Author Interview with Philip S. Riccobono

1. How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
Baseball English is my favorite book. I have written academic works but I had a great time writing this book as it allowed me to have control, autonomy, and use my creativity to help those interested in learning Baseball English.

2. What part of the book did you have the hardest time writing?
There’s quite a bit of baseball language used out there, and the most challenging part was prioritizing the most statistically significant words and phrases to introduce in the book.

3. What part of the book was the most fun to write?
I enjoyed screening videos of players, coaches, and umpires mic’d up and using that media to write listening, speaking and vocabulary exercises. I also loved interviewing people in baseball like Jessica Neitz of Cambodia Baseball, and former Dodgers general manager, Fred Claire, and creating reading and speaking activities based on those interviews.

4. Why did you write the book?
The book is an extension of my doctoral thesis on technical baseball vocabulary, so I wanted to write a more practical and less academic book that will help those interested in learning technical, esoteric baseball language.

Baseball English

5. If you’re planning book 2, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?
Sure, as a publisher and author at Sports English Press, I will tell you that a few books will come out soon. First, we have a book about Rugby English similar to our Baseball English book. Rugby is one of the fastest-growing sports for women and men, yet like baseball, there’s the technical language that learners need to gain knowledge of.

6. What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft?
The overall vision remained the same, but the graphic artist I worked with, Brandon, took it to the next level aesthetically.

7. What perspectives or beliefs have you challenged with this work?
I think I have raised consciousness that baseball has a lot of unknown language to many and for people to work more cohesively in the sport, communication needs to be paramount. This book will help facilitate improved communication in baseball.

8. Who was the inspiration to write the book?
After I defended my Ph.D. and they called me Dr. Riccobono, one of my professors, Dr. Sangmin Michelle Lee looked at me and said, “You need to write a textbook about Baseball English!”

9. How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
The ideal reader for this book is one who wants to learn English for Baseball. It can be someone whose first language is not English as there are also general English tips and activities. However, those whose first language is English may not have knowledge of technical baseball vocabulary offered in this book and want to learn about language spoken behind the scenes, on the field, in the dugout, and inside the clubhouse. It’s a unique view inside baseball talk.

sportsEnglish Vocabulary series: HOME RUN

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