Amphibious, Ambidextrous: What’s the Difference?

It's easy to laugh at a silly mistake in the newspaper. Ha! Look, Ethel, the newspaper called a baseball pitcher amphibious when they meant ambidextrous!

Over the weekend, the East Oregonian in Pendleton, Oregon — winner of the Oregon Newspaper Association's 2013 General Excellence Award — ran a story about an ambidextrous baseball pitcher under the headline "Amphibious pitcher makes debut." Predictably, Facebook was all atwitter — as was Twitter itself — about the mistake.

So, an amphibious baseball player. Does that mean he prefers to throw while swimming? Might be useful on those rainy days that usually result in a game delay. Assuming he has webbed fingers, how does that affect his ability to throw a curveball? Does he prefer a frogskin glove? This is, so we must ponder how the water would affect his fastball.

The newspaper enjoyed poking fun at itself. In an editorial — Big frogging mistake — posted Monday afternoon, the newspaper noted how editors often wake up with the sweats as they suddenly realize a potential mistake. One good thing surely came of the mistake: The newspaper's website likely set an all-time record for hits because of its woeful weekend wet Willie. Maybe they did it on purpose. Nah, probably not.

Consider this tweet from self-professed recovering sportswriter Neill Woelk:

@NeillWoelk Favorite headline of week. He pitches righty, lefty — and evidently, also underwater. Faces Aquaman in next outing.

But here's the thing: No one claimed he was a submarine pitcher (actually, those guys actually exist, but that's another story). Let me spell it out for those sitting in the back of the class — amphibious doesn't mean underwater. A Gibbs Quadski is amphibious — had to work in the amphibious vehicle angle somewhere — but it is not a submersible.

Having spent 19 years toiling at various newspapers, a thought comes to mind: something about glass houses and stones.

Leave a Reply

Connect with Us

Facebook Twitter