- Defense mechanism in which a person adopts a cold, distanced perspective on a matter that actually creates strong unpleasant feelings.
- A mental mechanism in which the person engages in excessive abstract thinking to avoid confrontation with conflicts or disturbing feelings.
Source: Edgerton, Jane E. 1994. American Psychiatric Glossary, 7th Edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press (Link)
3. A means of preventing oneself from going on a rampage through Kenmore Square with an illegally modified Weed Whacker following a terrible, terrible Red Sox game.
So, let's talk language for a moment, shall we?
The language of baseball never ceases to amaze me. I've written about it before. Today the relevant phrases in baseball's lexicon I'd like to pick a part as a means of avoiding running naked and screaming down the street are the following, with reference to the bullpen:
This online baseball dictionary's listing for "gas" is as follows:
a pitch thrown at high speed with very little curve.
SYNONYMS: pumper, hummer, cheese, fastball (fast ball) heat, heater, old number one, dead red (dead-red) the express, blazer, dart, number one, cheddar, hard one, smoke ball (smokeball) steamer, fogger
Related terms include:
All of them, however, seem to mean the same thing, "gas" in the sense used yesterday during the pre-game show by Dennis Eckersley to refer to a fastball, a blazing heater. The Bull Durham sense of "Now bring me the gas..."
But there's an entirely different meaning I've recently become aware of, probably first on Dirt Dogs when it would disparagingly refer to the bullpen as "Gasoline Alley", something that confused me at first, because I thought gas was good. I thought it meant speed on pitches, power pitching. It does. Sometimes.
But other times it has more to do with the phrases "lit up" and "torched", which of course, are not good.
(of a team) to have many hits or runs against a particular pitcher in a game.
SYNONYMS: tee off against, tag, bombard, pelt, rock, rough up, blast, bomb, maul, shell, hammer, pummel, punish, rake, tattoo, wax
Gas, of course, literal gas as in gasoline, is an accelerant. When combined with flame, things get out of control quickly. Same as when say, Alan Embree is combined with a bases-loaded situation. Or when (this is gonna hurt) Keith Foulke is brought in with a one-run lead.
At times, my father refers to Embree and Timlin, (when not referring to Timlin alone as "Whiplash") as "Gas" and "Oline."
It's an interesting linguistic paradox, that gas on the one hand can refer to good heat, fast, powerful pitches, and on the other can denote the most hapless bullpen wreckage. One that's apt, I suppose, if you consider that Keith Foulke both embodies last season's success and this year's collapse, at least to date, among the relief pitching corps.
Part of my initial difficulty getting my mind around this paradox had to do with my mental image of the term "lit up"--I thought of it as like a pinball machine, where the opposing hitters find every spot in the pitcher's arsenal to score points, where one by one his bag of tricks is slammed for a gain. But in this case, I think it's meant more to be "lit up" like a pile of oily rags, something that catches fire, and does so quickly. "Lit up" in the "torched" sense. Now that I've thought about it a little more, it's like someone playing with fire (apt for a save situation if you think about it) who is suddenly consumed.
Which is precisely what happened to Foulkie last night. I didn't see it--after he gave up a double to score the tying run I fled under the covers, but from the other room I heard Stephen gasp, "Jesus Christ!", and I heard the sounds of shock and disgust from Fenway over the TV, and I knew something terrible had transpired.
It's funny, though, how blocking one sense of something (in this case, my vision--I was listening rather than watching) gives you a new perspective on it. The Fenway crowd groaned and cried out in horror, the sound not of disappointment but of incomprehension and anguish. A sound not much different than if they had to watch Keith Foulke stumble around the field in flames.