The New York Times

Saber(metrics) Rattling

For the casual, uninitiated baseball fan who tunes in every once in a while, this season’s home-run calls must sound as baffling as a Pentecostal sermon does to an unbeliever. A baseball broadcast is, as much as anything, a string of synonyms in a familiar, comforting cadence. Words like “dinger,” “laser” and “punchado” take years to embed themselves into the game’s collective vocabulary, and there’s a graveyard full of home-run and strikeout calls that failed to do so or have fallen out of fashion. (My favorite among the dead: The understated yet effective “tater” for a home run.) Statistics have an even harder time gaining mainstream acceptance, so it must be strange for a newbie to tune in to a Yankees game this year and see Aaron Judge, baseball’s largest son, hit a towering shot into the bleachers and hear the commentator say something like, “Wow, that ball traveled out of here with an

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