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The Effects of Discourse in Baseball Baseball is a sport to some people but to others, it can be a way of life.

From a young five-year-old boy to a thirty-five year old man, there is one thing that is on the mind of all baseball players: winning. No matter how this task has to be accomplished, baseball players will go to any measure to have the satisfactory of winning. There are countless usages of discourse in the game of baseball on and off the field which makes it such a complex game. No matter the age of the player, baseball is played the same way. As a ball player grows older, the competition may be tougher and the umpires may be stricter on calls, but baseball is still baseball. For example, when watching a twelve-year-old baseball game, most of the discourse that is heard and seen is still the same in some ways to men who play in Major League Baseball. The infielders are communicating to the other infielders and also to the outfielders on almost every play. The coach gives signs to the catcher so he can then relay those signs to let the pitcher know what pitch to throw to get the batter out. Some spectators may think that there is nothing going on between each pitch but there is discourse going on at all times, even at such a young age. By watching the players on the field, one can probably come to conclusions on which ones are the best ball players and which ones are the ones that were forced to play. Although that may be the case, there is still that feeling in their body that wants to win that game. For a young boy growing up playing baseball, there are many different leagues to join. These leagues use their own type of discourse. If a player were to say, I play in Pony league baseball one might think the kid is a horse-back rider. What they do not

know is that Pony League Baseball is just a classification of an age group. In that division, players are thirteen to fourteen years old. There are many other divisions such as Pinto, Mustang, Bronco, and Colt. These are just fancy ways of saying which age group each ball player belongs to (Baseball Divisions). According to Swales characteristics of a discourse community, baseball follows each and every one of those rules. Swales writes 1. A discourse community has a broadly agreed set of common public goals (Swales, 471). It can be said that each baseball player is striving for the same goal winning. Although each player might have individual goals, the overall goal for each player is to hold up that polished trophy at the end of the season and say their team is the best. A big part of winning a game is being able to communicate with each other each and every play. Communication has to happen fast between each pitch to let everyone know what to do in the field or at-bat. The mechanisms for communication are either body signals or word of mouth from the coaches and the players. For example, the coach will give hand signals from the dugout to the catcher who will then put down a certain number of fingers to show to the pitcher, and then the pitcher will either nod his head yes or no depending if he likes the pitch. If the team is batting, the coach will also give signs with his hands so the batter and the person on base will know what to do when the pitch is thrown. No matter if the defense is out there on the field or the team is up at bat, there are hand signals communicating to the players on what to do each and every play. Baseball incorporates words during games that are not used in someones everyday life. On deck, Coming down, and All the way are just some of the lexis that can be used in every play by the coach, players, fans, or announcers. A term that is

used a lot in baseball is cut. This simple little word is screamed by the man who is receiving the ball or the guy who will eventually receive the ball. A typical play which would incorporate the word cut will be a ball that is hit to the outfield with a runner on base that is attempting to score. Once the ball is hit to the outfield, the catcher will line up the cut off that is typically the first or third baseman to make a straight shot for the outfielder to throw the ball to home. The catcher will then yell to cut the ball if he wants the third or first basemen to catch the ball and throw it home to tag the runner or he might not say anything and then the cut off will know to not touch the ball. There are plays going on like this almost every play with this type of discourse that is often hard to pick up on for a fan. The old-timers with expertise are those men who are called veterans or those in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The men who are in the Baseball Hall of Fame have rightfully earned their spot in that prestigious group, due to their ability to play the game at such a high level. The veterans in baseball are those who have been in the league for a long time and have experience that many other players cannot say that they have. The newcomers in the MLB (Major League Baseball) are called the Rookies. These guys may have come straight from high school, college, or from the organizations farm team which is the stage before a player can be classified as a Rookie. The transition from lower level ball clubs to the major leagues does not change too drastically when talking about the language, genres, or the general knowledge of the group. Once a ball player is at a certain point in his career, such as college, the language is the same. There will be different plays that a player will have to come to understand but the genre of communication and the lexis will be the same.

Baseball, like every other sport, comes with conflict. These conflicts can be related to teammates having a disagreement on what the player was supposed to do on a play or maybe players just getting on to each other for messing up. Although conflict is frowned upon for the most part, it happen in almost every game due to everyone being different. Some people may have some beef with someone who is joining their team or is already on their team so they might say things that should not be said to each other. For example, a lot of MLB players did not like Alex Rodriguez due to him using steroids. Many in the community lost respect for him as a player and an individual. The coach and owners of each ball team in the MLB have authority over everyone. They are at the top of the list when it comes to what goes on with the team on and off the field. Also, veterans have authority over the younger guys on the field. They have experience and may have been in certain situations and know how to handle things better than anyone else. Although the veterans already belong to the team and are a key component to winning, the veterans need to teach the young guys to help them belong on the team on and off the field. The Rookies tend to act mature when they first arrive in the Majors and may show their attitudes on the field in the wrong way. For example, Yasiel Puig is one of the most electrifying players to watch and is a Rookie but his attitude on the field is far from great. Carlos Beltran, a veteran in the MLB stated, He has a lot of passion, no doubt about that great ability, great talent. I think with time, hell learn that youve got to act with a little bit more calm (Klugh). That knowledge will come with experience. Once he is a great player with a great attitude towards the game and other players, he will be more respected and looked at as a better ball player. Being young and stupid with their

actions is not a stereotype that Rookies should maintain. One big stereotype is that baseball players chew or dip. That is false because there are many baseball players that do not dip at all and just may have a lot of bubble gum in their mouth. The only way to actually find out if a stereotype is true or false is to experience it first hand or ask around that discourse community. In an interview with University of North Carolina at Charlotte pitcher Austin Wynn, he explained why he is involved in the baseball discourse community, Its fun. Theres nothing better than crossing those lines onto the field to help my team win each and every game. Discourse was the big subject of the interview. He explained a few terms that are used in baseball, such as ERA, pick off, and throw down. People who do not know the game very well can gain understanding by talking to the veteran ball players like Wynn. When you are told to pick off as a pitcher, your objective is to try and throw the ball over to the base to catch the runner off guard and get him out. ERA means Earned Run Average which calculates how many runs a pitcher gives up per nine innings without errors. Throw down is a term used by the catcher to make the infielders and pitcher aware that he is throwing the ball to second base, mostly in between innings (Wynn). Austin explained that they use those terms during the game because everyone knows what these terms mean on the team so they are just a quick way to communicate to each other. Austin said that he learned to say these words at a young age due to him listening from his coaches, friends, and parents saying them all the time. Mr. Wynn explained the methods used to communicate with other members on the team by saying, The coach uses hand signals to communicate to the catcher and then from the catcher to the pitcher to call the right pitch. He also mentioned, The coach uses hand

signals to the batter and the runner to let him know what he wants to be accomplished. You will hear everyone communicating every play (Wynn). Baseball is full of complex discourse which is used to complete tasks on and off the field and to win games. This sport, which is unlike any other, brings people, from children to adults, together in an attempt to win. For most, it is a way of life and many will do anything just to have the taste of that sweet victory.

Works Cited Baseball Divisions. Mallard Creek Optimist Club. 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. Klugh, Justin. Pattison Ave. Philly.com. N.p., 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. Swales, John. The Concept of Discourse Community. Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Boston: Cambridge UP, 1990. 21-32. Print. Wynn, Austin. Personal Interview. 11/02/2013