Baseball Tense(ion)

Listening to the Angels game on the radio this afternoon, I heard something that sounded like incorrect grammar, but it took me a while to figure out why it sounded wrong. I’m still not 100% sure that it was wrong.

The phrase in question was something like, “Back in the third inning, Jones pinched hit for Smith.”

OK, “pinched” is the past tense for “pinch,” as in “Now I’m going to pinch you” as opposed to “Yesterday she pinched me.”

At the same time, “hit” is the same for both present and past tense, as in “Come on, hit it!” as opposed to “It was great the way she hit it.”

But in this case, “pinch” in “pinch hit” isn’t a verb, it’s a adverb, a modifier of the verb “hit.” So shouldn’t the past tense of “pinch hit” be “pinch hit”?

A Google search brings up no definitive answer, but does offer some interesting avenues for a wild goose chase off into a classic Web surfing session. A Bing search brings up no definitive answer, but does make you wonder why in hell you bothered to waste time using Bing.

Asking Siri is useless, but entertaining if you waste time trying to figure out if you can ask a question that will get her upset enough to stop talking to you. So far, no joy.

I’m going to go with my gut on this one. “Pinched hit” – nice try, but wrong. “Pinch hit” – gets my vote as correct.

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Filed under LA Angels, Paul, Sports

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