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“Shutdown centerfielder”? Really?

Jul 26, 2011, 3:29 PM EDT

B.J. Upton AP

Look, I know everyone who isn’t me has their juices flowing this week because football — the handsome yet drunken and occasionally abusive boyfriend of professional sports — is back and that you’re all gonna try hard to make it work this time. And I’m happy for all of you, I really am.  But could you do me one small favor and not import football terms into baseball in honor of its return?  This is what got me, from the Twitter feed of Jon Heyman:

hearing [the Giants] are showing strong interest in bj upton. hes “shutdown cf” who fits their big park.

I totally understand what he’s getting at here. And I suppose that clarity of intent the only real rule when it comes to coining new terms.  But please, let me have this Jon. Let me have a space in baseball where football does not intrude. More broadly, let us remember that, when it comes to the eight position players on the field, describing a guy in a single-dimension does not work as well as doing so for a football player, where specialization is the order of the day rather than the exception.

Anyway, my sanity needs this very badly. Thank you for your consideration in this regard.

  1. skerney - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    Heyman has been rare form today. Also speed and defense in centerfield is obviously the cause of SF problems. *facepalm*

  2. southpaw2k - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    Then by your logic, Craig, does it equally bother you when in football they use terms like “home run hitter” for a wide receiver who’s a deep threat? What about referring to a safety playing all alone in “center field”?

    For the record, I don’t disagree with you. I’m just curious to see what your take on those crossover terms would be.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:35 PM

      If I were a football fan, I imagine those terms would drive me nuts too.

      Let us keep the purity of our respective sports.

      • natstowngreg - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:26 PM

        Craig, I say this with all possible respect.


      • b7p19 - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:32 PM

        I never took you for someone against inter-sportal marriage. Segregation weakens, integration strengthens. Just ask Bo, cause as always Bo Knows.

      • nategearhart - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:52 PM

        Integration weakened Bo, actually. Weakened his hip into a million little pieces. He was supposed to be George Foster + Roberto Clemente.

      • Richard In Big D - Jul 26, 2011 at 5:49 PM

        Couldn’t possibly agree more, Craig. If we don’t stop this before it gets completely out of hand. Is a 1 for three game “par”, 2 fer a birdie, and 0 fer a bogey? Is a line drive up the middle a 7-10 split? Is a hard grounder into the corner “icing” or a balk “offsides”? This just isn’t right, and needs to stop NOW!!!

  3. drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    I’m going to start calling Jimmy Rollins their “Shotgun Quarterback” or Vance Worley as the “Space taking, hole plugger”

  4. royalsfaninfargo - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    Heyman is wrong so often about baseball that he figured if he added some football lingo it might help his “touchdown average”! :-)

  5. tsi4431 - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    The fact is every MLB team plays the 4-3 defense.

    • kopy - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:42 PM

      I would love to see a baseball team lineup in a 3-4 if they had a strong flyball pitcher or a 5-2 for a great groundball pitcher.

      • hittfamily - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:03 PM

        I believe they call the 3-4 the Papi shift

      • JBerardi - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:04 PM

        Watch more Rays games.

    • nolanwiffle - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:42 PM

      How then do you explain the dude squatting “offsides” in foul territory?

    • skerney - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:01 PM

      Especially when aubrey huff is batting.

  6. dexterismyhero - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    Was Mike Schmidt a “Shut Down” corner?

  7. kopy - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    Can we say that the Giants need someone that will go to WAR for them?

  8. adeedothatswho - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    Specialization isnt a rarety in baseball at all anymore. Platoons, dh, pitchers that dont hit, the entire bullpen, Wily Mo….

    • JBerardi - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:05 PM

      When did baseball start having platoons again?

    • b7p19 - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:34 PM

      Hey! Lay off Wily Mo!

  9. purnellmeagrejr - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    sportswriters are a jealous backbiting lot.

  10. hittfamily - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    With the pics of ARod and Cameron Diaz posted here yesterday, I believe it’s safe to say he made a pass at the tight end.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:49 PM

      That is the best one I have heard yet. Well done.

  11. Jonny 5 - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    So Cashman “took it right up the A-hole” when Lee signed with Philly? AHHHH, I miss that big dumb Madden already…..

    • b7p19 - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:38 PM

      I believe that would be the “A-gap” which actually brings up another question.

      Who owns the word “gap” Craig? Football, Baseball, or Junior High Preps?

  12. sdelmonte - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    Football…isn’t that the game that everyone in Europe and South America loves?

  13. bennoj - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    How about playing man-to-man defense in baseball instead of sticking with zone?

  14. Ari Collins - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    To be fair, it sounds like he’s quoting someone else.

    That said, Heyman should stick to rumors. He’s terrible when he attempts actual sportswriting.

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:41 PM

      But…but…but…he’s terrible at rumor mongering, too…

      • royalsfaninfargo - Jul 26, 2011 at 5:29 PM

        You speak the truth my friend.

  15. hittfamily - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    If you cut in line at the Raiders post-game buffet, they call it a suicide squeeze.

  16. 5thbase - Jul 26, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    All these comments about the terminology and nobody is mentioning that Upton isn’t that good anyway? If there is such a thing as a shutdown CF in baseball, that would be someone like Andrew Jones back in his prime when he would play massively up and steal singles and still get back on the deep balls. Upton is merely good.

    • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 10:54 PM

      I cannot argue with your description of Jones, but Upton is better than you report.

      • kingbuccaneer - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:10 AM

        Hello Earth,

        Have we met?

        I’ve been watching BugJuice since he came up to the bigs and he REALLY is not that good.. He defines inconsistent. If I was paid a nickel every time I saw BJ not hustle down the line or for a hit in the gap, watch a pitch right down the middle for strike 3 (then argue about it), or get picked off, I would be a very rich man.

        Then, he wants a raise EVERY year and turns down long term offers EVERY year… I’ll take a million Joyce’s, Jennings’, or Zobrist’s over BugJuice any day of the week.

  17. FC - Jul 26, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    Garry Maddox, from the great Harry Kalas himself: “Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water, the other one-third is covered by Garry Maddox.”

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