Archive for January, 2014

No Home Run For a U.S. Wind Farm

January 25, 2014

The New York Times, Thursday, January 21, 2014:  BUSINESS DAY

U.S. Offshore Wind Farm , Made in Europe, by Diane Cardwell

“Cape Cod Project Shows Industry’s Shortcomings

Middleborough, Mass.–Carl Horstmann strode around the floor of this factory here, passing welders honing head-high metal tubes as sparks flew.  He is one of a dying breed: the owner of MassTank, a steel tank manufacturer in a down-at-the -heels region that was once a hub of the craft.

Four years ago, having heard of plans to build a $2.6 billion wind farm off the shores of Cape Cod, he saw opportunity. Much of the work, the developers and the politicians promised, would go to American companies like his, in what would be the dawn of a lucrative offshore wind industry in the United States.

Now,after Mr. Horstman has spent more than $500,000, much has changed. Cape Wind, the wind farm’s developer, …is still caught up in legal and financial wrangling and faces a tenuous future.  And, even if the project is completed, most of the investment and jobs for supplying the parts will go not to American companies like Mass Tank, but to European manufacturers.

Mr. Horstman’s company lost a bid to build support structures to a German company it had brought in as a partner, and last month Cape Wind completed arrangements for other major components, including the giant blades, towers and turbines, to be built in Denmark…

Despite the disappointment, Mr. Horstmann and is team are pursuing other possibilties.  There is interest in New Jersey, they say, in their participation in a factory planned for the Fisherman’s Project (Fisherman’s Energy, near Atlantic City).  But their chance to put Mass Tank at the forefront of serving the Atlantic Coast offshore industry may have slipped through their fingers.  ‘We tried to hit a home run with this,’ Mr. Horstmann said.   And we didn’t.”

A home run is a baseball term which is explained in;  just open the site and type in “home run” in the space on the left for idioms, and click to see the explanations and sample sentences.

Some Sports Quotes from Roger Federer

January 22, 2014

Roger Federer beat Andy Murray today, January 22, 2014, (6-3. 6-4, 6-7, 6-3) at the Australian Open.  Here are some quotes from Roger from  an interview with Tom Rinadi about the Andy Murray match and the upcoming one with Rafal  Nadal:

“Just get to the finish line.”

“Can’t beat the clock.   Just get it done.”

The above are sports idioms that “hit the mark.”    But the ones above from Roger Federer about his tennis are from track and horse racing as much as tennis.

Justices Raise Bar for Suing Foreign Companies

January 21, 2014

The New York Times BUSINESS Wednesday, January 18, 2014

Justices Raise Bar for Suing Foreign Companies, by Ada Liptak

WASHINGTON–” The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it harder to sue foreign companies in American Courts…”

The case contended that Daimler (AG) committed abuses during Argentina’s so-called Dirty War.  Twenty-two residents of Argentina stating that “Daimler’s Argentine subsidiary had collaborated with state security services in killing, torture and other abuses, sued Daimler in California.  The suit was proper there, the plaintiffs said, in light of business conducted in the state by an American subsidiary of Daimler that was incorporated in Delaware.”

The Supreme Court unanimously rejected the plaintiff’s contention, eight justices stating that the “link between what happened in Argentina and Daimler’s connection to California was too slender…”

The ninth justice,  Justice Sotomayor, in a concurrence with the other eight, said, however, that the analysis was, ‘wholly foreign to our due process analysis.’  She also added ‘that it (the decision) will shift the risk of loss from multi-national corporations to the individuals harmed by their action.”

Justice Ginsburg, who wrote for the eight, stated “Justice Sotomayor favors a resolution for this day and case only.”

Raising the bar or it’s opposite, lowering the bar, are track and field idioms from, for example, the high jump and the hurdles.  The higher the bar, the more difficult the event is;  lowering the bar makes the event easier.

How Does President Obama Keep His Eye on the Ball?

January 21, 2014

The New York Times OP-ED Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Obama-Bush Nexus, by FRANK BRUNI

“Our current president and his predecessor in the Oval Office are typically cast as opposites…

But as I read David Remnick’s widely discussed profile of Obama in this Week’s New Yorker, I was struck by something that the two men have in common, an overlooked overlap that perhaps suggests what it now takes to get to the White House and why we wind up with the leaders we do.  I’m talking about their talent for separation, their tendency to retreat, a fundamental detachment and insularity that seem, in one sense, antithetical to politics but may it fact be an answer to surviving the frenzy that it’s become…

After speaking about Mr. Bush’s “talent for separation,” Mr. Bruni discusses Mr. Obama:  “Or maybe he just can’t give up that much of himself and his down time–as a matter of pacing, as a matter of sanity.  Maybe the surest way for him to keep his eye on the ball and his spirits out of the sand traps is to compartmentalize the glad-handing, cordon off the hubbub.  Maybe insufficient outreach is inextricable from perseverance…”

Perhaps Frank Bruni is a golfer.  It helps in most games to keep one’s eye on the ball.  However, sand traps are peculiar to golf.

About This Site

January 14, 2014

Dear Reader:

This site is particularly useful for advanced ESL (English as a Second Language) or journalism students.  The metaphors/sports idioms are presented in newspaper or other media reports.  The student can often deduce the meaning of the metaphor from the context of a sentence or the article, or as found in

Metaphors are particularly useful for understanding an article if it is part of the headline, as in many of the articles posted, but they can also be found italized in the body of the article, as is seen in the following post:

A Home Run for Hockey

The New York Times:  Sports Thursday Leafs Prevail in Snowy Winter Classic

January 2, 2014, by Jeff Klein

Ann Arbor, Michigan…”Amid falling snow and bitter cold on New Year’s Day, more than 100,000 fans packed the Big House (Michigan Stadium) to watch the (Toronto) Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings play in the N.H.L.’s sixth Winter Classic.

In the end, the Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings, 3-2, on Tyler Bozak’s shootout goal, but hockey, played this day in its wintry original form, came out the biggest winner… Mike Babcock, the Red Wing’s coach said: ‘Today was spectacular.  It was a home run.”

An idiom, according to Webster’s Dictionary,  is “a peculiar way of saying something which has become established after long use.” Sports and games have been part of the American way of life from the time the first settlers arrived on its shores, thus there are many American English idioms derived from these sources.

Is Governor Christie Playing Hardball?

January 14, 2014

New York Times, Thursday, January 9, 2014

In Calm of Nature Reserve, Feeling and Fearing Christie’s Influence. by Michael Powell, Gotham

According to this New York Times article, Governor Christie of New Jersey, does play hardball, that the governor is tough when someone doesn’t endorse either him or one of his projects.

“…Somebody crosses the governor, on a matter large or small, someone displeases him, and unfortunate stuff often happens.  Last month my colleague Kate Zernike collected a baker’s dozen examples of his retributive justice.  A former governor blocked Mr. Christie on some matter and the state Police superintendent pulled his police escort.  A political scientist at Rutgers declined to endorse a Republican gerrymander of state districts, and darned if the governor’s office didn’t cut $169,000 for an institute directed by the professor.”

More examples are listed in this article, as well as a battle the governor faces on a project he backs of a pipeline though a protected area of New Jersey: “As it happens those who dust for the governor’s fingerprints have found another hardball example in southern New Jersey…”

Governor Christie plays a hardball game as governor.  Baseball pitchers throw a hardball in professional leagues.  The idiom is used to show toughness.

“Hardball Politics”

January 13, 2014

The New York Times, Monday, January 13, 2014

Adding to Christie’s Troubles, a Rift With a Former Mentor Widens, by Kate Zernike

“It is a sign of increasing trouble for Mr. Christie, then, that former Governor Kean–a man he frequently calls his mentor–has been leveling some of the sharpest criticism at him following revelations that Christie aides ordered lanes closed to the George Washington Bridge in September as an act of political retribution…

The first cracks (in the Governor Christie, former Governor Kean relationship) came after Mr. Christie’s reelection, when the governor worked to oust Mr. Kean’s son, Thomas Kean Jr., from his role as leader of the Republican Minority in the State Senate…

In his interview with the (Washington) Post, former Governor Kean said Mr. Christie’s treatment of his son has been typical of the hardball politics the governor had brought to his office. ‘If you come back at him,’ he said, ‘he’s going to come back at you harder.”

Has Iran Managed to Change the Game in Iraq and Syria?

January 8, 2014

The New York Times, Tuesday, January 7, 2014

U.S. and Iran Face Common Enemies in MidEast Strife, by Thomas Erdbrink

Tehran–“Even as the United States and Iran pursue negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program, they find themselves on the same side of a range of regional issues surrounding an insurgency raging across the Middle East…

Analysts in  Iran say that Tehran is pursuing a clever strategy, using the United States to undermine its greatest regional rival, Saudi Arabia.”

This is what Hoosang Tale, a nationalist activist and a member of Parliament before the 1979 Islamic Revolution says: “Cooperating skillfully with Russia, Iran has managed to change the game both in Iraq and in Syria.  If we play our cards well, we will end up outsmarting both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.”

A Home Run for Hockey

January 3, 2014

The New York Times:  Sports Thursday, January 2, 2014

Leafs Prevail in Snowy Winter Classic, by Jeff Klein

Ann Arbor, Michigan…”Amid falling snow and bitter cold on New Year’s Day, more than 100,000 fans packed the Big House (Michigan Stadium) to watch the (Toronto) Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings play in the N.H.L.’s sixth Winter Classic.

In the end, the Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings, 3-2, on Tyler Bozak’s shootout goal, but hockey, played this day in its wintry original form, came out the biggest winner…

Mike Babcock, the Red Wing’s coach said: ‘Today was spectacular.  It was a home run.”

Baseball season is over, but hockey had a home run.  A home run in baseball is usually when the batter hits the ball out of the park, one of the most exciting things in sports.