The A to Baseball of Business Jargon

15239014_a76211d798_m.jpgAfter a hefty amount of procrastination this Sunday, who knew washing up could be such an engaging pastime, I got down to some heavy-duty email inbox clearance. To while away the hours and stem the rising panic of hundreds of unanswered emails, I delved into the calming, erudite and other- worldliness that is BBC Radio 4’s, From Our Own Correspondent podcast.

Alongside the whimsical insights into the lives of others around the world, was a piece by Kevin Connolly about baseball. Now, I’m a cricket fan with a proud record of attending all the Twenty20 Cup Finals. OK, maybe a fair-weather fan, so shoot me, it helps me relax, as does the day-long refreshment that such events require. And I like baseball, too, despite only having managed one match so far.

192330769_1cd335df5f_m.jpgHowever, the prospect of a rather special second match looms. After the excitement of the Digital Mission to NYC that Chinwag is running in mid-September, a trip is lined up to take in the penultimate Yankee game at Yankee stadium. Looking forward to it? You betcha.

So, baseball. A bit like rounders? A gauche version of cricket?

Well, yes, perhaps, but did you realise how much baseball has affected the day-to-day business jargon? As Kevin points out in the podcast, check out how the workplace lexicon owes more than a passing debt to the diamond:

  • Taking a “baseline position”
  • Prudent folks are “Covering all the bases”
  • Getting to “second or even third base” (ok, less business, probably)
  • Surprising ideas come from “left field”
  • Wacky suggestions are “off the wall”
  • Ideas are “pitched”
  • If there’s a delay, why not take a “rain check”

Who knew? And there’s probably more besides. Consider the comparison with cricket. There’s certainly been times when a “sticky wicket” has made life difficult, and I often claim to be “stumped” and sadly, being “bowled over” is an all-too-rare event, unless I’m really getting carried away.

The big daddy boss of the workplace phrase, often motivational, never intentional, is Gus Hedges from Drop the Dead Donkey. Sadly, Mr Google wasn’t much help in finding a comprehensive list of his (well, the writer’s) mastery. If I get a chance I’ll try and compile a list, those that remember the show will know what I mean.

Update: I got slightly obsessed and dug up as many posts as I could. For your delectation, I present the corporate stylings of Gus Hedges. Let me know if you spot any more or leave a comment below.

[Pics: courtesy of wallyg and jeffreyputnam]

Also published on Medium.


Inquisitive. Hopeful. Jovial. Cantankerous. Digital marketer. Event organiser. Long-time fan of tech, collaboration and innovation. Exploring digital, social, business, technology, society, psychology & startups. Founder Chinwag, Digital Mission, Pitch NYC, ChinwagPsych. Former Exec Dir, Social Media Week London. More short stuff @toodlepip on Twitter.

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