Tuesday, June 2, 2009


OOops- in my excitement, I hit 'post' after coming up with the title word.

Maybe I should write no more, leaving just that mysterious and haunting cry to echo through the blog ether, like the letters CRO carved into a tree on Roanoke Island, where an entire English colony was discovered to have disappeared in 1590 (note blatant display of historical erudition). 1

Sadly, the explanation is a bit more prosaic. This morning, someone brought up an observation that some sports announcers were now saying RBI instead RBIs and he wondered why because he had always heard RBIs, even though he understood that the plural was found within the phrase (runs batted in, not runs batted ins).

Another person chimed in that his team had had very few this year, and so he hadn't noticed.

An English teacher said she never listened to sports, but she brought up from her field of expertise the term PDA (public displays of affection) that offered the same dilemma.

I mentioned that these letters fell in the category of acronyms that become words in and of themselves like SCUBA or LASER, and thus, the S would be appropriate.

SOmeone then said, no, those words were actually designed to be words and if RBI were a real word, people would say Ruhbi or PDA would be Puhdah, but that are still spoken as initials as so were not words, to which I aggressively responded that I doubted the laser/scuba people were that grammatically farsighted, and were just lucky that THEIR acronyms had vowels in the middle where poor RBI had none and had a much tougher battle to fight for noundom.

(I can't resist defending the underdog)

Had baseball statisticians been thinking grammtically ahead, they would have used the U in Runs-- and had RUBIs. Or Runs Efficiently Batted In-- REBIs.

Or better still, Runs Effectively Batted In WIth Applause

Which has a great sort of native American warcry sound to it, suitable to the warriorlike and violent sport of baseball.

In fact, now I wonder if CRO might have actually been an acronym? It would make sense given the deteriorating situation between the native population and the colony.

Can't Relate to Others

Chief Refuses to Obey

Colony Relocating Overland

Well, it's all very intriguing but the day calls, and I greet it eagerly with the bellicose victory cry of


1. I don't really have a footnote; I just wanted to lend academic credibility to my post, but I did read a great book, Big Chief Elizabeth: The Adventures and Fate of the First English Colonists in America by Giles Milton. While his research is excellent, I am sad to report that he missed the obvious possibility of CRO as an acronym.

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