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[Report] SENEWS-2007-08-26 Report

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Now the VOA special programme: Words and their stories.

Baseball is America's national sport. So it is not unusual that many popular expressions come from baseball. But first , let me explain a little about the game.

Each baseball team has nine players . The pitcher of one team throws the ball to a batter from the other team. The batter attempts to hit the ball. If he misses, it is called a "strike". If a batter gets three strikes, he loses his turn at bat and is called out.The batter also is out if he bits(hits) the ball in the air and an opposing player catches it.But if the batter hits the ball and it is not caught, the batter tries to run to one or more of the four bases on th filed. The bitter can run to all four bases if he hits the ball over the fence or out of the ballpark. Such a hit is called a "home run".

Now, here are some common expressions from baseball. Someone who is on the ball is intelligent and able to do a good job.But a person who "threw a curve ball" did something unexpected. Someone who "steps up to the plate" is ready to do his or her job. A "pinch-hitter" takes the place of someone else at job or activity.

A person who "strikes out" or "goes down swinging" attempted to something but failed. We also might tell the person that "Three strkes" as "you are out". But someone who "hit a home run" or "hit it out of the park" did something extremly well. Sometimes I have to give information quickly, without time to think it over. Then I would say something "right off the bit".

If someone is doing an extremly good job and is very successful, you might say he or she is "batting one thousand". If I say I want to "touch base with you", I would talk to you from time to time about something we plan to do. I might say I "touched all the bases" if I did what is necessary to complete a job or an acticvity. And if I covered my bases, I was well prepared. However, someone who is "way off base" did something wrong or maybe even dishonest or immoral. A person with strange ideas might be described as "out in the left field".

Let's say I want to sell my car, but I don't know exactly how much it is worth. If someone asks me the price, I might give a "ballpark figure" or a "ballpark estimate". If someone offers me an amount that is close to my seling price, I might say the amount is "in the ballpark". However,If I say we are "not in the same ballpark", I mean we can not agree. Because my ideas are too difficult from yours.

Finally, when a situation changes completely, we say that is "a whole new ball game".

This VOA Special English Program Words and Their Stories was written by Shelley Gollust. I'm Faith Lapidus.
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