yu darvish’s comeback in english

major league baseball 2019 is ON. here’s an elt perspective on the new season, courtesy of pitcher yu darvish who signed a big contract with the chicago cubs in 2018, and then had a disappointing season.

yu darvish of the chicago cubs

yu darvish

jesse rogers on espn.com reports that

darvish pitched in only eight games last season and struggled to get out of several mid-inning jams.

struggle means darvish had problems. baseball games consist of 9 innings. a jam is a difficult moment when the pitcher is in danger of allowing runs to score. a different application of the same definition can be found in the song born in the u.s.a by bruce springsteen; not a patriotic song, by the way. the lyrics are critical of the treatment that the generation of americans who fought in the vietnam war received. listen at 1:00 for

got in a little hometown jam

the idea is that many young men joined the military and ended up in vietnam because they got in trouble with the law

the article elaborates a little on how darvish is perceived.

when times get tough, darvish didn’t always step up to the challenge. fair or not, it became part of his narrative.

get tough is a good example of how get is used to indicate a change or transformation. tough means hard, difficult. step up means meet the challenge. fair refers to justice. narrative is story.

yu darvish and joe maddon

manager joe maddon is one of many cubs employees who is eager to see darvish have success this season.(john minchillo/ap)

rogers explains that

darvish is well aware of what is said about him publicly. he’s not someone who hides from social media or bad press. perhaps that will fuel him in 2019. perhaps it will hold him back, but either way, anyone associated with him, especially his employers, is eager to see darvish 2.0.

aware means darvish knows. what is said is passive voice. it refers to people in general, with no specific reference to who said it. fuel means give him power. hold back means limit, hinder. either way refers to the two possibilities presented: darvish being fueled or held back by negative opinions about him in the media. eager is excited.

cubs manager joe maddon watches yu darvish pitch
maddon and cubs fans hope darvish stays healthy this season.

one cub employee eager to see what happens with yu darvish’s pitching (and english) this season is cubs’ manager joe maddon. he said

whenever u feel a burden has been lifted, that does permit u to be more free in your actions on the baseball field. that makes sense. i’ve had many conversations with yu — in english. he’s in the right place. as long as he’s healthy.

has been lifted is present perfect (has been) and passive voice (been lifted). because it is passive voice, who lifted the burden is not mentioned; the definition of has been lifted is that it is not an issue anymore. make sense means it’s understandable, reasonable. as long as means provided that. healthy means not injured, able to pitch. a burden is a major issue, a heavy load. it is used famously in the title of this song by the rolling stones. a beast of burden is an animal capable of carrying a heavy load; like a mule or an ass. do u have any additional questions about these lyrics?

darvish’s agent joel wolfe had a lot to say in rogers’ article…

things last year could not have gone worse, and it was incredibly difficult for him [darvish] to not really contribute… he’s been talking about it since the end of last season. ‘next year is going to be different. next year is going to be different. first, i have to get healthy. once i’m healthy, then i can do all these things.’ now that he’s healthy, his whole outlook has changed…he wants other players or staff members to approach him. he wants to be like the other guys and fit in. he doesn’t want to be on his own island. he saw it with other players on other teams — needing an interpreter everywhere. it’s awkward. he doesn’t want that.

could not have gone worse is a hypothetical situation in the past: third conditional. the reality is that last season was a worst-case scenario for yu. get healthy means go from injured to healthy. once in this context means when. whole means total, complete. outlook means attitude. approach as a verb means initiate dialogue or come close to. fit in means be part of the team. on his own island means isolated, by himself. awkward is weird, uncomfortable.

meme of a seal's face:that awkward moment when you've already said

anybody who ever learned a second language understands this awkward moment

what does yu darvish have to say about the whole ordeal? during spring training he told espn.com

i want to speak better english. i understand what u guys are asking, but when i get nervous — like now — my english gets stuck a little.

get nervous and get stuck, (like get healthy and get tough) refer to a change or a transformation. stuck is unable to speak well, confused.

fun english practice richyrocks english on youtube

no negative reports so far this season on darvish’s english, which unfortunately has not been the case for his pitching. after 2 starts he is 0-1 with an 8.10 era. good luck yu darvish. go cubs!

yu darvish pitching

yu darvish pitching during his last start (reuters)

are u excited about the 2019 mlb season? post your feelings under leave a reply


 

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