I have a theory that says sports announcers and players are doing most to mongrelize American English. Consider this from one of my favorite players and see (if you can, by now) what else is wrong with this paragraph:
“He’s got almost 600 home runs so he’s done it a million times. He’s been up there so many times that I don’t think it phases him. The guy made a mistake and [White Sox designated hitter] Jim [Thome] hit it. The one thing about Jim if he gets the barrel on the ball it can go out to any part of the park. That’s why he’s got 550 homers,” said [White Sox catcher A.J.] Pierzynski.
It was Thome’s 550th. The guy is good, and “almost 600”? So what? And “a million times”? So what? A.J. is pumped.
But “I don’t think it phases him”? Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s your Associated Press.
Later, from Reader Phil:
It didn’t faze me in the least. I probably would have put a comma after Jim in the penultimate sentence. I don’t know, you know, that I, you know, agree about, you know, sports, you know, English. I am much more annoyed by cutesy words and phrases that spread like a flu virus…some go away and some stay…”at the end of the day”…”hopefully”…”sort of” (as in I was sort of talking to this sort of guy about this sort of problem that he’s trying to sort of solve….sort of a replacement for “uh”)…and the latest…”iconic” or “icon.” Ah, who knows what will become of the language going forward.