Words, words. Where would we sports fans be without words? Nnnn O ggggitt, i pqqqoo EEE! That’s where we’d be.

But alas. A simple word is no longer enough. Today, nearly everything in sports is a double entendre, which is French for “I don’t get it. What are you talking about?”

For example, when I say, “He was high,” am I referring to the pitcher’s curveball, or the rest of him? You see the problem.

We can’t have people reading double meanings into everything we write, because then they’d have to read it twice. So here is an alternative. A new sports dictionary, with current definitions for old phrases. A gift. Take it. Enjoy.

These definitions are valid until June 31, 1986, when, of course, the meanings all change again: Defense: What a lawyer prepares. Offense: The reason the lawyer was hired. Bench Warmer: The judge. Full Court Press: 700 reporters covering a drug trial in Pittsburgh. Strike One: The 1981 baseball walkout. Strike Two: The 1985 baseball walkout. Strike Three: When we all become soccer fans. A Laugher: They covered the spread. A Heartbreaker: They missed the spread by a point. Bleachers: A place for drunken, slovenly behavior. Press Box: A place for drunken, slovenly behavior. Fast Break: From your seat to the parking lot in under 20 minutes. Cold Beer: Warm beer. Hot Pretzels: Cold pretzels.
“Small or large Coke?”: $20 or $30?

* First Base: A player who has never free-based cocaine before. Second Base: A player who has done it once. Third Base: An addict. Pitcher’s Mound: His salary. Agents: A satanic cult specializing in the terror of owners and fans. Owners: A satanic cult specializing in the terror of agents and fans.
“Let’s Play Two”: Before we go out on strike. Fielder’s Choice: Colombian or Panama? Natural Grass: See “Fielder’s Choice.” Loaded Lineup: Four hitters who can’t walk a straight line. Doubleheader: Two beers. Nightcap: Johnnie Walker Red.
“His Control Is A Little Off Today”: “Duck!”

* Mouthpiece: Your lawyer. Pinstripes: What you wear if your mouthpiece messes up. Cap: Something you have to avoid in order to sign an NBA player, unless you are Red Auerbach. Coach: The man they fire when players mess up. GM: The man they fire when the coach messes up. PR Director: The man they fire for the hell of it. Center: A place players check into and out of between games. Guard: The man with the gun outside the center. Quick Release: Five days in the center. Slow Release: The player gets his mail there. Split End: Something Mark Gastineau won’t tolerate after a good shampoo. Special Teams Player: A human sacrifice. Journeyman: Someone earning $150,000 a year. Backup Player: Someone earning $750,000 a year. Star: Pick a number and add 0000000000000000. World Cup Skiing: A potential cure for insomnia. Televised Golf: See above. Yachting: See above. Speed Skating: See above.
“The American Sportsman”: See above. Frank Gifford: See above. Pro Wrestling: Moe, Larry and Curly.

* Recruiting: A chance to give money to needy youths across America. Signing Day: The day those needy youths pay up.
“He shows great promise”: We signed him only to get his older brother.
“He can make our program”: He cost us $23,000 plus a beachfront condo for his mom. A 29.6 Scoring Average: On his English lit exam. Lightweight: A guy who passes out after two beers. Flyweight: A 12-year-old with a mustache. Heavyweight: A water buffalo. Title Fight: A Las Vegas ritual that takes place every six minutes. Title Reunification: Takes place every 12 minutes. WBA, WBC, IBF: Obscure cable TV channels. Base-line Jumper: A coke addict who can’t decide. Three Second Violations: How an NBA player avoids his third drug violation. Dinka: A new farm club in the Sudan. Spud: A jockey who can’t find his pants.

* NCAA: 4,000 trained bloodhounds. USC: A tanning spa on the West Coast. MISL, NASL, ASL: See “soccer.” Soccer: Euphemism for “died in its sleep.” An Off Season: Cocaine. An Off Year: Cocaine. Lots.
“An Outstanding TV Journalist”: He can find his way through an airport.
“Minor Disturbance”: The football team burned down the dormitory again.
“A bright young man”: As smart as dental floss.
“The Referees Do A Fine Job”: I would like to rip their tongues out with a plastic fork.
“Thanks For Visiting Our University”: The keys to the Trans Am are in the glove compartment.

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