The Grammarphobia Blog

It is high. It is far. It is gone.

Q: Why is it that baseball announcers (like John Sterling and Michael Kay for the Yankees) refer to the Dominican Republic as the Dominican? Example: “Manny Ramirez came from the Dominican to play baseball.” It drives me nuts.

A: There are all kinds of Englishes: American, British, Australian, Indian, Irish, and so on. One of the more quaint varieties is baseball English.

As a friend who lives, eats, and sleeps baseball told me, “Remember that Major League Baseball announcers to a man (and, yes, they are all men) say ‘amongst’ rather than ‘among.’ So, they dwell in a milieu given to mannered speech.”

I can’t tell you where this particular usage comes from, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s simply an attempt by the announcers to add variety to their patter.

I suspect that if you listen carefully you’ll find that many announcers use both “the Dominican Republic” and “the Dominican” while doing play-by-play.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame, for instance, used both versions on its website last year in an item on the opening of an exhibition in Santo Domingo about Dominican players.

As I’m sure you’re aware, baseball announcers are famous for their broadcast mannerisms. Sterling, for example, can’t announce a home run without saying “It is high. It is far. It is gone.”

And if it’s really gone, I guess, it ends up in the Dominican!

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