Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Swing Batter Batter Swing

We've heard this phrase many times at countless baseball games.

Where did it originate and why do you hear it at ball games?

Online sources indicate the words yelled from the sidelines at a baseball game are "chatter" an attempt to distract the opposing team's batter so he will screw up. Other sideline chatter attempts at distraction include calling the batter "a sissy" or yelling "throw it over, he can't hit."
Years ago, Cincinnati Little League players were prohibited from taunting the opposing team players with "negative" chatter. The exception was unless the chatter was positive and directed at team members. Officials said the ban was a needed response to increased incidents of taunting (mostly from parents).
I don't know if this ban is still in effect there. But chatter is alive and well here in Nashua. We heard it this past Friday night at Holman Stadium, when the Nashua (NH) Silver Knights played their season home opener against the Massachusetts based North Shore Navigators. There was a lot of bat swinging.  

The Silver Knights beat the Navigators in a final 5-4 score that was tied until the Knights scored the game-winning winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning before an opening night crowd of over 2,200. The Silver Knights are now 3-0.
This summer collegiate baseball team is based in Nashua, NH and is a charter member of the Futures Collegiate Baseball (FCBL), a wood-bat league with a 56-game regular season comprising 10 teams from NH to western CT. 

The team is managed by the Lowell Spinners, the Class A minor league affiliate of the Boston Red SoxHome games are played at Holman Stadium built in 1937 as a multi-purpose stadium, official seating capacity is 4,000

The phrase was popularized in the 1986 classic comedy, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Ferris and
best friend, Cameron Frye, are watching the Chicago Cubs playing at Wrigley Field when
Cameron starts chanting: 
"Hey batta batta batta swing batter batter." He accentuates the
word swing as Sa-Wing then adds: 
He can't hit, and he can't hit, and he can't hit, and he can't hit, sa-wing batter! Ferris soon joins in the chant. (Video clips can be found online.)

Swing is the title of a song by an American country music singer and actor Trace Adkins. It's not exactly about striking out in baseball, but rather about striking out with an attractive woman. 

The video is set against a baseball field and, while fun, could be considered a bit perhaps too risqué for many. For that reason, a link is not included; however, the video is readily accessible on youtube. You can search online and watch at your own discretion.

Hey Batta Batta Swing!: The Wild Old Days of Baseball (2007) is the title of a 2007 book by Sally Cook and James Charlton and illustrated by Ross MacDonald. It contains info on baseball trivia: "Discover what it was like before there was a pitching mound or players had numbers on their jerseys. Learn how Babe Ruth got his nickname, why Brooklyn's team was called the Dodgers, and what Roger Clemens gave to keep his lucky number 21 when he switched teams. Sprinkled throughout are definitions of baseball's weird and wacky vocabulary."

Have you ever shouted swing batter batter swing at a ball game ?


Anvilcloud said...

Spent a lot of time at softball parks ~25 years ago when Allyson was little. Quite a common phrase even with young girls back then.

Sandra said...

no shouting for me because i don't go to ball games.

Emma Springfield said...

Most little league rules ban harassing the players from the other team. It is a small part of teaching good sportsmanship. However rooting for your own team's players is encouraged. Root, root, root for the home team you know. As you know I love a good ballgame. I am happy that you were able to find time to see the game.

William Kendall said...

Admittedly I haven't spent much time in ballparks. The origins of the phrase never really occurred to me.

L. D. said...

Our youngest son played for one year because all his friends were playing it. I could see his heart was not in it. He canoes in races on rivers and finds different ways to do competition. It didn't help that I don't like or watch baseball.

Connie said...

I spent quite a bit of time watching Little League games when my sons were younger so this phrase is quite familiar to me. I was unaware of the history behind it, though. Interesting post!

Michelle said...

A phrase I have heard many times! LOVE Ferris Bueller!

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