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Welcome to the Bull Pen!


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Welcome to the Bull Pen!

This place has been set aside for new writers to practise their craft. The purpose is to provide an area for story samples to be posted for comment. The intention is that others will provide constructive criticism to allow new writers to improve.

That?s the goal. Now for the detail:

* New writers must be registered before you can post.

* Full stories are not intended for posting in this forum area. Samples only, please.

* Any threads without activity will be removed after a period of time (currently 14 days).

* The moderators reserve the right to remove posts that are considered to be inappropriate. Wherever possible, writing samples will not be deleted but will be removed from public viewing while any issues are resolved in private between the moderators and the author. If a satisfactory solution or explanation is found, the post will be restored.

* Inappropriate content is at the discretion of the moderators. As an example you can be confident that subjects such as incest, rape, and other forms of abuse are likely to be removed. I won?t say they will because it is possible that the subjects can be treated with respect, but as a general rule they will be deemed inappropriate. Similarly, we would like samples to be non-pornographic. The purpose of this forum is to help with the ability to write, not the ability to arouse. If you are unsure, please feel free to PM myself or Dude and ask our opinion.

* Anyone responding is urged to be supportive. I know I shouldn?t have to say it, but we are here to help new writers develop, not to spit on them from on-high.

* Please don?t continually provide revisions for comment. The people responding do not generally have the time to provide constant feedback. I am sure they will try to be helpful, but you have to accept that they have their own lives, and (often) their own writing to attend to.

That?s enough for now. We reserve the right to vary the rules over time, but the goal will (hopefully) remain the same. It wasn?t that long ago that I was a new author, putting up my first story. I can still remember the nervousness as I waited for my first bit of feedback. I was lucky in that I had someone who was willing to mentor me, and I would like this forum to provide the same assistance to others.

Now, enjoy yourselves!

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I'll be around to offer feedback too. Some of it may be serious, some may be whatever strikes my fancy. People I've edited for know that can be on topic or at random. :)

When I give feedback, I say what I like and what I dislike, and why. I try to remember the writer's a person too, and separate from what he or she has written.


Writers, especially new writers, please remember you will get feedback of all kinds. So hip waders and protective undies might be handy. :) -- Some people will love it, some will have tough comments or questions. The point is to improve your writing and how you go about it.

Commenters, please remember how much effort goes into writing and what a big step it is to put something up for critiquing, for the first time. So give them the same chance you'd want, when or if you write.


Welcome! Now get those keyboards and pens busy!

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one question...is bullpen an animal reference, a 'shooting the bull' reference or a baseball reference?

One of the mysteries of the game of baseball is the origin of the term bullpen, the name for the area in which relief pitchers warm up. Several competing theories vie for the origin. About all we know for sure is the earliest recorded use of the term to refer to the pitchers' warm-up area was not until 1915, in Baseball Magazine, in Edward Nichols's "Baseball Terminology."

Another 1915 use is from Lester Chadwick's Baseball Joe in the Big League:

He took the ball, and nodding to Rad, who was not playing, went out to the bullpen.

The theory that is best supported by the linguistic evidence is that the baseball use of bullpen is simply a specialized use of the term which already carried the meaning of a waiting area. Bullpen has a long use meaning an enclosed holding area, dating back a more than a century before the baseball sense arose. In 1809 making a reference to 1780, Parson Mason Weems, in his Life of General Francis Marion wrote:

The tories were all handcuffed two and two, and confined together under a sentinel, in what was called a bull-pen made of pine trees, cut down so . . . as to form . . . a pen or enclosure.

Bullpen was used throughout the 19th century to mean a jail cell or prison. By the beginning of the 20th century, the term was being used to refer to any enclosed waiting area. From O. Henry's 1903 Works:

Unlock him . . . and let him come to the bull-pen . . . the warden's outer office.

The association of relief pitchers with both big, strong animals and convicts undoubtedly had appeal for some as well. So the term would work on several levels.

But there is also evidence of the waiting area sense being used in baseball in the 19th century as well, only not for the relievers' warm-up area. In some 19th century ballparks, spectators would be admitted to a fenced-off area in foul territory (where many modern bullpens are today) where they could stand and watch the game. This area was known as a bullpen. From the 7 May 1877 Cincinnati Enquirer:

The bull pen at the Cincinnati grounds with its "three-for-a-quarter" crowd has lost its usefullness.

Another popular theory is that around the turn of the century relievers would warm up near the outfield fence, where signs for Bull Durham Tobacco. The picture of the bull, associated with the pitchers, who were usually the largest and strongest members of the team, was enough to create the imagery for the term. Beginning in 1909, Bull Durham ran a promotion offering $50 to any player who hit one of the signs with a fairly batted ball during a game. That year there were 50 parks with such signs. The next year there were 150 such parks.

The 1988 movie Bull Durham depicts such a sign in a modern minor league park and a prize of a steak dinner for a player who hits it with a ball:

Catcher "Crash" Davis: Look at that, he hit the fucking bull! Guy gets a free steak! You having fun yet?

Pitcher "Nuke" LaLoosh: Oh, yeah. Havin' a blast.

Davis: Good.

LaLoosh: God, that sucker teed off on that like he knew I was gonna throw a fastball!

Davis: He did know.

LaLoosh: How?

Davis: I told him.

Given the earlier uses of bullpen to mean a waiting area, especially the 1877 Cincinnati citation, it seems unlikely that the Bull Durham signs were the origin of the term, although it is easy to see how people could associate the name of the area with the sign and the signs may have played a role in popularizing the term.

Finally, no less than Casey Stengel weighed in on the subject. Stengel's explanation is probably more indicative of his opinion of relief pitchers than of the term's origin.

So we'll just leave off with Stengel's own words from 1967:

You could look it up and get eighty different answers, but we used to have pitchers who could pitch fifty or sixty games a year and the extra pitchers would just sit around shooting the bull, and no manager wanted all that gabbing on the bench. So he put them in this kind of pen in the outfield to warm up, it looked like a place to keep cows or bulls.

(Source: New Dickson Baseball Dictionary, Historical Dictionary of American Slang)

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Tragic Rabbit, Wow! what an explanation. Thank You.

And here I was thinking that The Bull Pen was a writing implement used by literate cattle.

Oh well, I'm wrong again :oops:


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Heh, now I was going to be fuzzy, and say it was meant as an allusion to bulls in a pen and shooting the bull. I was going to say it might even be baseball too. -- But I really like the "writing tool used by literate cattle." -- Heheheh, good one, Des. -- Remarkable explanation, TR.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
Or it could be a reference to a writing utensil that is used exclusively for exaggeration and propaganda...

"I'm writing ad copy today...anybody know where I put my bullpen?"



I don't think you misplaced your bullpen, aj, I think my boss is using it. :icon1:

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