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May 15, 2003

Slang of the Week: the show/The Show (noun)
Major League Baseball

If Fidel Castro had made it to the show, Cuba might be a different place.

Celebrity quote:
“Yeah, I was in the show. I was in the show for 21 days once -- the 21 greatest days of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in the show, somebody else carries your bags. It was great. You hit white balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains.”
-Kevin Costner (as Crash Davis) in the classic baseball movie Bull Durham

In that movie, Kevin Costner wasn’t in the show. He was in the bush league (minor league), an expression that has come to mean any amateur or second-rate organization. Costner has made a career out of acting in baseball movies, including Field of Dreams and For the Love of the Game. As James Earl Jones tells him in Field of Dreams, “ Baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.”

Perhaps that’s why we have so many baseball movies. From the Bad News Bears to The Natural and A League of Their Own, every year brings a few new titles with a ballpark theme. Or perhaps there’s another reason. Charlie Sheen, who acted in the baseball comedy Major League, says, “All actors want to be athletes… I'm making movies -- big deal! They're playing major league baseball. That's the ultimate. They're in The Show.” And I had always thought actors wanted to be rock stars.

As for Castro, the legend is that he played minor league baseball before becoming turning to politics. Whether this is true or not is debatable, but the Cuban leader once said of his pitching days, “I had good speed and a good curveball to the point where they came to check me out.”

By the way, our apologies to those of you who didn’t get last week’s email. We’re still trying to figure out which word the filters thought was “bad”!

What’s new at Slang City?
This week in MUSIC we explain the cultural references in If I Had A Million Dollars by the Barenaked Ladies. Click to find out about K-Cars and John Davidson!