Monday, April 04, 2016

'Twas a famous (victory)

You can kind of get an idea from the background who the "neighbors" are:

At St. John’s Episcopal Church in downtown Detroit, worshipers gathered Sunday for an unusual tradition: a prayer service for the Tigers as they embark on a new season.

We love a good Opening Day tradition around here. The complaint is with how the minister's quote is rendered:

“We understand that God does not take sides, most likely,” Kelly said. “But we at least want God to know that we’d like to see a lot of (victories) this year.”

OK. I think it's a fair bet that, as a man of the cloth, the parenthetical (victories) isn't replacing some George Carlin-level naughtiness. It probably isn't replacing "wins," either. Let's go out on a limb and guess that Rev. Kelly said "W's," and that was deemed too complicated for anyone seeing a picture of the ballpark and reading a story about the "Pray Here for the Tigers" service, and there you are.

To paraphrase a comment from Bill Walsh's fine talk at the ACES conference last week: Sometimes you have to put down the stylebook and think. You can have a rule for first references and still credit your audience with enough brains to figure out who "Obama" is if his first appearance is in a quote; there's a point at which (President Barack) is pedantry at the expense of clarity.*

Speaking of the stylebook:

This "Pray Here for the Tigers" service has been an annual pre-opening day tradition. While players and managers have come and gone, the service has persisted.

... an entry for "Opening Day" would keep you from having to worry about getting all the hyphens into "pre-opening-day." (It isn't, after all, a day that's pre-opening; it's an event that occurs before Opening Day.) And -- ahem -- "opener" (not "open") is a perfectly good baseball noun for "first game in a series," and it's Tigers', possessive, home opener, and all sorts of other things you could be doing besides your (victory) dance.

* "Clarity > pedantry" actually came from an equally awesome talk by Laura M. Browning and Marnie Shure of the Onion empire.



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