"in the same ballpark"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by oskhen, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. oskhen

    oskhen Senior Member


    Could anyone please help me with the use of "ballpark"? I've found, if I'm not mistaken, that it may be used as describing proximity or distance. But would it have meaning to say that, for instance, Sweden is not in the same ballpark as China when it comes to respecting human rights? Or (as I've heard it used, only in Norwegian but using the English phrase in question): "Greece is not in the same ballpark as Ghana" - the subject being what vaccinations you need when travelling there.

    Thank you
  2. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    Have you heard the phrase "same neighborhood?" The idea is similar a ballpark has a large area, so if you are looking for something and you're not even in the same large area then you must really be far away.

  3. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    It doesn't have anything to do with distance but "proximity" is a good definition. It's simply referring to a baseball stadium and means that if you're not in the same ballpark, you're obviously not playing the same game.
  4. oskhen

    oskhen Senior Member

    Does any of your answers imply that my suggestions are valid?
  5. peaudepêche New Member

    Belgian French
    I agree with Dimcl and believe that "ballpark" indeed refers to a baseball stadium. And yes, I think that your sentence makes perfect sense...
  6. bloomiegirl

    bloomiegirl Senior Member

    New York
    US English
    Americans love baseball and so ballpark idioms are varied and familiar. But this expression is used figuratively... not about baseball at all.

    If two things are "in the same ballpark," they may be compared, although they are different. If they are "not in the same ballpark," they are so different that no useful comparison is possible. Another way of expressing "not in the same ballpark" would be "(like comparing) apples and oranges."

    One might say, for instance, that running a hot-dog stand is not in the same ballpark as running a international banking conglomerate. So, no, I don't think it has the expression, when used, has anything to do with physical proximity or distance. Rather, it has to do with dissimilarity on a large scale.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2008

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