Playing hardball

Ready to play hardball? pic: © Jcyoung |

Let’s hope you don’t meet too many people ready to play hardball as it can get a tad unpleasant dealing with such fellows.

Somebody who plays hardball is very, very determined to attain a certain goal.  So determined in fact that they do not shy away from using unfair methods, threats, unpleasantness, and don’t particularly care if anybody gets hurt in the process.

The expression is often used when talking about businesses but is also used in the personal space when things get ugly.  The idiom derives from (surprise!) baseball which is played with a small hard ball, as opposed to softball which is played with a soft squishy ball.


Here is one refering to the divorce of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman back in the days: “Tom Cruise ‘playing hardball‘ in divorce”

Here are a couple of  headlines: “Why Microsoft Is Playing Hardball with Motorola” and form the San Francisco Chronicle “Playing hardball over immigration”


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