad Street parade. Maybe this season will be one long, glorious, upbeat run.
But just in case, I'm not abandoning my well-earned anxiety anytime soon.
Cole Whitt, a driver in NASCAR's truck series, on how he ran at Daytona recently.
"I was in the last big wreck, running fifth at the time. It wasn't even our truck. It was in a truck we had to rent."
"Hello, this Budget? Look, I'm gonna need a truck pretty quick. Got anything with 'Pepto- Bismol' painted on one side, 'Jiffy Lube' on the other? And maybe a cage around the driver's seat? No, won't need a GPS, I'm just gonna be goin' round in circles. I will take the insurance, though."