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October 10, 2012

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Marc Leavitt

Susan:
As I'm sure you know, "keep your eye on the ball" is still current.

John

Susan,

A bit of additional info on the expressions you mentioned.

"Putting something on the ball" is used to encourage the "pitcher" (analogous to a "bowler" in cricket) to throw faster and/or to put spin on the ball, causing it to curve in flight. It is just my guess, but this expression may have it's roots in the practise of pitchers "doctoring the ball" by secretly applying a banned foreign substance to cause it to spin and curve more dramatically.

"Keeping your eye on the ball", while used in several ways is primarily in reference to the "batter" (a.k.a. "batsman") not taking his eyes off the ball as it comes toward him.

It is also used, mostly with children learning the game, to encourage fielders to pay attention.

As Marc commented above, both expressions are still very much in use today.

Virtual Linguist

Thanks, both, for the info. Generally, my knowledge is weak in the sports arena.

john

As is mine in the linguistics domain, which is why I follow your blog. Always informative.
Thanks.

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