Bunting and Bunting
Brad K wants to know what connection there may be between bunting.
that half-coil of red, white, and blue handrail decoration
the baseball tactic we call a “bunt.”
The short answer is “none.”
Bunting as a term for the red, white, and blue decorative material comes from flag use. In the 18th century bunting referred to a kind of cloth that was used to make flags. By extension, it came to mean a flag or flags in general.
In the United States, France, and any other country whose flags contain those colors, bunting is red, white, and blue. The Italian equivalent of bunting would be green, white, and red.
Before it became a baseball term, bunt was a verb meaning “to strike with the head or horns” (1825). The term entered the baseball lexicon in 1889, both as a noun and as a verb.
For those readers unacquainted with baseball, when a hitter bunts, he holds up the bat to intercept the ball, but does not swing at it. A bunted ball does not go far and often catches the opposing players off guard. If a pitcher thinks that the batter intends to bunt, he will alter his manner of pitching.
He did not want to bunt, but he wanted the Indians’ pitcher, Charles Nagy, and catcher, Sandy Alomar, to think he might be bunting and to pitch to him with that in mind.
NOTE: Bunting is also the name of a type of bird.
Bunting in the lullaby “Bye Baby Bunting” means “chubby one.” According to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, “Baby bunting” was “a nursery nurse’s term of affection for a young baby.”
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