Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dickeypedia Word of The Week: Syntax

R.A. Dickey. It's not just his initials that are rad. It's everything about the Mets' knuckleballer.

As one of the few Mets with a higher GPA than ERA (Dickey's grade point average as an English Literature major at the University of Tennessee was 3.35; his earned run average for the Mets in 2010 was 2.84), Dickey has used his extensive vocabulary in numerous interviews and while doing book reviews.

Yes, R.A. Dickey reviews books, and we're not talking about Vanilla Ice's autobiography (Ice By Ice: The Vanilla Ice Story In His Own Words, in case you wanted your own copy). We're talking about some of the best tomes in modern and classic literature. Here is one such review, as Dickey discusses Yann Martel's novel, "The Life of Pi", in Sunday's edition of the New York Post:

"Pi and his mom are in a shipwreck — he runs an animal circus — and this is about their journey. The oceanliner sends two reps to interview Pi, who tells an outlandish story that’s basically the story you’re reading. He also gives another version, and the reader has to choose. One story has a religious component, and that’s the one I chose. It’s beautifully written — I love the language, the structure, the climax, even the syntax."

At Studious Metsimus, we love how R.A. uses language and structure in his book reviews. We also approve of Dickey's (ahem) climax. But syntax? Well, let's just knuckle our way over to the dictionary and see what Dickey means by that:

  • 1. the study of the rules that govern the ways in which words combine to from phrases, clauses and sentences.
  • 2. the arrangement of words in a sentence.

Got that? No? Okay, we'll give that one to you. It's not the easiest word to define. Even the definition needs a definition. So who better to use the word "syntax" in a sentence than a former Met who knows a thing or two about it.

In 1993, Bobby Bonilla became the fifth Met to hit as many as 34 home runs in a single season, following Frank Thomas (1962), Dave Kingman (1975, 1976, 1982), Darryl Strawberry (1987, 1988, 1990) and Howard Johnson (1987, 1989, 1991). Seven years later, the Mets bought out Bonilla's contract, agreeing to pay him an earplug short of $1.2 million per year for 25 years beginning July 1, 2011.

Syntax was very important for the former Bronx tour guide in his contract, so before anyone falls asleep, let's hand it over to Bobby Bo. Wake up, Bobby!

"I can't wait to collect my first paycheck from the Mets on July 1. Then I can go to Las Vegas with Rickey Henderson to play poker without any of you guys in the media writing about it. Wait a minute. If I win any money in the Sin City casinos, do I have to pay a syntax?"

Um, yeah. Perhaps we were mistaken in thinking that Bobby Bonilla would be able to clarify the definition of "syntax". Maybe we should just have His R.A.D.-ness define his own words instead of going to a misinformed malcontent like Bonilla.

While we're at it, perhaps Dickey can suggest an accountant for Bonilla as well - one who won't try to collect a syntax from him come tax time. After all, past and present Mets should always help each other in times of need. You never know. Dickey now has $7.8 million coming to him over the next two years. He may need someone to show him where to buy a nice house in the Bronx...

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