(Play Hardball is an annoying business term and is just one of the 212 Most Annoying Business Phrases Managers Effuse, Confuse, and Overuse detailed in the hilarious must-have guide for every workplace: The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room. Available right now on Amazon.)
When an annoying manager has tried (in their mind) everything they can to get someone to agree, conform, perform, or obey, they tell you it’s time to play hardball.
Ooh, scary. Please, don’t play hardball with him, someone might get hurt!
While there are certainly times when we need to get tougher with a competitor, customer, or coworker, the idea that your boss is going to play hardball with someone should be smile-inducing for you.
It’s always been for us. Of course, just because hearing play hardball makes us chuckle inside doesn’t make it any less annoying.
Sure, this phrase is annoying because it’s a sports analogy, but that’s not even the half of it. Play hardball is so often such an empty threat it reveals how impotent and feckless the speaker is.
Primarily, play hardball is annoying because it’s meaningless.
Play hardball? Who do you think you’re fooling? What are you going to do? Grit your teeth; furrow your brow; make that really mean face?
As we wrote earlier: Ooh, scary.
Replacement phrases: Get tough
See also: Come to Jesus Meeting; Line in the Sand
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon