Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Worldwide business is hard, even if you speak the same language

Because this article mentioned biometrics in the fifth paragraph, one of my co-workers was reading this article from India Today - but had no idea what it was talking about.

The law on chucking has to become more streamlined and forceful. Cricket, somehow, has shown leniency about the matter and as a result, many bowlers with dodgy actions have flourished and many batsmen have been unfairly dismissed. The record books are full of chuckers.

Saeed Ajmal, the most versatile of the contemporary off-spinners, after six years of international cricket and more than 300 wickets, succumbed to a law that was made easy for a bowler's existence - the 15-degree acceptable bend!

Those Indian off-spinners are obviously so inferior to Murican baseball players. Our players bend more than 15 degrees.

But if I am puzzled over that description, imagine how the world reacts to this description:

With the Twins down 1-0 to the Angels, runners on first and second and none out in the ninth today, Justin Morneau hit a little popup to the right of the mound. Angels closer Ernesto Frieri, employing some quick thinking, let the ball drop and turned it into a 1-3-6-3 double play. He followed that up with a walk before striking out Chris Herrmann to end the game.

Which is all well and good for the Angels. But why do we have an infield-fly rule if not for this exact situation?...

Obviously, the umpire’s argument here would be that the ball wasn’t up in the air for long and that Frieri wasn’t camped under it.


Many baseball fans understand that entire passage. In my case, I understand everything except for the specific position numbers (the nine defensive players on the field are assigned numbers to distinguish them when they complete a play). But to most of the world, the whole passage is a jumble. Even if you know that the Twins and Angels are teams and that baseball is a nine-inning game, what is a "popup"? A "mound"? Why was Frieri "closer" to the action? Does a "double play" change the score to 3-0, or 1-2? And why did Frieri decide to go for a walk before pulling a Ray Rice on poor Chris Herrman? Did Frieri's team therefore win by knockout? And why didn't Herrmann strike Frieri out while he was taking that walk? Is that what the infield fly rule is about - you're not allowed to fly at someone while he is walking around the infield?

It is claimed that one of the reasons for the popularity of American football over baseball is that fact that parents no longer explain the game of baseball to their kids. How could they? The kids are too busy at soccer practice.

These examples are not limited to the sports world. Every culture has its own specific terminology, and before a multinational can advance to meet a common objective, people need to understand what the other people are saying.
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