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[word-lover] 【整理】2008-04-27 Words and Their Stories

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On shuiyihu

 

Now the VOA special English program ‘Words and their Stories’.

American English is full of colorful expressions. One such of these expressions is “to touch all bases”. It comes from the sport of baseball. There are four bases in baseball, first, second and third. The fourth is home plate (本垒板). Together the bases form a diamond shape. When a baseball player hits the ball, he must run to each base in order and touch it with his foot. It is the only way to score a point. If the player hits the ball and fails to touch all the bases, the point will not be counted.

The importance of touching all the bases was showed as a start in 1974 baseball season. Hack Iran was a player with an Atlantic base team. He was seeking the record for hitting the most homeruns. A homerun is a ball that is hit over the wall. Iran needed just one homerun to equal the record held by Bay Bluff, the greatest hitter in baseball history. Iran got that homerun the very first time he had a chance to hit the ball. He sent the ball over the wall that surrounding the playing field. That gave him 714 homeruns, the same as Bay Bluff. After that day, baseball funs held their breath every time when it was Hack Iran’s turn to hit. When would he hit the homerun at 715, the wait was not long.

In the second week in the season, Iran again hit the ball over the wall. He had beaten Bay Bluff’s record. But first he had to run around the four bases. The other players on his team watched carefully to make sure he touched each one, if did not, the homerun would not have counted. There would have been no new record.

So, ”to touch all four bases” means to do what is necessary to complete in an activity. The expression is used in business and politicians. No business deal or political campaign is really completed until you discussed all the issues involved, or, as it said, until you touch all bases.

Even professional diplomats use this expression as well as others that come from baseball. A diplomat in reporting negotiations with diplomats from different countries may say: They touched all bases during many hours of talks. This means they explored all issues involved in the situation. Perhaps they did this after expressing hope that they could play ball with each other, meaning that they could learn to cooperate.

Sports reports write about fast moving lively events, they must develop a way of writing that goes straight to the point. Their duty is to give the reader a complete picture of the event in as fewer words as possible. They must touch all bases as quickly as they can.

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