Star Tribune, sportswriters sure love their "call to arms" cliché

Star Tribune Twins beat reporter La Velle E. Neal III has a piece out this morning headlined, "Twins putting out a call to arms."

Seems our hometown heroes face "the daunting task of rebuilding its starting pitching," through the draft or whatever machinations General Manager Terry Ryan can implement.

The Twins rotation has serious problems, of course -- but something about that headline just doesn't seem right. We decided to run it through a news database and see who else in the sporting world is issuing a "call to arms."

The Philadelphia Inquirer, discussing the Phillies' lineup without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to start the season in an April 5 article, used "A call to arms" to introduce a section.

Crash Davis and "Nuke" LaLoosh aren't the only ones with sports clichés
Crash Davis and "Nuke" LaLoosh aren't the only ones with sports clichés

The Salem News managed to fit two clichés into a headline on the same day: "Around the Horn: A Call to Arms - Coaches weigh in on early season pitching philosophies."

On April 4, the New York Daily News headlined a story: "Don't get thrown for a loss - A call to arms for baseball & softball players: Strained rotator cuff can pull you from lineup."

The NYDN used the same cliché in a March 20 article about Andy Pettitte's return to the Yankees. A caption read: "Andy Pettitte walks back into Yankees' picture, with first bullpen session scheduled for Tuesday. Meanwhile, Joe Girardi makes call to arms to those competing for jobs."

Other offenders include The Baltimore Guide on March 16 ("VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette issued a call to arms and brought in more arms than you can shake a stick at," in a story headlined: "More news than you can shake a bat at"), The Modesto Bee, in a February 12 story headlined "A different kind of truth: Pitchers are our friends" ("let's kick off our 2012 baseball preview series with a first-pitch curveball -- a call to arms , if you will") and the Boston Herald, last May, in a piece headlined: "Suddenly, a - call to arms - Beckett adds to Sox' worries."

Access World News shows 84 hits on "baseball" and "call to arms" for North Carolina's Salisbury Post, followed by the NYDN with 63, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette with 41, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch with 39. The Chicago Sun-Times (30), Dallas Morning News (27) and USA Today (25) are other notable offenders, though plenty of papers -- including the Pioneer Press, with 11 -- come up in the database.

We don't want to Monday-morning quarterback anyone else's editorial decisions or throw anybody under the bus, but it's time the country's copy editors stepped up to the plate. Let's just take it one cliché at a time.

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