This Post is Not “Elite”
Fair warning, dear reader: this post is not elite. I spent a good amount of time on it, and I think it is pretty solid. But is it elite? Nah. You best move on.
Oh you’re still here? Well let’s talk about what it takes to be “elite.” First, a little history: the term “elite” became an elite sports cliche a few years ago when pundits began debating the elite-ness of NFL quarterback Joe Flacco.
ESPN talking heads spent hours dissecting it on each of the approximately 72 weekly hours of elite programming the network dedicates to the NFL, which when discussing all of the professional sports leagues, is clearly elite.
I thought this type of banality was limited only to the NFL and its media lackeys. Unfortunately, sportswriters are a non-elite bunch, and when they see something that prevents them from having to open a thesaurus, they jump on it.
To wit: your daily dose of elite baseball discussion for Tuesday, March 15, 2016:
- “Elite” pitching prospect Lucas Giolito looks to make an impact for the Nats in 2016
- Can Dustin Pedroia regain his “elite-ness?”
- Dustin Pedroia is an “elite” member of the Red Sox (I guess that solves that)
- Boston College baseball recruits “elite” student athletes
- Is Kevin Gausman part of “the elite of the elite?”
- Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta is among the “elite”
- The bar for “elite” base stealers has declined; conversely, the bar for “elite” starting pitchers is on the rise
- Francisco Lindor has boosted Cleveland’s defense with his “elite” glove work
- In 2015, Kolten Wong was a slightly above-average second baseman, but far from “elite.“
I passed out from typing that elite inanity, but when I woke up, I started thinking maybe I was being too harsh. Instead of criticizing sportswriters for their ineloquence, perhaps I should sympathize with them: writing on deadline is hard! So, in an effort to feel their elite pain, I went to my trusty Google machine and typed “elite” into thesaurus.com. Here’s what we get if we replace the headlines above with my new words:
- “Top” pitching prospect Lucas Giolito looks to make an impact for the Nats in 2016
- Can Dustin Pedroia regain his “greatness?”
- Dustin Pedroia is a “respected” member of the Red Sox (The original post didn’t even use the word “elite” correctly so I fixed it)
- Boston College baseball recruits “world class” student athletes
- Is Kevin Gausman part of “pitching’s upper class?” (I actually didn’t die a little on the inside when I typed this)
- Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta is among MLB’s “best” pitchers
- Francisco Lindor has boosted Cleveland’s defense with his “out of this world” glove work
- The bar for “topflight” base stealers has declined; conversely, the bar for “tip-top” starting pitchers is on the rise (If you’ve ever seen “Snatch,” you know “tip top” is a criminally underused expression)
- In 2015, Kolten Wong was a slightly above-average second baseman, but far from “choice.” (Ditto for “choice.” Unconvinced? Watch this).
Much better, right? That took about five minutes.
It may only be March, but it is good to see MLB sportswriter jargon game has already reached elite levels. It’s going to be a long season.