Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
No Bull
2004-04-27 08:31
by Alex Belth

Baseball culture is rich with sayings and phrases. Paul Dickson even wrote a baseball dictionary to document it all. Do you have a favorite baseball word or expression? I do. For me, there is no single word that is more flexible or evocative (or fun to say) than "horseshit." I don't know when baseball men started using it, but when you say the word, you can fantasize that you are connected with baseball history, from John McGraw, Sal Maglie, Gorman Thomas, and Nuke LaLoosh, to a craggy old bird-dog spitting tabacco into a cup in Florida.

In his excellent book about the world of baseball scouting, "Dollar Sign on the Muscle," Kevin Kerrane gives us the following description:

Any baseball talent, body, body-part, effort, action, player, team, city, or scouting assignment can be horseshit. The term vovers everything but the world of words—the world of stories, explanations, and scouting reports—at which point bullshit takes over.

A real sentence spoken by a scout discussing a former colleague: "His written report was all bullshit, and that's when I knew he was a horseshit guy."

Bullshit can be a verb; horseshit can't. (A sentence like "Don't horseshit me would make no more sense to a scout than to a nonscout.) Novices sometimes elide the word into horshit, but the veterans get that first S down deep in the throat, with the tongue at the back of the palate, lots of air whistling past the lower teeth, and then they follow through for full emphasis. horsse-shit!

The word is popular throughout baseball—with players, managers, umpires, and exectuives.

Fans like it too.

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