Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Grammar in Sports Television

Working the College World Series offered several opportunities for me to unleash my over-the-top grammar lessons as they pertain to sports television. (Yes, there is such a thing, or there at least should be, as using good grammar in conjunction with sports.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again.)  Anyway, graphics operators and our associate producers go back and forth with the various abbreviations and phraseology with which we are confronted.  Baseball is no exception. The abbreviation for "strikeout" was a big issue during our first week in Omaha.  

Baseball afficionados know that a K is the abbreviation of a strikeout.  Major League Baseball officially uses SO as strikeout's abbreviation, but I completely disagree with that usage because SO is used to denote a shutout.  Most people with whom I work are in agreement with K for strikeout, but opinions begin to differ in regard to the plural form of the abbreviation.  It's K.  It's K if it stands for one strikeout or 100 strikeouts.  It's not K's.  Nor is it K'S.  No!!!  A strikeout doesn't have the ability to own something, so why would anyone use an apostrophe? If someone insists on using an s to denote more than one strikeout, I'm willing to concede that notion (albeit barely willing), but the apostrophe should not be used.  I yelled at my co-workers in the ESPN graphics truck about this issue.  The guys think I'm nuts, so to get a rise out of me two of them purposely typed K's in a graphic and laughed at me when I didn't notice it until the fourth time it aired. Am I alone in this world of grammar?

This is only one issue, and there are many more that I'll cover in this blog.  Be on the lookout for such gems regarding plural representation, the apostrophe, periods in abbreviations, hyphens (my personal favorite), and ways of phrasing sentences.  I'll revisit this topic after my trip to London. 

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