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Part of me still believes that my best days are ahead of me. I see it happen all the time to people. I have a lovely wife, I have lovely children. They get you through a lot of it. But it really, it is devastating to have gone up to bat and hit a grand slam, and hit doubles and triples from that point on. None of it’s good enough. So, I can’t remember who said it, but I just recently heard somebody say, “I started at the top and worked my way down.” Sad but true. ?

I can't figure out the meaning of "have gone up to bat and hit a grand slam, and hit doubles and triples from that point on."

closed as unclear what you're asking by J.R. Nov 5 '13 at 10:16

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  • I have put this question on hold because of the comment thread below Kaz's answer. If the O.P. doesn't understand terms like plate and gone up to bat, then that needs to be asked in the question. A request for "parsing" does not equate a request to understand meaning. If the O.P. can modify this question to identify all sources of confusion in the passage, this question can be reopened. – J.R. Nov 5 '13 at 10:18
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"to have gone up to bat and hit a grand slam, and hit doubles and triples from that point on" is a nominalized infinitival clause: a sentence based on the infinite "to have" (which is used as a helping verb that is distributed over several past participles.

That is to say, it means the same thing as

"to have gone up to bat, to have hit a grand slam, and to have hit doubles and triples from that point on".

The repetition of to have can be "factored out", so it appears only once. When we read it, we "undo" the factoring by distributing it over the terms.

(This is analogous to algebra: 2x + 2 factors into 2(x + 1), and in 2(x + 1), the 2 distributes over x + 1 to make 2x + 2.)

Therefore, note that the occurrences of "hit" in the sentence are past participles, not past or present tenses. It just so happens that the past tense, present tense and past participle of "hit" are all the same. Why don't we consider an example which uses verbs that have distinct present, past and participle, such as "eat", "ate", and "eaten"; and "drink", "drank" and "drunk":

It was a privilege to have eaten and { drunk | drink* | drank* } with the company CEO.

The inflection of "drink" must be compatible with "to have", which requires it to be a participle.

To understanding the meaning of the sentence, you have to know something about the sport of baseball and its terminology: what it means to go up to bat, what it means to hit a grand slam, and what are doubles and triples.

Suffice it to say, hitting a grand slam is great. Doubles and triples, not so much.

The speaker here is using baseball as a metaphor for the frustration from having some great success one time (hitting a "grand slam"), but then never being able to repeat it after that (only "doubles" and "triples").

It is devastating to have been briefly successful early in life, and after that only mediocre.

  • what is the meaning of this sentence? – user48070 Nov 4 '13 at 4:12
  • You're not making clear what you're having trouble with. Do you understand the sport of baseball and its terminology? Do you know what it means to go up to bat? Or to hit a grand slam? What are doubles and triples? – Kaz Nov 4 '13 at 4:30
  • @Maybe I need to know more about the baseball. – user48070 Nov 4 '13 at 5:19
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    It's also worth noting that while doubles and triples may not be quite as nice as home runs, they are still much better than singles. And I suspect that there is a hint of irony in this writing, that hits (doubles and triples) that would normally be considered very nice outcomes of an at-bat, are now worthless in the speaker's eyes- because hitting it big so early has caused him to become jaded. – Jim Nov 4 '13 at 5:55
  • @user48070 - Maybe you need to be more clear in future questions about what you don't understand. If you want help understanding the meaning of something, don't simply ask "how do you parse this?" – J.R. Nov 5 '13 at 1:06

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