The Nation: Blockade that Metaphor

Remember "Don't give up the ship"? Or, "You may fire when ready, Gridley"? What about "Damn the torpedoes—full speed ahead"? Now Commander James Cannon, skipper of the U.S. destroyer Mullinnix, has added his own ringing battle cry to the Navy's lexicon of heroic challenges. As Mullinnix arrived for a third tour off Viet Nam, Commander Cannon announced: "We are ready to step in the batter's box and belt a few pitches with hard stuff now that the contract is signed for our third season with the big leagues." Anyone looking for the roots of the current military infatuation with athletic metaphor...

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