pick up
Posted: 11 June 2018 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]
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“I just missed the base,” Reyes said. “In that situation, I have to touch the base and make the double play. But Gsellman picked me up. That’s what teammates do. We pick each other up.”

source: https://www.mlb.com/news/seth-lugo-todd-frazier-help-mets-end-slide/c-280712276

The meaning is fairly obvious in this context: one team member performs badly, and team mates atone for the error by playing especially well.  This seems to have been overlooked by most (all?) dictionaries.  Dictionary.com, using the Random House Unabridged, lists some 18 definitions for the phrasal verb pick up , but none of those applies directly to this usage.

I’ve noticed it in sports reporting for a few years.  Is it used elsewhere?  Does anyone have a dictionary definition that matches?

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Posted: 11 June 2018 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I don’t listen much to baseball anymore, but I don’t remember ever hearing the term in all the years I was into the game. The term “pick-me-up” which is an energizer of some sort has been around a long time, but doesn’t sound related.

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Posted: 12 June 2018 04:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I’ve never heard it either. When a person is picked up, it usually means either 1) the person is literally helped to their feet after having fallen, 2) someone collects them in a vehicle, 3) they have a one-night stand, or 4) they have their emotional spirits raised.

If someone else performs a task that a person failed to do or did inadequately, it would normally be phrased as he picked up for me.

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Posted: 12 June 2018 06:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’ve heard the usage, and I expect it will be added to the dictionaries before long.  You might send Merriam-Webster the citation for their files.

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Posted: 12 June 2018 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’d say this usage has been around for a dozen years or more, and I think I’ve only heard it in a baseball context although I do watch some NFL and NBA games.  Here is a cite from 2010 I found by googling “pick up your teammate”:

30 Life Lessons My Boys Learned from Baseball

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Posted: 12 June 2018 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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languagehat - 12 June 2018 06:25 AM

I’ve heard the usage, and I expect it will be added to the dictionaries before long.  You might send Merriam-Webster the citation for their files.

Good idea.  Just finished reading Kory Stamper’s memoir, Word by Word, The Secret Life of Dictionaries and from that it seems they do pay attention to such things.

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Posted: 13 June 2018 04:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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"If it was just about one person, then the team will not be doing good,” Gregorius said. “But everybody picks each other up. That’s one thing that we always have here. One guy is struggling today, but somebody is going to pick him up anyway. That’s the thing about a team. It goes around. Everybody is helping each other out to get a ‘W.’”

source: https://www.mlb.com/news/didi-gregorius-hits-two-homers-in-yanks-win/c-280953002

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