Overheard in conversation between a car mechanic and a customer:
Customer: So, how much will it cost to repair the brakes?
Mechanic: I can’t tell you exactly until after a thorough inspection.
But I could say a ballpark figure (Pi mal Daumen), maybe $750?
Likewise, the car mechanic could have also said:
But I’d say somewhere in the ballpark of (grob geschätzt) $750.
This is a baseball stadium, also known as a ballpark– specifically, this is Citizens‘ Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Speakers of American English love to use the „ballpark“ as a metaphor when talking about estimated, inaccurate amounts. This started roughly in the 1960s when the ballpark was first used by scientists as a metaphor for an acceptable range of data results.
I’ll be continuing to explore the use of the baseball park, playing field, and the diamond (Raute) itself in the next few blog entries as I’ve just recently realized how many different metaphors American English speakers talk from place where this game is played.