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Go to bat for you? 全力支持

中国日报网 2021-08-03 11:13


Reader question:

Please explain this sentence: If he believed in you, he would go to bat for you.

Photo by Conor Samuel on Unsplash

My comments:

If you gained his trust, he would fully support you, defend you and offer help whenever he can.

That’s the idea of someone going to bat for you.

To go to bat is not to go into combat, so you know this is nothing compared to going into the theater of war. Instead, “going to bat” originally belongs to the sphere of sports. Bat, you see, refers to the baseball bat, a wooden stick used by the batter to hit a ball with.

To go to bat is to step up to the plate and get ready to bat – to hit the ball thrown by the pitcher in defense of the team’s bases.

To go to bat for someone else?

Yes, that happens sometimes. One player is asked by the coach to bat for another, either because of injury or in a change of tactics.

So, if you go to bat for a teammate, you do the hard work for him in order to help him – and the team.

By extension, go to bat for someone becomes synonymous with lending a helping hand, supporting someone, defending them, fighting on their behalf.

And, without further ado, here are media examples of the American idiom, going to bat for someone:

1. For a man who’s meant to be Donald Trump’s human firewall, an impervious legal shield of a personal attorney whose top priority is making everyone doubt that his client is a Russian plant caught in a rapidly tightening web of lies and accidental revelations, Rudy Giuliani isn’t proving to be exactly watertight.

He’s got a track record of barrelling into media appearances and making things far worse, as he did again this weekend over accusations that Trump tried to massage former lawyer Michael Cohen’s evidence to Congress. “As far as I know, President Trump did not have discussions with him, certainly had no discussions with him in which he told him or counselled him to lie,” Giuliani told CNN’s Jake Tapper yesterday.

But then when he was pressed, Giuliani suggested that actually, coaching a witness and possibly obstructing justice would be a completely normal thing to do: “So what if he talked to him about it?”

Then Giuliani went on NBC and admitted that talks about building a Trump Tower in Moscow didn't end in January 2016 as the Trump team has contended - and which Cohen told Congress - but was “an active proposal” which continued “up to as far as October, November”. That’ll pique the Mueller investigation’s interest.

Giuliani’s got a lot of form for blithering his way into trouble while apparently attempting to defend Trump. These are five of his least welcome interjections.

Collusion is fine and good, actually

Just a few days ago Giuliani popped up on CNN to insist that he “never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or between people in the campaign” between the Trump campaign and Russia, and that he specifically meant the President hadn’t got his hands dirty with any of it. Anyway, Giuliani went on, “if the collusion happened, it happened a long time ago”, suggesting that colluding with Russia had the same statute of limitations as borrowing a fiver off someone.

Pouring oil on Stormy waters

While trying to calm down the firestorm around the $130,000 hush money paid to Stormy Daniels as part of a non-disclosure agreement about the alleged affair, Giuliani told Fox News in May 2018 that despite his protestations, Trump knew about the payments and would have directed Cohen to pay off more women Trump had affairs with if it was “necessary”. Rule one of legal defence: don't contradict your client, and definitely don’t put mental pictures of your client remorselessly banging his way through half of the San Fernando valley into investigators’ heads.


Just take the oil

One of the many monstrous things Trump parped out while on the campaign trail has been completely forgotten now, but it was a handy pointer toward his foreign policy priorities. “It used to be ‘to the victor belong the spoils’," Trump said on NBC in October 2016. “Now, there was no victor there, believe me. There was no victor. But I always said: take the oil.”

These days international law doesn’t really recognise the principle of ‘finders keepers’ as a defence, and experts pointed out that going into Iraq and stealing its oil would violate the Geneva Convention. Giuliani merrily went out to bat for Trump, though.

“Of course it’s legal – it’s war,” he laughed on ABC This Week at the time. “Until the war is over, anything is legal.” At this point it felt like an It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia title card should have come up reading something like ‘The Gang Gets Sent To The Hague’, which is doubly fitting as Giuliani looks and sounds more and more like angry Danny DeVito these days.

- Every Time Rudy Giuliani Has Made Things Much, Much Worse For Donald Trump, Esquire.com, January 21, 2019.

2. Katy Perry is opening up about how much her world has changed since welcoming Daisy Dove a month ago.

The “Smile” singer recently revealed how motherhood has opened her eyes and given her a new sense of appreciation for caregivers everywhere.

“Popular misconception: being a mom isn’t a full time job,” the “American Idol” judge tweeted Thursday, throwing in a crazy face, an upside down smile and a baby bottle emoji to punctuate the point.

With feeding, changing diapers and countless sleepless nights, Perry have a shout-out to the moms who have learned how to juggle a career, their family and a personal life – which is why she went to bat for them in a strongly-worded four-part Twitter thread.

“When a mom finally goes back to work (whatever profession they do) it’s not like they been coming from months of ‘time off...’ she’s coming from a full time job... of being a mom,” the “Smile” singer added, pointing out that childcare is a 24-hour responsibility.

- Katy Perry explains why it’s wrong to assume ‘being a mom isn’t a full time job’, GoodMorningAmerica.com, September 25, 2020.

3. As a young journalist, a friend of mine scored a fellowship at the Hoover Institution, at Stanford University, where he was urged to call on the faculty for visits. He scheduled an appointment with George Shultz—the former Nixon and Reagan Cabinet secretary who died last weekend at the age of 100—a senior fellow there. But as my friend crossed the quad to Shultz’s office, he found he could recall just two facts about the man. One was that Spy magazine had showcased Shultz in its popular “Separated at Birth” feature alongside the Cowardly Lion. The other was that Shultz, as a Princeton alumnus, had the image of a tiger tattooed on his rear end.

These would not be the two facts I would highlight about Shultz, himself a lion of the foreign policy establishment. I would, rather, point out that he was the only person to serve in two of the most scandal-ridden administrations in modern times and emerge not only unscathed but with his reputation enhanced.

Shultz’s historic role in moving the Reagan administration from a hard-line, even militaristic stance toward the Soviet Union to a more conciliatory posture has obscured his role in the Nixon administration. But his story of steadfastness in the face of corruption begins there.
An economist who had logged time in the Eisenhower administration, Shultz originally served Nixon as secretary of Labor. Nixon didn’t know Shultz, then dean of the University of Chicago business school, but had heard he enjoyed respect from management and labor “as one of the nation’s outstanding mediators,” as he recorded in a memo (spelling Shultz’s name wrong, with a c, as many people would continue to do).

Despite his prominence, Shultz doesn’t appear much in most Nixon administration histories. That’s mainly because he stayed out of trouble. Efficient and low-drama, he impressed the president enough to be named director of the Office of Management and Budget when Nixon created the office in 1970. In a White House rife with schemers, Shultz earned a reputation for playing it straight. When he took over OMB, one Nixon aide cheered the move, explaining, “Now there will be someone there besides the purely politically oriented and the paper‐movers. It puts a substance man close to the president.”

At OMB, Shultz butted heads with Nixon’s White House operatives who were looking to politicize the office. On one occasion Nixon decided to curtail funding for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of several universities he saw as a hotbed of antiwar activism. Chief of staff H.R. “Bob” Haldeman sent orders to assistant directors at OMB to do so. Stunned by the interference, they refused and talked of resigning. Shultz went to bat for them, and Haldeman backed off. Another time, White House aides targeted OMB staffers they suspected of leaking information to the syndicated columnist Jack Anderson, whose scoops often embarrassed Nixon. Again, Shultz used his clout to get the dirty tricksters to back off.

How George Shultz Escaped Two Scandal-Plagued Administrations Unscathed, Politico.com, February 9, 2021.



About the author:



Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.



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