With baseball in its post-season phase, the cliches are flying around major league clubhouses like so many wads of balled-up tape.
What follows is a comprehensive interpretation of baseball-speak:
"We're taking it one game at a time."
(Our team has no shot to win. N-O-N-E. This time next week, I'll be packing a 9mm and heading for two weeks of golf in Florida.)
"We have a lot of respect for their pitching."
(Their ace is a violent sociopath. He's beaned three of our players.)
"Their bullpen closer has a real live arm."
(And possibly cataracts. Half his pitches wind up in the stands.)
"Their batting order scares you from top to bottom."
(All nine guys have been brought up on weapons charges.)
"The fans, the media, nobody thought we'd get this far."
(Half our team has been in re-hab.)
"We never stopped believing in ourselves."
(Our 12-step program is the best around.)
"Everyone on this club gives you 110 per cent."
(Our trainer hands out greenies like they're Skittles.)
"Look at a guy like Johnson, all the work he did in the off-season, the tremendous improvement he's made."
(Johnson's on steroids.)
"And Malone bats .320 with 36 homers -- look how well he rebounded from last season."
(Malone's in the last year of a long-term contract. Once he signs a new one, he won't hit his weight.)
"All year long, this team has battled back from adversity."
(Our top slugger got loaded and rammed his Porsche into a bridge. Our bullpen closer was arrested for beating his wife. And our shortstop was seen at a nightclub in a cocktail dress and high heels.)
"We've had our share of injuries, too."
(Our catcher slammed his hand through a window during a bout of amphetamine psychosis.)
"We've got a real blue-collar team."
L (Our players aren't afraid to scratch themselves in public.)
"We've got a lunch-pail work ethic."
(At house parties, our players have been known to spit on the carpet.)
"It's a real close team."
(Some of us have swapped girlfriends.)
"It might be the closest team I've ever been on."
(We've even swapped wives.)
"Now this is it. There's no tomorrow."
(Then again, I make $4 million a year, live in a mansion, drive a Ferrari Testarossa and date a former Playmate of the Year. I'll probably be able to drag myself out of bed if we lose.)
"Our backs are against the wall."
(The only way we win is if the other team's plane goes down.)
"We're just not swinging the bats well."
(Our manager has ordered new drug tests.)
"My home run today? Well, I wasn't thinking home run in that situation. I was just trying to drive the ball."
(Check the instant replay. I probably had my eyes closed.)
"Pressure? There's no pressure on us."
(If we lose this series, they'll be hunting us down with dogs.)
"Besides, pressure's what you put on yourself."
(Tie score, bottom of the ninth . . . please, God, don't let them hit it to me.)
L "This time of year, it's not about money. It's about pride."
(It's about money.)
"How often do you get a shot at the World Series?"
(It's about money.)
"Winning the MVP trophy would be nice, but I'm not concerned about individual awards. This is a team game."
(I'd kill someone to win the MVP. My agent says that's an extra $2 million in my next contract.)
"It's gonna be tough to win three in a row at their place."
(We're doomed. Do yourself a favor. Call your bookmaker. Unload on the other team.)
"We know they have spirited fans."
(Every night is like Nickel Beer Night in Tijuana.)
"They're some of the most knowledgeable fans around."
(Some nuts in the right field stands figured out a way to shoot nails at me with a slingshot.)
"But our feeling is: It ain't over 'til it's over."
"It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings."
(Here she comes. Good Lord, look at the size of her!)