Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.
Baseball is America's national sport, so it is not unusual that many popular expressions come from baseball. But first, let me explain a little about the game...
Each baseball team has nine players. The pitcher of one team throws the ball to a batter from the other team. The batter attempts to hit the ball. If he misses, it is called a strike. If a batter gets three strikes, he loses his turn at bat and is called "out." The batter also is out if he hits the ball in the air and an opposing player catches it. But if the batter hits the ball and it is not caught, the batter tries to run to one or more of the four bases on the field. The batter can run to all four bases if he hits the ball over the fence or out of the ballpark. Such a hit is called "a home run."
Nationals Park in Washington, DC, July 4, 2013.
Now, here are some common expressions from baseball:
Someone who is "on the ball" is intelligent and able to do a good job.
But a person who threw a "curve ball" did something unexpected.
Someone who "steps up to the plate" is ready to do his or her job.
A pinch-hitter takes the place of someone else at a job or activity.
A person who "strikes out" or "goes down swinging" attempted something but failed.
We also might tell the person that "three strikes and you are out." But someone who "hit a home run" or "hit it out of the park" did something extremely well.
Sometimes I have to give information quickly, without time to think it over. Then I would say something "right off the bat."
If someone is doing an extremely good job and is very successful, you might say he or she is "batting one thousand."
If I say "I want to touch base with you," I will talk to you from time to time about something we plan to do.
Citi Field in New York, Tuesday, June 11, 2013
I might say "I touched all the bases" if I did what is necessary to complete a job or activity. And if I "covered my bases," I was well prepared. However, someone who is "way off base" did something wrong or maybe even dishonest or immoral.
A person with strange ideas might be described as "out in left field."
Let us say I want to sell my car but I do not know exactly how much it is worth. If someone asks me the price, I might give "a ballpark figure" or "a ballpark estimate."
If someone offers me an amount that is close to my selling price, I might say the amount is "in the ballpark." However, if I say "we are not in the same ballpark," I mean we cannot agree because my ideas are too different from yours.
Finally, when a situation changes completely, we say "that is a whole new ballgame."
This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written by Shelley Gollust. I'm Faith Lapidus.
1.pitcher n. 投手；大水罐
The ball twisted swiftly from the pitcher's hand.
2.batter n. 击球手；（用鸡蛋、牛奶、面粉等调成的）糊状物；墙面的倾斜
The pitcher beanballed purposely at the head of the batter.
3.ballpark n. （美）棒球场；活动领域；可变通范围
I can't give you anything more than just sort of a ballpark figure.
1.hit a home run 击出全垒打
Tom hit a home run with the bases loaded.
2.right off the bat 立刻，立即；马上
Right off the bat you should have put two and two together.
3.batting one thousand 工作做得非常好
The candidate was put in by a majority of one thousand.
4.out in left field 驴头不对马嘴；不合理的；精神失常
John tried to answer the teacher's question, but he was way out in the left field.
5.in the ballpark 差不多；大致正确
His answer wasn't even in the right ballpark.
每个棒球队都有9名队员，一队的投球手向另一队扔球，击球员试图击中这个球。如果没有击中，这个球就是个“好球” 。如果击球员得到三个好球，那么他就失去击球机会，就被叫“出局” 。如果击球员击出腾空球并被对方球员接住，这样也会出局 。但如果击球员击中球，并且球没有被对方接住，击球员就会努力在四个垒中跑出一到多个垒 。若击球员将球击到篱笆以上或击出球场，他就能跑遍四垒，这样的一次击球就被称为一记本垒打 。
一个人on the ball，那么这个人就很聪明，能做好工作。
一个人steps up to the plate，是说这人做好了工作的准备。
一个人strikes out或goes down swinging，是说此人尝试做某事但却失败了。
我们或许会告诉人three strikes and you are out(三振出局)，但一个人hit a home run或hit it out of the park是说此人出色地完成了任务。
有时我得不加思考快速提供信息，这样我就right off the bat(立即)把东西说出来。
如果有人把工作做得相当好且很成功，那么就可以说此人batting one thousand(工作做得非常好)。
如果我说I want to touch base with you，那么我就会不时地跟你谈论我们计划做的事情。
如果我做了完成工作或活动的必要工作，那么我就会说I touched all the bases。如果我covered my bases，那么我准备得不错 。然而，一个人way off base，那么他就做了些错事，或者甚至不诚实或不道德 。
一个有着奇思怪想的人会被成为out in left field。
假设我准备卖掉自己的汽车，但我不知道车确切的价格。如果有人问价格，我会给出a ballpark figure(大约的数字)或ballpark estimate(大概的估计) 。
如果有人给的价格与我的卖价很接近，我会说这个价格in the ballpark(差不多，大致正确)。然而，如果我说we are not in the same ballpark，那我的意思是说因为我们的想法彼此很不同，所以不能相互赞同 。
最后，当局面彻底改变时，我们会说that is a whole new ballgame。
这里是美国之音慢速英语词汇典故，作者Shelley Gollust，我是Faith Lapidus。