The Rawlings baseball factory was a bust, but I did pick up some valuable information during my week in Costa Rica. Thanks to some fellow tourists staying at our resort, I learned how to ask for a ball in Swedish and Finnish.
With CAPS indicating where to put the emphasis, the Swedish request sounds like this:
“CAS-ta heet BAUL-en ar doo SNELL.”
And in Finnish:
“HAY-ta PAHL-oh-tahn-eh KEE-tose.”
Are there any Swedish or Finnish ballplayers? No, not yet. But just you wait. In fact, no, don’t wait. Learn these phrases now so you’ll be prepared. I’d learned the request in Korean long before there were Korean major leaguers…and let’s just say it’s been rewarding.
In addition to Swedish, Finnish, and Korean, I can ask for a ball in Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Urdu, Russian, Bulgarian, Turkish, Gaelic, Serbo-Croatian, Albanian, Hebrew, Yiddish, Swahili, Italian, Vietnamese, Thai, Tagalog, Greek, and American Sign Language.
If you’re fluent (and I mean fluent) in any language I haven’t just mentioned or used, we need to talk.