take me to a ball game - baseball or football?

DaveyD

Banned
Polish
Hi,
If, for example, a kid asks his dad to take him to a ball game (it's AmE), do we need to know more context in order to determine what the kid means? Or does "a ball game" always mean "a baseball game"?

A sample situation.

Dad just came home from work:

Son: Daddy, will you take me to the ball game?
Dad: Yes, we'll go after dinner.
 
  • lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Hi there! In theory, in AE "a ball game" could refer to baseball, basketball, or football.

    In practice, since all of these games are played at different times of the year, it would be pretty easy to figure out what was meant if someone referred to "a ball game," or even just "a game" - if you asked me now "Hey, did you catch the game last night?" I would know that you meant "the basketball game." (It's also true that where you are plays a role. "The game" will most readily refer to "the game including a local team.")

    Finally, thanks to a famous American song - "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" - "the ball game" will most readily apply to baseball,​ more than to any other sport played with a ball.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    We do not talk about going to 'a ball game' here. A son would say 'Daddy, will you take me to the football?'
    Similarly, 'We're going to the rugby at Twickenham'.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    The seasons in the USA overlap so much nowadays, in particular the professional ones, that I don't think it would be that easy to "figure out", lucas.

    But, anyway, I would automatically assume it's baseball, when I hear the phrase.

    take me to the ball game = baseball
    take me to the football game = football
    take me to the basketball game = basketball

    take me to the "game" = vague
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    The seasons in the USA overlap so much nowadays, in particular the professional ones, that I don't think it would be that easy to "figure out", lucas.
    They probably do, at least for those people who follow them closely enough to refer to anything as "the game"!

    I think, however, that it's still most likely true that on any given day there is only one game, and only sometimes two games, major enough to be "the game."
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    We do not talk about going to 'a ball game' here. A son would say 'Daddy, will you take me to the football?'
    Similarly, 'We're going to the rugby at Twickenham'.
    I don't know if you noticed, but the OP did specify that the question refers to AmE.
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    The seasons in the USA overlap so much nowadays, in particular the professional ones, that I don't think it would be that easy to "figure out", lucas.

    But, anyway, I would automatically assume it's baseball, when I hear the phrase.

    take me to the ball game = baseball
    take me to the football game = football
    take me to the basketball game = basketball

    take me to the "game" = vague
    I agree that "ball game" ordinarily refers to a baseball game, but here in Indiana, where most of the population is just crazy about basketball, I do sometimes hear "ball game" used in reference to a basketball game, e.g., "I watched part of the ball game last night - man, Purdue really stunk."

    I don't think this is necessarily typical. It's an indication of how deeply basketball is embedded into the Indiana consciousness.

    I don't think I've ever heard a football game referred to as a "ball game," but I wouldn't be surprised if if this was the case in areas where football is as important to the residents of that area as basketball is to Hoosiers.
     
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