- (idiomatic, sports) A successful play or other manoeuvre during a sporting competition in which one or more players shows off unnecessarily in order to entertain or impress the spectators.
1916, Hildegard G. Frey, chapter 8, in The Camp Fire Girls at School:
- Instead of throwing it to center, however, she tried to make a grandstand play and threw it the entire length of the gymnasium to the waiting forward.
- 1921 Oct. 2, "One-handed drivers menace to public," Vancouver Sun (Canada), p. 17 (retrieved 30 Aug. 2011):
- Every baseball fan is acquainted with the sarcastic reminder, "two hands are the fashion nowadays," often hurled at the infielder who foozles an attempt at a grandstand play in the form of a one-handed catch.
- (idiomatic, by extension) An action or stratagem that is excessively dramatic or sensational and that is intended to appeal to members of the public or to a particular audience.
1913, Jack London, chapter 12, in The Valley of the Moon:
- "He goes strike-breakin'. Grandstand play, that's what I call it. Gets his name in the papers an makes all the skirts he runs with fluster up an' say: ‘My! Some bear, that Roy Blanchard, some bear.’"
- 1960 Sept. 19, "The Unwelcome Guest," Time:
- Dag Hammarskjold and Russia's fellow Security Council members, bent on quieting the Congo turmoil, had watched the Soviets stir the fires of chaos, make a grandstand play to Africans by labeling the U.N. a partner to a colonial conspiracy.
- 2011 June 8, Danny Hakim and Thomas Kaplan, "Cuomo Urges Broad Limits to N.Y. Public Pensions," New York Times (retrieved 30 Aug. 2011):
- “Congratulations to Governor Cuomo for another grandstand play for the attention of his millionaire friends at the expense of the real working people of New York,” Danny Donohue, president of the largest union of state workers, the Civil Service Employees Association, said in a statement.
- grandstand (verb)
- showboat (verb)
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