Baseball is back, but unfortunately so are the play-by-play announcers who speak English as if it were their second language.

We have in the past examined the pronunciations of such frequently used words as catch , which usually comes out as ketch . We have discussed announcers who cannot bring themselves to say aside from or other than . Instead, they say "Outside of Frank Howard, nobody ever hit the ball into those center field seats," thus leaving their listeners to wonder how many powerful batsmen lurk inside Howard.

We have also taken notice of the almost invariable misplacement of only by the sporting set, e.g.: "Flagelheimer only had one hit today," when what is meant is that Flagelheimer has only one hit today.

Today's addition to this list is the complaint that some announcers still do not know the difference between a "third called strike" and a "called third strike."

Inasmuch as few broadcasters enroll in adult education classes designed to teach them what they failed to learn the first time around, perhaps the difference between "third called strike" and "called third strike" should be set forth here for the record: A third called strike is a called strike that follows two other called strikes. A called third strike, on the other hand, is a strike that is called against a batter who has already incurred a two-strike count by any means: fouls, missed swings or called strikes.

Proper usage may not be important to some Americans, but broadcasters do not fit comfortably into that category. Their function is supposed to be to convey precise thoughts from their own minds to the minds of others.