This weekend, the 2012 Major League Soccer season begins. I’m incredibly excited about this, but I’m also worried about one thing — a matter of linguistic confusion, as it were. 

From March to November, I’ll be using the phrase “NYRB” to refer to two very different entities. One is NYRB Classics, a fine independent press who have released some of my favorite books over the past few years. The other? The New York Red Bulls, the soccer team of which I’m a supporter.

Thankfully, it’s usually pretty clear which NYRB I mean when I say “NYRB.” Unless he reveals a previously-unseen talent for unearthing great lost novels, a comment like “I hope Luke Rodgers gets his visa issues sorted out soon, so he can rejoin NYRB” isn’t too ambiguous.

Similarly, unless a certain team based in Harrison, NJ begins a promotion of handing out books by the father of Martin Amis, I think the meaning of, “Looking forward to NYRB’s Kingsley Amis reissues” will be pretty clear to anyone reading it.

Though, from what I can tell, Yuri Olesha’s Envy may be one of the few places in which soccer talk and literary talk might converge. And hey, perhaps Jan Gunnar Solli will work assorted Vasily Grossman texts into the next DJ Solli set. One never knows…

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  • i have the same problem with the “National Book Award” and the “National Basketball Association,” though the book award is a much shorter period of time