Of baseball and hobbits

My friend Tom (aka., “The Blogfodder”) sent me a wonderful post from Deadspin last night:

The New York Times Pushes Up Its Glasses, Issues Nerdiest Correction Ever

“An item in the Extra Bases baseball notebook last Sunday misidentified, in some editions, the origin of the name Orcrist the Goblin Cleaver, which Mets pitcher R. A. Dickey gave one of his bats. Orcrist was not, as Dickey had said, the name of the sword used by Bilbo Baggins in the Misty Mountains in “The Hobbit;” Orcrist was the sword used by the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield in the book. (Bilbo Baggins’ sword was called Sting.)”
I love everyone involved in this correction—Dickey for the Tolkien homage, the Times for reporting it, the nerd readers for objecting, and the Times again for correcting the mistake so punctiliously. (Though if you want to be technical about it, Orcrist, in the Elvish language of Sindarin, means “goblin cleaver,” and thus the Times‘ “Orcrist the Goblin Cleaver” is a redundancy.)”

Even more priceless was the comment thread associated with the original NYT post. I’m not sure how Beowulf got dragged into the fray, but I loved the observation that you’d never find mentions of Middle Earth—or Middle English—on a Yankees fan site. Touché!

Although this unlikely collision of “baseball stat-heads and Tolkien nerds” struck me as odd at first, it actually makes perfect sense: Baseball and Tolkien both attract a loyal (dare I say rabid?) following. They’re both steeped in minutia (stats and sword lineages, respectively). And they each come with their own rich mythology and lore.

Thanks, Tom, for enriching yet another day!


  1. FantAStic. I love this! (Being a Tolkien freak an’ all.) I love the nerdery involved, there’s something so sweet and daft and funny about it. Thanks H and Tom for brightening my day!

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