Welcome to Baseball in French, Lesson 9. Previous lessons can be found here.
Today's term is le ballon
In English, that translates to "the balloon". What's the baseball translation?
Here are three Expos who certainly hit their share of ballons—many of which went far enough to float right over the outfield fence.
Of all the French baseball terminology we've covered in this series so far, I think ballon could be the most questionable. I mean, I suppose a high, soft fly ball that an outfielder can settle under might resemble a balloon floating up into the sky. And if we've learned anything from other romantic French baseball terms like "butterfly ball" for knuckleball or "the arrow" for line drive, then sure, a balloon would be similarly romantic. So it works
And I also suppose that it would be a derogatory way for the hitter to refer to it.
Argh! Stupid balloon. Didn't even hit it far enough into the outfield to let the runners tag up.
Anyhow, let's look at some stats for those three big balloon hitters above.
Vladimir Guerrero began his career with the Expos in 1996. In his 8 seasons there, he put up 1215 hits, 226 doubles, 34 triples, 234 home runs, 702 RBI, and 641 runs scored, with a robust .323/.390/.588 slash line. You can add 123 stolen bases on top of that. He was an All-Star and Silver Slugger while with Montreal.
Andres Galarraga began his career with the Expos in 1985. In his 7 seasons there, he put up 906 hits, 180 doubles, 14 triples, 115 home runs, 473 RBI, and 424 runs scored, with a .269/.328/.432 slash line. He was an All-Star, Gold Glover, and Silver Slugger while with Montreal. In 1988 he led the N.L. in hits (184) and doubles (42).
Larry Walker began his career with the Expos in 1989. In his 6 seasons there, he put up 666 hits, 147 doubles, 16 triples, 99 home runs, 384 RBI, and 368 runs scored, with a .281/.357/.483 slash line. Like Andres Galarraga, Walker was an All-Star, Gold Glover, and Silver Slugger while with Montreal. In 1994, his final year with the Expos, he led the N.L. in doubles with 44.
Still, I'm going to stick with "fly ball"—or one of the many other colorful terms we've got here in the States. Can of corn, Texas-leaguer, bloop, looper, loud out, moonshot.
So what do you readers say? Balloon, or no balloon?