I don’t know how many of you live in the United States, and of those who do how many follow baseball, but I spent yesterday watching, first, the George Mitchell news conference on steroid use among athletes, and then, union boss Donald Fehr’s response a few hours later.
I thought both men were well spoken with reasonable statements and arguments, but that aside, let me judge their English usage.
Mitchell was impeccable in his grammar. At one point in a long sentence beginning with everyone–and then interrupted by a bunch of names in between–he even managed to get the correct singular usage of the verb to match his subject. Most people would’ve gotten confused by all the names listed in between and reverted to an incorrect plural verb.
Mitchell gets a home run for his English performance.
Now, Fehr–who tended to speak more circuitously but not necessarily incorrectly–did make one boo-boo (which is why I said he “whiffs”) when he said he had given something “to he….”
Naughty, naughty–prepostions always (a simple rule) take the objective case, so he should’ve said “to him.”
Okay, Fehr hit a triple rather than whiffing, but I had to make a contrasing headline.
It’s baseball that struck out.