Jason Wojciechowski: Interpretations

Way way way back on Monday, I saw this story on ESPN The Website with the headline (in case it’s changed by the time you click) “Sources: Interpreters OK on mound.”

Jayson Stark wrote the story, but I don’t have time to both read it and summarize it for you, so instead, I will only do the latter. Ready?

First, “sources.” Most of the time, Jayson Stark does not name his sources. They’re very closely held, very near his vest. His vest is in his closet because nobody wears goddamn vests anymore. I mean, seriously. So his sources are in the closet and he won’t tell anybody who they are, not even his mom who lives upstairs.

That’s the usual case. This case was different, it turns out. This time, he named his sources. Are you ready for this?

His source was Nick Swisher. Nick Swisher, ex-Athletic, ex-White Sock, ex-Yankee, and now a member of the Cleveland Gosh That’s a Problematic Team Nickname. Nick Swisher, probably by virtue of traveling through over 25 percent of the American League (he simultaneously gained and lost percentage points this offseason as he increased his numerator in the move to Cleveland while also seeing his denominator bump up one when Houston joined the junior circuit), has inside knowledge about interpreters. He’s a master of interpretation. An interprative master, even.

Nick Swisher is also a computer programmer and can talk your ear off on the subject of Python, Ruby, Perl, PHP, Java, Lisp, and Smalltalk. Nick Swisher is smarter than he looks and has a rather wide body of knowledge, which is exactly why Jayson “Darn it mom what’s even the point of the extra ‘y’?” Stark keeps him in his closet. It’s for times like these.

On to the report itself, which is, to repeat, that interpreters OK on mound. Some of this isn’t news. We already knew it. As Nick Swisher could tell you, and as I can tell you, the interpreted programming language Python works fine whether you’re on flat ground or on a mountain or in a valley or on a hill or even on mound.

What is news, though, is that the next convention of the National Interpreters and Translators Union will be on mound. The union does not meet as a full group very often, so when they do, they have a lot of business to take care of. They hear proposed amendments to their constitution. They hold elections for officers, sometimes contested. They set policy for the union for the coming year. They meet and mingle because most of them haven’t seen each other since the last convention. Most importantly, though, after much anticipation and build-up, on the last night of the convention, the interpreters all come together one last time and OK. I’ve heard that it’s a beautiful moment. It doesn’t always take place on mound — this is the first NITU convention to happen on mound, in fact, which makes the OK that will happen there rather historic. It probably won’t be covered by the lamestream media, so make sure you keep an eye on the labor press as they report and contextualize this historic OK on mound by interpreters.

It is occurring to me that I may have misinterpreted this report.

Jason Wojciechowski blogs about the A’s at Beaneball and contributes to Baseball Prospectus and The Platoon Advantage.


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