Both my readers know the great lengths I’m willing to go to get “Dead Balls Era” into the national conversation about that particular period of baseball history when every ballplayer would gladly have given his left nut to hit like Barry Bonds.

I made up the phrase years ago, and was so proud of my wordplay that I typed it into the print and digital versions of Washington City Paper time and time again.

I thought my all competition for naming rights to the same period of our national pastime was lame. Among the more popular other entrants: “The Steroids Era” and “The Steroid Era;” “’Roid Age” and “’Roids Age;” “The Dirty Era; “The Chemical Era*” (asterisk theirs); and, speaking of chemicals and asterisks, a Canadian outlet, the National Post, used both  “The Asterix Era” and “The Asterisk Era.”


But, nobody else ever gave my phrase two thumbs way up. Every time I checked to see how “Dead Balls Era”‘s was fairing in the marketplace of ideas, I found my brainchild enjoying less penetration than a BYU co-ed.

I first used “Dead Balls Era” in a column in early 2005; by late 2008, after I’d put it in print several more times, “Dead Balls Era” was still getting just nine Google hits.

Nine! (Or, to quote my vintage self again, “so few that the AP Stylebook won’t even let me use a numeral.”) (For comparison, at the same time, the adage “folksonomy,” concocted in July 2005 by a DC guy I used to know, was getting 2,060,000 Google hits, or 2059,991 more than “Dead Balls Era.”)

I just checked again, and nothing’s changed. “Dead Balls Era,” though old enough to be in first grade, shows up on just 16 different pages as of today.

I’ve never believed my fight for “Dead Balls Era” was anything but a righteous one. And this week’s coverage of the Barry Bonds trial has got me more fired up than I’ve been in years.

Check out this headline from today’s New York Daily News: “Barry Bonds trial: Expert details shrinking testicles, growing extremities as PED side-effects.”

My assessment, without even reading the article: “Expert Makes Great Case for ‘Dead Balls Era’!”

What’s wrong with “Dead Balls Era”? What’s wrong with me?