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Target area size?

Posted by R. Berg on September 05, 2002

In Reply to: Target area size? posted by TheFallen on September 05, 2002

: : : : : Hi All,
: : : : : New to the discussion group, and need help. Why, in baseball particularly, does an errant pitch strike a player "on the leg," "on the arm," but if above the shoulders it is "in the head?"

: : : : : Thanks,

: : : : : Eric

: : : : Isn't it simply a question of available target area, rather than body geography?? The head is fairly large compared to the arm and certainly the lower leg, and "in" probably therefore means "within the boundaries of". I bet if some pitcher hurled a ball at a batter and hit his midriff, he'd be said to have been "struck IN the stomach". Similarly one is punched on the shoulder, but punched in the chest, back or face. Any other opinions?

: : : If target area is the criterion, we should hear "punched on the eye."

: : I've got one lonely sports reference book and it wasn't in there.

: Good point re eye.... so what *is* the criterion?

I have no idea. Seems to me both "hit in the head" and "hit on the head" are standard in general contexts--that is, outside baseball. Baseball may have its own conventions about this.

"He was hit in the stomach" sounds right if he doubled over when hit, and "he was hit on the stomach" sounds right if he maintained an upright posture and firm muscles. So maybe concavity is the secret. But heads are convex . . .

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