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Call balls and strikes

[ 2010-12-10 17:19]     字号 [] [] []  
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Call balls and strikes

Reader's question:  

Politicians can argue whether the best quality for a judge is empathy or an ability to call balls and strikes, but here's a different perspective.

Could you explain "call balls and strikes"?

My comments:

Balls and strikes are expressions borrowed from the game of baseball, which is arguably the No.1 sport in America.

Baseball basically involves a player throwing a rubber ball at another player, holding a club in hand ready to hit the ball being thrown at him.

Now, a judge, called an empire, stands (or squats, to be precise) behind the hitter to observe whether the thrower (pitcher) has thrown a legal shot, which must come within a space that is, say, higher than the knee and lower than the shoulder of the club holder. I'm not going into specifics but you get the picture. When the pitcher throws a legal shot and the hitter misses the hit (fails to hit the ball legally), it's a strike! That's good. Point to the pitcher.

If the pitcher fails to make a legal throw, on the other hand, it's called a ball. That's bad. Point to the hitter.

Three strikes and the pitcher wins – the hitter is out. Four balls and the pitcher lose, allowing the hitter to move on to the next base….

Hence the ability to "call balls and strikes" refers to the ability of a competent judge in the court of law to tell right from wrong.

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Go to Zhang Xin's column


About the author:

Zhang Xin 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.