I should probably leave this to the fine folks over at Awful Announcing, but I heard a new one during the ESPN coverage of the Pistons and Wolves the other day. As some of you know, I have a pet peeve about the use of the adverb 'literally'. Literally should be used to describe something that, you know, literally happened. But all the time, and especially in sports, you hear it misused. My personal favorite was the football game where the color guy described a tough tackle near the head thusly: "He literally decapitated him!" Icky!
Well, Mark Jones of ESPN, to his credit, came up with an interesting variation on this 'hyperbolic misuse of language' theme on Friday. Speaking of Craig Smith, the Wolves promising rookie, Jones said: "Craig Smith was a steal in the second round, and I mean steal in every sense of the word."
Well, I looked up steal in the dictionary, and I found 16 definitions. I tried to apply those to this situation, and only one of them worked, an informal usage "something acquired at a cost far below its real value; bargain."
So, I guess what he should have said is "and I mean that in one of the 16 senses of the word."
Of course, it's possible that he meant Craig Smith was a 'steel.'. His statement would have been almost as accurate, if not more so. As we can describe Craig Smith's physique as "like steel in color, hardness or strength", one of the 12 senses of 'steel' applies, a better percentage.