I wish I had taken a screen cap of it last night, but believe me, the first version of the AP game story from the Red Sox-Royals game called Billy Butler “the Royals’ portly designated hitter.” Sometime overnight it was amended:
The lumbering designated hitter’s three-run shot in the eighth inning Tuesday night boosted the Kansas City Royals a 6-4 victory over the Red Sox …
Not sure how I feel about that. “Portly” isn’t the kindest thing to call a guy, but there is a weird dignity to it. Winston Churchill was portly, after all. He owned that look. The young Orson Welles had a bit of portly heft to him but looked like a million bucks. A portly man, properly attired, can be quite a nice package of goods assuming he is likewise charming, confident, funny and kind of spirit.
But “lumbering?” Ah. Denotes more than a physical shortcoming, suggesting a laziness in one’s character. A lumbering man all but requires a tuba soundtrack as he attempts to run. A portly man can still be sneaky-fast.
I think I’d rather be called portly, if I had to choose, not lumbering. I’m not sure I’m in the majority here. I think more people would pick “lumbering” due to the suggestion of movement. But I gotta go with my, well, gut here.