Saturday, June 21, 2014

"A Quantitative Phrase of Deliberate Vagueness"

I love the phrasing "a quantitative phrase of deliberate vagueness" that this very interesting article on Yasiel Puig's defection uses to describe the phrase "a number of", which is something that I find irksome when it is used as a descriptor in scholarly articles.

The sentence in which this phrase appears is the following: A story has emerged from Despaigne's affidavit, the lawsuit, and its proceedings. It spawned a five-month investigation by The Magazine that included analysis of an array of legal documents and interviews with more than 80 people: Cuban baseball players in the U.S. both retired and active, talent scouts, sports agents, former MLB and players' union executives, federal law enforcement personnel, former Cuban government officials, former Cuban and American spies, Miami lawyers who have represented and are representing alleged smugglers who were and are the targets of criminal investigations, and --- to use a quantitative phrase of deliberate vagueness --- a number of smugglers themselves, who agreed to be interviewed under conditions of anonymity motivated by obvious fears.

Additionally, the article title refers to an old baseball expression that has been used for decades to describe the often-legendary impatient while batting of many foreign-born Hispanic baseball players (especially those from the Dominican Republic). It apparently goes back at least as far as Rafael Ramirez in 1986, though baseball prospects in the Dominican Republic appear to have used it long before then. I really like the article title, as it takes an old baseball expression and then changes its meaning in an interesting way.

No comments: