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11 Fantastic French Phrases for Baseball Terms

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Getty Images

During their years in Montreal, Expos games were broadcast in both English and French, with Jacques Doucet and Claude Raymond serving as the French-language team. To do so, they had to translate the lexicon of the historically American game into French. Some words were easy enough, but for quirkier terms they had to search for the right French phrase. In his account of the Expos' history, Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, Le Grand Orange, Youppi!, The Crazy Business of Baseball, & the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos, Jonah Keri talked to Doucet and Raymond about that experience and includes a list of some of the French terms they coined. Here are some of our favorites.

1. French Term: Balle papillon
Means: knuckleball
"Papillon" means butterfly, a reference to the knuckleball's fluttery movement.

2. French Term: Cercle d'attente
Means: On-deck circle
Literally translates to "waiting circle," which makes even more sense than our English term.

3. French Term: Changement de vitesse
Means: Changeup
"Changement" means "change" but the whole phrase actually translates directly to mean "shift." It's unclear how to reference a "shift" on the field in French.

4. French Term: Balle cassante
Means: Breaking ball
In French, the ball is not "breaking" but "brittle."

5. French Term: But volé
Means: Stolen base
"But" actually means "purpose" but it can also be used to mean a "goal" or "target', which is how it came to be the French word for "base."

6. French Term: Arrêt-court
Means: Shortstop
This actually says "stop-short" in French.

7. French Term: Coup sûr
Means: Hit
"Coup" is a widely used action word, meaning "blow" or "knock" or even "hit." "Sûr" means safe.

8. French Term: Flèche
Means: Line Drive
The direct translation means "arrow," which is a beautifully evocative and accurate description.

9. French Term: Mauvais lancer
Means: Wild pitch
Or, "bad throw," which it is.

10. French Term: Retrait and retrait sur trois prises
Means: Out and strikeout
"Retrait" is a withdrawal and "trois prises" is "three taken."

11. French Term: Vol au sol
Means: Shoestring catch
These last-minute catches, just before the ball hits the grass, are what the French call a "ground flight."

Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, Le Grand Orange, Youppi!, The Crazy Business of Baseball, & the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos is on sale now.

Fox Sports, YouTube
Pop Culture
The Simpsons's Classic Baseball Episode Gets the Mockumentary Treatment
Fox Sports, YouTube
Fox Sports, YouTube

Opinions vary widely about the continued existence of The Simpsons, which just began its 29th season. Some believe the show ran out of steam decades ago, while others see no reason why the satirical animated comedy can’t run forever.

Both sides will no doubt have something to say about the episode airing Sunday, October 22, which reframes the premise of the show’s classic “Homer at the Bat” installment from 1992 as a Ken Burns-style mockumentary titled Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson.

As Mashable reports, “Homer at the Bat” saw Montgomery Burns launch his own baseball team and populate it with real major league players like Wade Boggs, Steve Sax, and Jose Canseco to dominate the competition. In the one-hour special, the players will discuss their (fictional) participation, along with interviews featuring Homer and other members of the animated cast.

It’s not clear how much of the special will break the fourth wall and go into the actual making of the episode, a backstory that involves guest star Ken Griffey Jr. getting increasingly frustrated recording his lines and Canseco’s wife objecting to a scene in which her husband's animated counterpart wakes up in bed with lecherous schoolteacher Edna Krabappel.

Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me) directed the special, which is slated to air on Fox at either 3 p.m. EST or 4:30 p.m. EST depending on NFL schedules in local markets. There will also be a new episode of The Simpsons—an annual Halloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror" installment—airing in its regular 8 p.m. time slot.

[h/t Mashable]

Great Big Story, Youtube
Seattle Mariners Fans Are Going Crazy for These Crunchy Grasshopper Snacks
Great Big Story, Youtube
Great Big Story, Youtube

Seattle Mariners fans have more than warmed up to the newest, offbeat addition to the Safeco Field concessions menu: toasted grasshoppers covered in chili-lime salt.

The crunchy snack, which sells for $4 and comes packed in a small container, has only been available for less than a season but has already sold 300,000-plus orders to date. That's about 1000 pounds of grasshoppers. 

Frequenters of Seattle's popular Mexican restaurant Poquitos will know that this delicacy—which first started as a novelty item on its menu—has actually been available to the public for six years. But it wasn't until local chef Ethan Stowell was hired to give the Safeco Field menu a hip retooling that the salty bugs found new, fervent popularity at the ballpark. (Also on the Safeco menu: fried oysters drizzled in hot sauce.)

Great Big Story met up with Manny Arce, the executive chef of Poquitos and visionary behind this culinary home run, to discuss the popularity of these crunchy critters. You can watch the video interview below:


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