Glossary of baseball terms

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This is an alphabetical list of selected unofficial and specialized terms, phrases, and other jargon used in baseball, along with their definitions, including illustrative examples for many entries.



"Oh and ..." See count.


  • Official scorekeepers assign a number from 1 to 9 to each position on the field in order to record the outcome of each play in their own shorthand. The number 1 corresponds to the pitcher.
  • A shout of "One!" indicates the ball should be thrown to first base.
  • A "one-bagger" is a single.
  • In the context of pitching, the number 1 is a common sign (and nickname) for the fastball.

1-2-3 inning[edit]

An inning in which a pitcher faces only three batters and none safely reaches a base. "Three up, three down."

1-2-3 double play[edit]

A double play in which the pitcher (1) fields a batted ball and throws home to the catcher (2), who retires a runner advancing from third. The catcher then throws to the first baseman (3) to force out the batter. These almost always happen with the #bases loaded.

1-6-3 double play[edit]

The pitcher (1) fields a batted ball and throws to the shortstop (6) to force out a runner advancing to second. The shortstop then throws to the first baseman (3) to force out the batter.


  • The catcher, in scorekeeping shorthand.
  • A shout of "Two!" indicates the ball should be thrown to second base.
  • A "two-bagger" is a double.
  • In the context of pitching, the number 2 is a common sign (and nickname) for a curveball.

2–2–2 (2 balls, 2 strikes, 2 outs)[edit]

See deuces wild.

20–80 scale[edit]

A number scale used by MLB scouts to assign grades to players, especially prospects. A 20 is the lowest possible grade, 50 is considered major league average, and 80 is the highest possible grade. The scale is used to assign an overall grade to players but also is used to assess specific skill sets such as contact hitting, power hitting, and basepath speed, among others. For pitchers, the scale is used to assess the quality of their specific pitches, such as their fastball or curveball.[1]


  • The first baseman, in scorekeeping shorthand.
  • A shout of "Three!" indicates the ball should be thrown to third base.
  • A "three-bagger" is a triple.
  • In the context of pitching, the number 3 is a common sign (and nickname) for a slider.

3-2-3 double play[edit]

The first baseman (3) fields a batted ball and throws to the catcher (2), who retires a runner advancing from third and then throws back to the first baseman to force out the batter. These almost always happen with the #bases loaded.

3-6 double play[edit]

The first baseman (3) fields a batted ball, steps on first (to force the batter out), and then throws to the shortstop (6), who tags out a runner. Another possibility is a line drive caught by the first baseman, who throws to the shortstop, who then steps on second base for a second out.

3-6-1 double play[edit]

The first baseman (3) fields a batted ball and throws to the shortstop (6) to force out a runner at second. The shortstop then throws to the pitcher (1) (who is now covering first because the first baseman was busy fielding the ball) to force out the batter.

3-4-3 double play[edit]

The first baseman (3) fields a batted ball and throws to the second baseman (4) to force out a runner at second. The second baseman then throws back to the first baseman to force out the batter.

3-6-3 double play[edit]

The first baseman (3) fields a batted ball and throws to the shortstop (6) to force out a runner at second. The shortstop then throws back to the first baseman to force out the batter.


  • The second baseman, in scorekeeping shorthand.
  • A shout of "Four!" indicates the ball should be thrown to home plate.
  • A "four-bagger" is a home run.
  • In the context of pitching, the number 4 is a common sign (and nickname) for a change-up.

4-6-3 double play[edit]

The second baseman (4) fields a batted ball and throws to the shortstop (6), who forces out a runner at second and then throws to the first baseman (3) to force out the batter.

45-foot line[edit]

  • The line between home plate and first base that begins 45 feet down the first base line and extends past first base. The rules state that if the batter-runner is in the path of a throw that originates near home plate and is outside the area created by the base line and the 45-foot line, he shall be called out if the umpire believes he interfered with the play. If he remains within the line, he cannot be called out for interference. This rule is designed to allow catchers and pitchers the ability to field bunts and throw the batter-runner out without having to worry about the batter-runner intentionally or unintentionally interfering with the throw.
  • This line is also used to decide whether a pickoff move is legal or a balk. If the pitcher steps with his lead foot towards the base he intends to throw to it is considered legal; the 45-foot line determines whether that step is towards the base or towards home plate. This only comes into play when the pickoff move is to the base the pitcher naturally faces, i.e. third for a right-hander or first for a lefty.

4 wide ones[edit]

Four consecutive pitches deliberately wide of the strike zone. Preacher Roe summarized this strategy to Stan Musial as "I throw him four wide ones and try to pick him off at first."[2]


The third baseman, in scorekeeping shorthand.

5 hole[edit]

  • Between a player's legs (the catcher's in particular). From the hockey term for how a puck is advanced past the goalie ("through the five hole").

5.5 hole[edit]

The space between the third baseman (5) and shortstop (6).
Made famous by perennial batting champion Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres as his description of where he liked to hit the baseball.[3]

5-4-3 double play[edit]

The third baseman (5) fields a batted ball and throws to the second baseman (4) to force out a runner advancing from first. The second baseman then throws to the first baseman (3) to force out the batter.

5-4-3 triple play[edit]

The third baseman (5) fields a batted ball and steps on third base to force out a runner advancing from second, then throws to the second baseman (4) to force out a runner advancing from first. The second baseman then throws to the first baseman (3) to force out the batter.

5-tool player[edit]

A position player (non-pitcher) like Willie Mays,[4] Andre Dawson,[5] Duke Snider,[6][7] Vladimir Guerrero[8] or Ken Griffey Jr.,[6][9] who excels at:
  1. hitting for average
  2. hitting for power
  3. base running
  4. throwing
  5. fielding[6]


The shortstop, in scorekeeping shorthand.

6-4-3 double play[edit]

The shortstop (6) fields a batted ball and throws to the second baseman (4), who forces out a runner advancing from first and then throws to the first baseman (3) to force out the batter.


The leftfielder, in scorekeeping shorthand.

7-2, 8-2, or 9-2 double play[edit]

A fly ball is caught by an outfielder, and a runner tries to tag up and score from third but is tagged out by the catcher.


The centerfielder, in scorekeeping shorthand.


The rightfielder, in scorekeeping shorthand.

9 to 0[edit]

The official score of a forfeited game in Major League Baseball.


A type of curveball, the motion of which evokes the hands of a clock.

30-30 club[edit]

Players who hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a single season.

40-40 club[edit]

Players who hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a single season.


A pejorative term for a pitch that bounces short of the 60+12 feet between the pitching rubber and the plate.

90 feet[edit]

When a runner advances one base, he "moves up 90 feet"—the distance between successive bases. A runner on third base is "90 feet away" from scoring.


A-Ball or Class A[edit]

As of the 2022 season, "Class A" is the lowest grouping of modern affiliated minor league baseball, with sub-categories of "High-A" and "Single-A". "Short-Season A" leagues also existed before 2021. High-A is divided into three leagues: Midwest League, Northwest League, and South Atlantic League. Single-A is also divided into three leagues: California League, Carolina League, and Florida State League.



"Triple-A" is the highest level of minor league baseball. As of 2022, this level includes the International League and the Pacific Coast League.

AAAA player[edit]

"Four-A player" (alternatively, "Quadruple-A player") is a term for a minor-league player who is consistently successful in the high minor leagues (AAA), but cannot translate that into success at the major-league level. Poor management can be responsible.[10] "AAAA" may also informally refer to high-quality but unaffiliated foreign baseball leagues outside North America where play is considered less competitive than in MLB but more competitive than in AAA; this is usually restricted to describing Japan's NPB.[11][12][13]


When a runner is on base. When there are runners safely on base, there are "runners aboard".


The best starting pitcher on the team, who is usually first on a pitching rotation.

advance a runner[edit]

To move a runner ahead safely to another base, often the conscious strategy of a team that plays small ball. If a batter does make an out, his plate appearance will have been less negative if he still got a runner into scoring position; in certain situations, batters even deliberately sacrifice themselves.

ahead in the count[edit]

  • A term that signifies whether the batter or pitcher possesses the advantage in an at-bat. If a pitcher has thrown more strikes than balls to a batter in an at-bat, the pitcher is ahead in the count; conversely, if the pitcher has thrown more balls than strikes, the batter is ahead.
  • If the pitcher is ahead in the count, the batter is in increasing danger of striking out. If the batter is ahead, the pitcher is in increasing danger of walking him.

aim the ball[edit]

Sometimes when a pitcher tries a bit too carefully to control the location of a pitch, he is said to "aim the ball" instead of throwing it. This is a different meaning of "aim" from the situation in which a pitcher aims a pitch at a batter in an effort to hit him.


A throw is airmailed over the head of San Francisco Giants first baseman Pablo Sandoval.
Slang for a fielder's errant throw that sails high over the player to whom he intended to throw the ball. For example, if the third baseman were to throw the ball over the first baseman's head and into the stands, he is said to have "airmailed" the throw. "But Chandler airmailed her throw to third into the dugout ..."

alabaster blast[edit]

Coined by Pittsburgh Pirates announcer Bob Prince, a Baltimore chop would bounce higher than normal due to the extraordinarily hard dirt at Forbes Field.


Also "gap" or "power alley", the space between the leftfielder and the centerfielder, or the rightfielder and centerfielder. If a batter hits the ball "up the alley" with enough force, he has a stronger chance of advancing beyond first base and being credited with an extra-base hit. Typically, this is an appropriate term for describing a line drive or ground ball; fly balls that hit the wall are not normally described this way.


Swinging at (and especially hitting) the first pitch.

American League (AL)[edit]

The junior of the two existing Major Leagues.

American League Championship Series (ALCS)[edit]

The season's final best-of-seven playoff series which determines the American League team that will advance to the World Series. The ALCS–like its analog, the NLCS–came into being in 1969. The ALCS winner takes the American League pennant and the title of American League Champion for that season. The winners of the American League Division Series have met in the ALCS since 1995.

American League Division Series (ALDS)[edit]

The first round of the league playoffs. The winners of the three divisions and the winner of the Wild Card Game are paired off in two best-of-five series, the winners of which advance to the ALCS.

Annie Oakley[edit]

A free ticket to attendance at a ballgame or to first base (a "free pass" or "base on balls").

appeal play[edit]

A play in which the defense has an opportunity to gain a favorable ruling from an umpire by addressing a mistake by the offense or seeking the input of another umpire. Appeals require the defense to make a verbal appeal to an appropriate umpire, or if the situation being appealed is obvious a player may indicate an appeal with a gesture. The onus is on the defense to make an appeal; umpires will not announce potential appeal situations such as runners failing to touch a base, batting out of order, or unchecked swings until an appeal is made.

Arizona Fall League (AFL)[edit]

A short-season minor league in which high-level prospects from all thirty Major League Baseball clubs are organized into six teams on which players have the opportunity to refine and showcase their skills for evaluation by coaches, scouts, and executives. Such teams are referred to as "scout teams" and "taxi squads".


A metonym for a pitcher ("A's trade two young arms to Kansas City ...",[14] "... Anthopoulos is just stockpiling arms in an attempt to lure a trade ..."[15]).

around the horn[edit]

  • The infielders' practice of throwing the ball to each other after recording an out, provided there are no runners on base. The purpose is as much traditional as anything, but it serves as a way to celebrate the out. Typically, if an out is made at first base, the first baseman will throw to the shortstop, who throws to the second baseman, who throws to the third baseman, who returns the ball to the pitcher. Patterns vary from team to team, but the third baseman is usually the last infielder to receive a throw, regardless of the pattern.
  • Throwing the ball around the horn is also done after a strikeout with no baserunners. The catcher will throw the ball to the third baseman, who then throws it to the second baseman, who throws it to the shortstop, who then throws it to the first baseman. Some catchers, such as Iván Rodríguez, prefer to throw the ball to the first baseman, who then begins the process in reverse. Some catchers determine to whom they will throw based on the handedness of the batter (to first for a right-handed batter because the line to the first baseman is not blocked and vice versa) or whether the team is in an overshift, when the third baseman would be playing close to where the shortstop normally plays and would require a harder throw to be reached.
  • An additional application of this term is when a 5-4-3 double play has occurred, which mimics the pattern of throwing the ball around the horn.


An ineffective relief pitcher. Usually a pitcher who comes into the game with no one on base but proceeds to give up several runs. Opposite of fireman.


An old-fashioned word referring to a baseball bat, which is typically made of wood from an ash tree. "The shrewd manager substitutes a fast runner for a slow one, and sends in a pinch hitter when the man he takes out is just as good with the ash as the man he sends in."[16]


Slang for a fastball that is especially hard to hit due to its velocity and/or movement, in reference to the difficulty of making contact with something as small as an aspirin tablet. May additionally reference batters seeing a pitched ball as relatively smaller than normal, a potential psychological effect on batters who are in a slump.[17][18]


The official scorer awards an assist to every defensive player who fields or touches the ball (after it has been hit by the batter) prior to a putout, even if the contact was unintentional. For example, if a ball strikes a player's leg and bounces off him to another fielder, who tags the baserunner, the first player is credited with an assist.
A fielder can receive only one assist per out recorded. A fielder also receives an assist if a putout would have occurred, had not another fielder committed an error.

associate team[edit]

In Negro league baseball, a team who was not granted league membership or agree to play a league schedule, but games played by league teams against this team will still count in league standings.


A slang term for a baseball record that is disputed in popular opinion (i.e., unofficially) because of a perception that the record holder had an unfair advantage in attaining the record. It implies that the record requires a footnote explaining the purportedly unfair advantage, with the asterisk being a symbol commonly used in typography to call out footnotes. In recent times it has been prominently used in the following circumstances:
  • The record holder is widely believed to have used performance-enhancing drugs, whether or not such use is proven or admitted. Barry Bonds was regularly greeted with banners and signs bearing an asterisk during the 2007 season when he broke Hank Aaron's career home run record. The ball Bonds hit for the record-breaking home run was subsequently branded with an asterisk before it was sent to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • A holder of a single-season record accomplished the feat in a longer season, and thus had additional opportunities to break the record. A well-known example of this was when Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth's single-season home run record on the last day of a 162-game regular season in 1961, while Ruth set the previous record in a 154-game season in 1927; the asterisk usage is exemplified in the title of the film 61*, which was about Maris' quest to break Ruth's record. Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick declared that Maris's record should be listed separately from Ruth's (contrary to popular belief no asterisk was mentioned or used in this case), a decision not formally reversed until 1991.
  • The Houston Astros's 2017 World Series championship, which was later marred by allegations of the Astros using technology to steal signs throughout the 2017 season. Fans of opposing teams, especially the Yankees and Dodgers, frequently employ the use of asterisks when referencing the team's season in 2017, often derisively calling the team the "Houston Asterisks".
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers' 2020 World Series championship has been nearly universally lauded as an asterisk championship as the season was only 60 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any real baseball fan knows the Dodgers are still in a World Series drought since 1988.

at 'em ball[edit]

or "atom ball"; slang for a ball batted directly at a defender.

at bat[edit]

  • A completed plate appearance by a batter which results in a base hit or a non-sacrifice out. At-bats (or "times at bat") are used for the calculation of a player's batting average and slugging percentage. Note that a plate appearance is not recorded as an "at-bat" if the batter reaches first base as a result of a base on balls, or hit by pitch, nor if he executes a sacrifice bunt or sacrifice fly.
  • Occasionally a batter may be at the plate when the third out of the inning is made against a base-runner; in this case the batter will lead off the next inning with a clean strike count and his interrupted plate appearance is not counted as an at-bat.

at the letters[edit]

A pitch that crosses the plate at the height of the letters of the team's name on the shirt of the batter's uniform is said to be "at the letters", "letter-high" or "chest-high".

ate him up[edit]

Slang expression of the action of a batted ball that is difficult for a fielder to handle.

ate the ball[edit]

See: eat the ball

attack the strike zone[edit]

Slang for pitching aggressively by throwing strikes, rather than trying to trick hitters into swinging at pitches out of the strike zone or trying to "nibble at the corners" of the plate. Equivalent phrases are "pound the strike zone" and "challenge the hitters".

automatic double[edit]

A batted ball in fair territory which bounces out of play (e.g. into the seats) entitles the batter and all runners on base to advance two bases but no further. This term is used by some commentators in lieu of ground rule double, which refers to ground rules in effect at each ballpark.

automatic strike[edit]

  • A strike is deemed "automatic" when the pitcher grooves a strike–typically on a 3-0 count–with such confidence that the batter takes the pitch without swinging at it.
  • Since 2023 in MLB, a batter is charged with an automatic strike if he is not in the batter's box and alert to the pitcher when there are at least 8 seconds remaining on the pitch clock.


  • A pitch outside the strike zone, on the opposite side of the plate as the batter, is referred to as being "away", in contrast to a pitch thrown between the plate and the batter that is known as "inside".
  • Slang for outs. For example, a two-out inning may be said to be "two away"; a strikeout may be referred to as "putting away" the batter.
  • Games played at an opponent's home field are "away games". The visiting team is sometimes called the "away" team.


backdoor breaking ball[edit]

A breaking pitch, usually a slider, curveball, or cut fastball that, due to its lateral motion, passes through a small part of the strike zone on the outside edge of the plate after seeming as if it would miss the plate entirely. It may not cross the front of the plate but only the back and thus have come in through the "back door". A slider is the most common version, because a slider has more lateral motion than other breaking pitches (it curves down and 'slides' across the zone).


  • The fence behind homeplate, designed to protect spectators from wild pitches or foul balls.
  • Catcher, sometimes "backstopper".


Consecutive. When two consecutive batters hit home runs, they are said to hit back-to-back homers. Or a pitcher may issue back-to-back walks, and so forth.


Opposite of "backdoor". Usually a mistake, a pitch that begins inside off of home plate and breaks back over the plate. A pitch that does this is said to have "backed up".

bad-ball hitter[edit]

A batter who excels at hitting pitches that are outside the strike zone. Notable bad ball hitters include Yogi Berra and Vladimir Guerrero.

bad hop[edit]

A ball that bounces in front of an infielder in an unexpected way, often as a result of imperfections in the playing surface or the spin on the ball.


A base. Also, a two-bagger is a double or two-base hit; a three-bagger is a triple or three-base hit; a four-bagger is a home run.


  • A batter who sees a pitch coming toward his head may "bail out" (hit the deck).
  • When two fielders are converging on a fly ball, one of them may "bail out" to avoid running into the other.
  • A relief pitcher may come into the game with men on base and bail the previous pitcher out of a jam.
While the first two examples are analogues to bailing out of a plane via parachute, the last one is akin to bailing out a boat on the verge of being swamped, or perhaps bailing somebody out of jail.


A ruling made by an umpire against a pitching motion that violates rules intended to prevent the pitcher from unfairly deceiving a baserunner. When a balk is called, each runner can freely advance one base. In professional baseball, a balk does not instantly result in a dead ball. If a pitch is thrown and all runners advance one base due to a hit, play continues and the balk is ignored. This rarely occurs because when the balk is called the pitcher normally stops his delivery and the umpire declares the ball dead and awards the bases. In non-professional baseball (high school and college), a balk instantly results in a dead ball and the runners are awarded their bases. The rules specify which pitching movements are illegal. Commonly called balks are failure for the pitcher to come to a set position (or coming set multiple times) or failure to step in the direction of the base he is throwing toward. The spirit of a balk is that certain movements mean the pitcher has begun the pitch, so the runner cannot then be picked off. Some balks result from errant or unsuccessful motions, such as when the ball slips out of the pitcher's hand. Far more rare is a catcher's balk, when the catcher moves from behind the area of the plate before the pitcher starts his delivery (applicable only during an intentional walk).


A pitch that misses the strike zone and is not swung at by the batter. (For the physical object used in the game, see baseball (ball).)

ball in play[edit]

In sabermetrics, "ball in play" and "batting average on balls in play" (BABIP) have specific technical definitions that are used to determine pitchers' ability independently of the fielding defense of a team. In this definition, a home run is not a ball in play. See Defense Independent Pitching Statistics. Also see in play.

Baltimore chop[edit]

A ball hit forcefully into the ground near home plate, producing a bounce high above the head of a fielder.[19] This gives the batter time to reach first base safely before the ball can be fielded. An important element of Baltimore Orioles coach John McGraw's "inside baseball" strategy, the technique was popularized during Major League Baseball's dead-ball era, during which baseball teams could not rely on the home run.[20]
To give the maximum bounce to a Baltimore chop, Orioles groundskeeper Tom Murphy packed the dirt tightly around home plate, mixed it with hard clay and left the infield unwatered.[21] Speedy Orioles players like McGraw, Joe Kelley, Steve Brodie, and Willie Keeler most often practiced and perfected it.
In modern baseball, the Baltimore chop is much less common, usually resulting when a batter accidentally swings over the ball. The result is sometimes more pronounced on those diamonds with artificial turf. The technique still sees use in softball.[22]

banana stalk[edit]

A bat made with an inferior, low-quality grade of wood.[23] See also #morning journal


A ballpark with small dimensions that encourages offense, especially home runs. A crackerbox. (see: Baker Bowl and Citizens Bank Ballpark)


  • Cancelling a game because of bad weather: "I thought we were gonna get banged but we got in five innings."
  • To hit the ball hard, especially to hit a homer. "Utley banged the game-tying home run."
  • Players who are banged up are injured, though may continue to play. Example: "Banged up Braves ready for playoff rematch with Astros."
  • A bang-up game is an exciting or close game. Example from a sports headline: "A Real Bang-Up Finish."
  • A bang bang play is one in which the runner is barely thrown out, a very close call, typically at first base. Perhaps reflecting the "bang" of the ball in the first-baseman's glove followed immediately by the "bang" of the baserunner's foot hitting the bag.
  • bang it inside is when a pitcher throws on the inside of the plate, and the batter cannot get his arms extended enough to hit the ball, which goes "bang" into the catcher's mitt. "It was an unbelievable feeling and a feeling I'll never forget," Giavotella said. "Scherzer was trying to come in on me all day. He was banging me inside and I couldn't get my hands extended. I guess he missed over the plate that time and I got my hands inside and barreled it up and it flew out of the park."[24]

banjo hitter[edit]

A batter who lacks power. A banjo hitter usually hits bloop singles, often just past the infield dirt, and would have a low slugging percentage. The name is said to come from the twanging sound of the bat at contact, like that of a banjo. See also Punch and Judy hitter.

barehand it[edit]

Refers to when a fielder catches a ball with the hand not covered by his glove.


An advanced metric that measures the times a batter hits the ball at certain launch angles with certain exit velocities. Barrels are more likely to produce hits, particularly extra-base hits, than non-barrels.

barrel up[edit]

In modern baseball, refers to hitting a pitch hard with the sweet spot of the baseball bat.
See sweet spot.

base hit[edit]

See hit.

base knock[edit]

A single. Also see knocks.

Baseball Annie[edit]

  • Female "groupie" known to "be easy" for baseball players. Susan Sarandon played such a role as the character Annie Savoy in the 1988 American film "Bull Durham".
  • Infamous Ruth Ann Steinhagen was the first "Baseball Annie". She became obsessed with Cubs and then Phillies first baseman Eddie Waitkus. She shot him through the chest, nearly killing him in 1949. This story inspired the 1952 novel The Natural.

bases loaded[edit]

Runners on first, second, and third bases. Also known as "bases full", "bases packed", "bases jammed", "bases juiced", "bases chucked", or "bases drunk". This presents a great scoring opportunity for the batting team, but it also presents an easy double play opportunity for the defense. Causing the bases to become loaded is called loading the bases. A batter is often intentionally walked when there are runners on 2nd and 3rd base to make it easier for the defense to record more than one out.
A bases-loaded situation is the only time there is a force at home plate.
Since there is no additional room to place the batter, should he be awarded first base from a base on balls or hit by pitch, one run will score due to the third-base player's being forced home. Chronologically, only big leaguers Abner Dalrymple, Nap Lajoie, Mel Ott, Bill Nicholson, Barry Bonds, Josh Hamilton, and Corey Seager hold the distinction of being intentionally walked with the bases loaded.
When a home run is hit with the bases loaded, it is called a grand slam. It scores four runs, which is the most runs that can be scored on a single play.


Last place, bottom of the standings. Also cellar.


A baserunner (shortened as "runner") is a player on the offensive team (i.e., the team at bat) who has safely reached base.

basket catch[edit]

Catching a fly ball with the glove situated about the waistline, as opposed to the hands being situated above the shoulders.


  • A baseball bat is a smooth contoured round wooden or metal rod used to hit the ball thrown by the pitcher. A bat's diameter is larger at one end (the barrel-end) than at the other (the handle). The bottom end of the handle is the knob. A batter generally tries to strike the ball in the sweet spot near the middle of the barrel-end of the bat, sometimes referred to as the fat part of the bat or the meat end of the bat.
  • The player who uses it to strike the ball—a batter, hitter, or batsman—can be said to bat the ball.
  • A player known as a good hitter might be said to have a good bat. Headline: "Shortstop mixes golden glove with solid bat."[25] A player who is adept at both hitting and fielding might be said to have a good bat and good glove. The headline "Wesleyan shortstop Winn has bat and glove"[26] does not mean Winn owns a bat and a glove, it means he is very skilled at both hitting and fielding.
  • A team with many good hitters might be said to have a lot of "bats" (referring to the players not the instrument). "It's an awesome thing when we all get going like that," Murphy said. "We've got so many bats in our lineup that we're hard to beat if we keep hitting."[27]

bat around[edit]

According to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, a team has "batted around" when each of the nine batters in the team's lineup has made a plate appearance, and the first batter is coming up again during a single inning.[28], however, defines "bat around" as "to have every player in the lineup take a turn at bat during a single inning".[29] It is not an official statistic. Opinions differ as to whether nine batters must get an at-bat, or if the opening batter must bat again for "batting around" to have occurred.[30]

bat drop[edit]

A physical property of a bat, expressed as a (usually) negative number equal to the bat's weight in ounces minus its length in inches. For example, a bat that is 34 inches (86 cm) long and weighs 31 ounces (880 g) has a bat drop of –3. In general, bats with a larger bat drop (i.e., lighter) are easier to swing, and bats with a smaller bat drop (i.e., heavier) can produce faster ball velocity, though these results depend on the batter's ability.

bat flip[edit]

A celebration in which a batter who just hit a home run flips/tosses the bat in a dramatic way, rather than simply dropping it as they start running. The practice is controversial - some players such as Tim Anderson and Jose Bautista have been subject to retaliation by the opposing team when they bat flipped after a home run against them.[31]

bat the ball[edit]

To hit the ball with the bat – whether into fair territory or foul.


The player who is at bat and tries to hit the ball with the bat. Also referred to as the "hitter" or "batsman".

batter's eye[edit]

A solid-colored, usually dark area beyond the center field wall that is the visual backdrop for the batter looking out at the pitcher. It allows the batter to see the pitched ball against a dark and uncluttered background, as much for the batter's safety as anything. The use of a batter's background has been standard in baseball (as well as cricket where they are called "sight screens") since at least the late 1800s.
One example of a batter's background is the black area in center field of the first Yankee Stadium. At one time there were seats in that section, but because of distractions the seats were removed and the area was painted black.

batter's box[edit]

A rectangle on either side of home plate in which the batter must be standing for fair play to resume. A foot and a hand out of the box are not sufficient to stop play (although pitchers will usually respect a batter's wish to step out of the box). The umpire must grant the batter a timeout before play is stopped.


The pitcher and catcher considered as a single unit, who may also be called batterymen[32] or batterymates of one another. The use of this word was first coined by Henry Chadwick in the 1860s in reference to the firepower of a team's pitching staff and inspired by the artillery batteries then in use in the American Civil War.[33] Later, the term evolved to indicate the combined effectiveness of pitcher and catcher.[33][34]

battery mates[edit]

A pitcher and catcher from the same team. See "battery".

batting average[edit]

Batting average (BA) is the average number of hits per at-bat (BA=H/AB). A perfect batting average would be 1.000 (read: "one thousand"). A batting average of .300 ("three hundred") is considered to be excellent, which means the best hitters fail to get a hit in 70% of their at-bats. Even the level of .400, which is outstanding and rare (last achieved at the major league level in 1941), suggests "failure" 60% of the time. Bases on balls are not counted in calculating batting average. This is part of the reason OBP is now regarded by "figger filberts" as a truer measure of a hitter's worth at the plate. In 1887, there was an experiment with including bases-on-balls as hits (and as at-bats) in computing the batting average. It was effectively an early attempt at an OBP, but it was regarded as a "marketing gimmick" and was dropped after the one year. It eventually put Cap Anson in limbo regarding his career hits status; dropping the bases on balls from his 1887 stats, as some encyclopedias do, put his career number of hits below the benchmark 3,000 total.

batting practice[edit]

The period, often before a game, when players warm up or practice their hitting technique. Sometimes refers to a period within a game when one team's hitters have so totally dominated a given pitcher that the game resembles a batting practice session. Referred to colloquially as well as abbreviated as BP.


When a hitter works the count, by being patient, perhaps by deliberately fouling off pitches that he can't get good wood on, he's said to be "battling".


A strong throwing arm. A gun, a cannon, a rifle.


  • A line drive hit so hard that a fielder has trouble catching up to it. The reference is to being shot from a BB gun.
  • "BB" is scorer's shorthand for a walk, otherwise known as a "base on balls". Walks are recorded under the "BB" column of a box score.


An initialism for Batted-Ball Coefficient of Restitution, a standard that all non-wooden bats (both metal and composite) must meet in order to be approved for use in most amateur baseball leagues, such as U.S. college baseball.[35]


A pitch intentionally thrown to hit the batter if he does not move out of the way, especially when directed at the head (or the "bean" in old-fashioned slang). The word bean can also be used as a verb, as in the following headline: "Piazza says Clemens Purposely Beaned Him."[36]

beat out[edit]

Kevin Pillar (right) beats out a throw to first base.
When a runner gets to first base before the throw, he beats the throw or beats it out. Akin to leg out. "Greene's throw to first base pulls Gonzalez off the bag and Norris Hopper is fast enough to beat it out before Gonzalez can get his foot back on the bag."[37]

beat the rap[edit]

Occurs when a batter hits the ball on the ground with a runner on first and fewer than two outs. If the play has the potential of being a double play, the batter can beat the rap if he reaches first base before the throw from the fielder who recorded the putout at second base. The result of the play becomes a fielder's choice.

behind in the count[edit]

Opposite of ahead in the count. For the batter: when the count contains more strikes than balls. For the pitcher: vice versa.
If the pitcher is behind in the count, he is in increasing danger of walking the batter. If the batter is behind, he is in increasing danger of striking out. "While he allowed only three hits, he walked five and pitched from behind in the count."[38]


  • To hit a ball hard to the outfield or out of the park, fair or foul. "Jones belts that one deep to left ... but just foul."
  • The actual belt worn by a player as part of the uniform, usually mentioned in reference to the location of a pitch or a ball in play. "Benard takes a fastball, outside corner at the belt, called a strike", or "Grounded sharply into the hole at short--ranging to his right, Aurilia fields the belt-high hop and fires on to first; two away."


  • "The bench" is where the players sit in the dugout when they are not at bat, in the on-deck circle, or in the field.
  • "The bench" may also refer to the players who are not in the line-up but are still eligible to enter the game. "LaRussa's bench is depleted because of all the pinch hitting and pinch running duties it's been called on to perform tonight."

bench jockey[edit]

A player, coach or manager with the talent of annoying and distracting opposition players and umpires from his team's dugout with verbal repartee. Especially useful against those with rabbit ears. The verbal jousting is frequently called "riding"; hence the "rider" from the dugout becomes a "bench jockey". Riding opposition players enough to unnerve them but not enough to enrage them and provoke a fight is believed[by whom?] to be fast-fading in the 21st-century game. Major League Baseball players on the injured list are permitted to be on the bench but they are not permitted to engage in bench jockeying.[39]


A curveball.

big as a grapefruit[edit]

When a hitter sees the pitch so well that it appears to be larger than its actual size, he may describe the ball as being "as big as a grapefruit". "After hitting a 565-foot home run, Mickey Mantle once said, 'I just saw the ball as big as a grapefruit'. During a slump, Joe 'Ducky' Medwick of the St. Louis Cardinals said he was 'swinging at aspirins'."[40]

big fly[edit]

A home run.

big inning[edit]

The opposite mentality of small ball, if a team is thinking "big inning" they are focusing on scoring runs strictly through base hits and home runs, as opposed to bunts or other sacrifices. More generically, a "big inning" is an inning in which the offense scores a large number of runs, usually four or more.

Big Leagues[edit]

A nickname for Major League Baseball

big swing[edit]

A swing of the bat that produces a home run. "Pinch runner Hernán Pérez came in for Martinez and Perez walked Dirks, setting the stage for Avila's big swing."[41]


The Big Leagues, Major Leagues, "the Show". If you're in the bigs you're a big leaguer, a major leaguer.


A single. A base hit that ends up with the hitter on first base. "Brown tried to stretch the bingle into a double, and was out, Monte Irvin to Frank Austin."[42] (A rare usage nowadays.)


A home run, normally one that is well hit.


Bleacher seats (in short, bleachers) are uncovered seats that are typically tiered benches or other inexpensive seats located in the outfield or in any area past the main grandstand. The term comes from the assumption that the benches are sun-bleached. "Bleachers" is short for the term originally used, "bleaching boards". Fans in the bleacher seats are sometimes called bleacher bums or bleacher creatures.


A weakly hit ground ball that goes for a base hit. A scratch hit. "Dunn walked to bring up Morra, who jumped on the first pitch he saw and hit a bleeder that didn't leave the infield, driving in Gradwohl."[43]


A ball that is hit so hard that it seems to generate its own heat may be said to have been blistered. "Chapman then blistered a ball toward left-center, and Knoblauch raced back, moving smoothly, and made the catch with his arm outstretched."[44]

block the plate[edit]

A catcher (left) drops to both knees to block the plate from an opposing baserunner during a Japanese high school baseball game
A catcher who puts a foot, leg, or whole body between home plate and a runner attempting to score, is said to "block the plate". Blocking the plate is a dangerous tactic, and may be considered obstruction (Official Rules of Baseball, Rule 2.00 (Obstruction)).

bloop curve[edit]

An Eephus pitch (q.v.); a trick pitch thrown like a slow-pitch softball pitch, with a high arcing trajectory and very little velocity (ca. 40-55 mph or less). Specifically, such a pitch thrown ostensibly as a curveball.


  • A blooper or bloop is a weakly hit fly ball that drops in for a single between an infielder and an outfielder. Also known as a "bloop single", a dying quail, or a duck snort.
  • A fielding error. Headline: "Red Sox roll White Sox after Contreras blooper".[45]
  • An odd or funny play, such as when a pitcher throws the ball to the catcher after the batter has stepped out of the batter's box and timeout has been called -- perhaps hitting the catcher in the head with the pitch.[46]


  • To blow a game is to lose it after having the lead. "We had the game in hand and we blew it."
  • To blow a pitch ("by" a batter) is to throw one so fast the batter is unable to keep up (with it).
  • To blow a save is to lose a lead or the game after coming into the game in a "save situation". This has a technical meaning in baseball statistics.
  • A hit, typically a home run: "Ortiz's Blow Seals Win."

blow open[edit]

To gain a commanding lead in a game, perhaps after the game has been very competitive or the score has remained tied or close. "Pirates Score Late To Blow Open Close Game Against Stony Brook."[47]

blown save[edit]

A blown save (BS) is charged to a relief pitcher who enters a game in a save situation but allows the tying run to score. If the pitcher further allows the winning run to score, he is charged with both a loss and a blown save. If, after blowing the save, the pitcher's team regains the lead, the pitcher may also be credited with the win. The blown save is not an officially recognized statistic by Major League Baseball, but is recognised by the Rolaids Relief Man Award, which charges two points against a reliever's record for a blown save opportunity. It is often used on broadcasts to characterize the "record" of closers analogous to win–loss records of starters. "Jones has made 31 out of 34 saves" or "Jones has 31 saves and three blown saves."


Rhymes with "closer". A closer who seems to get more blown saves than saves.


An umpire, referring to the typical dark blue color of the umpire's uniform. Sometimes used derisively in professional baseball, such as when complaining about a ruling, e.g.: "Oh, come on, Blue!"


A home run.


A boner is a mental mistake that changes the course of a game dramatically.

bonus baby[edit]

A young player who received a signing bonus.

bonus baseball[edit]

Extra innings. Most famously used by San Diego Padres (and former Boston Red Sox) announcer Don Orsillo. Also called "bonus cantos" by Yankees announcer Michael Kay.


Made an error, kicked it – typically referring to a misplay on a ground ball. "Miguel Cabrera hit a ground ball to Alex S. Gonzalez, who booted the ball. Had Gonzalez fielded the ball properly, the Cubs could have ended the half-inning with a double play."[48]

bottom of the inning[edit]

The second half or "last half" of an inning, during which the home team bats, derived from its position in the line score.

bottom dropped out of it[edit]

Sometimes said of a sinker or drop ball, implying that a pitch suddenly moved downward as if through a trap door. Ideally, the pitcher throws with the same familiar arm speed and release point only to have the "bottom drop out" at the last instant, leaving the batter wondering what happened.[49]


  • The vicinity of the pitcher's mound. Baseball announcers will sometimes refer to a batted ball going back through the pitcher's mound area as having gone through the box, or a pitcher being removed from the game will be said to have been knocked out of the box. In the early days of the game, there was no mound; the pitcher was required to release the ball while inside a box drawn on the ground. Even though the mound has replaced the box, this terminology still exists.
  • Also, the batter's box, the area within which the batter stands when hitting. The batter must be in the box for the pitcher to pitch.

box score[edit]

Statistical summary of a game. The line score is an abbreviated version of the box score, duplicated from the field scoreboard. Invention of the box score is credited to Henry Chadwick.



Bats right; used in describing a player's statistics, for example: John Doe (TR, BR, 6', 172 lbs.)

brand new ball game[edit]

When a team scores run(s) that bring the score up to a tie, it is said to be "a brand new ball game". The phrase was popularized by Hall of Fame Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully.

breaking ball[edit]

Any pitch that markedly deviates from a "straight" or expected path due to a spin used by the pitcher to achieve the desired effect. Some examples are the curveball, the slider and the screwball.

break one off[edit]

To throw a curveball.

break open the game[edit]

When a team gains a multiple-run lead, perhaps in a single rally that expands their lead, the game may be said to be "broken open". "The Padres broke the game open with five runs in the fifth, thanks to three errors by the Cubs, who have dropped 12 of 14."[50]


To pitch; often used for a fastball: bring the gas, bring the heat, bring it.


An adjective referring to a play that originates with a batter's breaking his bat upon making contact with the ball.

Bronx Bombers[edit]

A nickname given to the New York Yankees due to their ability to playing in a hitter-friendly ballpark.

bronx cheer[edit]

A sarcastic cheer from the crowd; "raspberries".


A batter who strikes out looking, especially if the batter did not move his bat at all. This term is mainly used by sports commentators.


A pitch intentionally thrown close to a batter to intimidate him, i.e., to "brush him back" from the plate. Also a purpose pitch or chin music. Archaic usage: "a blowdown".[51]

buck and change[edit]

A player batting between .100 and .199 is said to be batting "a buck and change" or, more specifically, the equivalent average in dollars (bucks) and cents (change). Example: A batter batting .190 is said to be batting "a buck ninety". Major league position players with a batting average this low will very likely be demoted down to AAA for seasoning or even released outright. See also Mendoza line.

bug on the rug[edit]

Phrase coined by Pittsburgh Pirates announcer Bob Prince in the 1970s. A basehit that skittered through the gap, particularly on artificial turf.

Bugs Bunny change-up[edit]

A change-up pitch that appears to arrive at homeplate so slowly that a batter can make three swings and misses on a single pitch. Whiff-whiff-whiff, three strikes and the batter is out. The reference is to Bugs Bunny, the animated cartoon character, who is depicted employing such a pitch in the cartoon Baseball Bugs. As Trevor Hoffman's changeup evolved into an all-world weapon, his pitching teammates were in awe of it, much like many hitters were. They liked it so much, they gave it a nickname. They called it the Bugs Bunny Pitch. 'You could swing at it three times and it still wouldn't be in the mitt', Andy Ashby said, bringing up the image of the famous cartoon. 'I swear, he could tell them it's coming and they still couldn't hit it.'[52]


"Bullpen" can be used to describe the area in which these Tampa Bay Rays relief pitchers are sitting or as a metonym for the pitchers themselves.
  • The area used by pitchers and catchers to warm up before taking the mound when play has already begun. This area is usually off to the side along either the left or right base line, or behind an outfield fence. It is almost never in fair territory, presumably due to the risk of interference with live action. A rare exception was at New York's Polo Grounds where the bullpens were in the deep left and right center field quarter-circles of the outfield wall.
  • A team's relief pitching corps (so named because the relievers are in the bullpen during games).
There are varying theories of the origin of the term, discussed in more detail in the main article.

bullpen by committee[edit]

A strategy by which a club does not assign relief pitchers to specific roles such as "closer", "set-up", or "long relief", and instead may use any reliever at any given time. At the major league level, this strategy is commonly used when the club's closer is unavailable.

bullpen session[edit]

A regular activity for starting pitchers during a season.


An infrequently used strategy that involves using a string of relief pitchers (some of whom, in this strategy, may be pitchers more often used as starters) in stints of no more than two innings instead of relying on one pitcher to work most of the innings.[53]


The pitchers mound. "Who's on the bump today?"


  • To deliberately bat the ball weakly to a particular spot on the infield by holding the bat nearly still, with one hand behind the sweet spot (q.v. under bat) and letting the ball hit it. Typically, a bunt is used to advance other runners and is then referred to as a sacrifice or a sacrifice hit or a sacrifice bunt. When done correctly, fielders have no play except, at best, to throw the batter-runner out at first base.
  • Speedy runners also bunt for base hits when infielders are playing back. In such a situation, left-handed hitters may use a drag bunt, in which they start stepping towards first base while completing the bunt swing. Even the great slugger Mickey Mantle would drag bunt once in a while, taking advantage of his 3.1 second speed from home to first base. Currently, Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals is notable in that he is a right-handed hitter who uses drag bunts successfully.

bush league[edit]

A slang term for play that is of minor league or unprofessional quality. The "bushes" or the "sticks" are small towns where minor league teams may operate. A "busher" refers to someone from the "bush leagues": see subtitle of Ring Lardner's first book, You Know Me Al: A Busher's Letters.

businessman's special[edit]

A day game on a weekday.

bust him in[edit]

To throw a fastball in on the hitter's hands. Also: tie him up, in the kitchen.


A very poor fielder.

butcher boy[edit]

A strategy where the hitter first shows he intends to bunt, pulls back the bat when the pitcher begins the delivery, and takes a quick swing at the pitch. Generally used by weaker hitters such as pitchers. Greg Maddux was known for employing this tactic effectively in the early part of his career with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves.

buzz the tower[edit]

To throw a high fastball up-and-in to a hitter, typically with intent to back the hitter off the plate or make a statement. Also see brushback and purpose pitch.


Cactus League[edit]

The group of teams that conduct their pre-season spring training exhibition games in Arizona where the cactus grows in abundance. See also Grapefruit League.


A caddy's sole function is to come in as a substitute in the late innings of a lopsided game to act as a defensive replacement for an aging power hitter or to pinch run.

called up[edit]

A Major League team may call up or promote a player from the minor leagues during the season to take a spot on its roster, often to replace a player who has been sent down to the minor leagues or else placed on the disabled list. Players who have been in the major leagues previously (and were sent down) may be said to be recalled rather than called up. After August 31, several minor leaguers may be called up to take a spot on the expanded roster.


  • A strong arm. Also, a gun.
  • To throw strongly. Announcer following a play in which the shortstop fields a ground ball and throws hard to first: "Guillen cannons and gets him."

can of corn[edit]

A high, easy-to-catch, fly ball hit to the outfield. The phrase is said to have originated in the nineteenth-century and relates to an old-time grocer's method of getting canned goods down from a high shelf. Using a stick with a hook on the end, a grocer could tip a can so it would fall for an easy catch into his apron. One theory for use of corn as the canned good in the phrase is that a can of corn was considered the easiest "catch" as corn was the best selling vegetable in the store and so was heavily stocked on the lowest shelves. Another theory is that the corn refers to the practice in the very early days of baseball of calling the outfield the "corn field", especially in early amateur baseball where the outfield may have been a farm field. Frequently used by Red Barber, a variation, 'A #8 CAN OF GOLDEN BANTAM' was favored by Bob Prince, Pittsburgh Pirates' announcer. The phrase was also used by Yankee announcer Phil Rizzuto, Red Sox and then White Sox broadcaster Ken "The Hawk" Harrelson, and Blue Jays broadcaster and former manager Buck Martinez as voiced in the popular video game Triple Play 2000. Also, a phrase used to refer to something that is not challenging. Informally, can of corn may be used as a phrase to describe mild excitement, personal acknowledgement or recognition of significance.

Captain Hook[edit]

A manager who often takes a pitcher out of the game at the first sign of trouble. Sparky Anderson was perhaps the best example of a "Captain Hook" at the major league level. See hook.

carve up[edit]

When a pitcher quickly dispatches a batter with three or four pitches that the batter only whiffs at, the pitcher may be said to have "carved up the batter" – like a chef carving up a turkey. Headline: "How Buehrle carved up Tampa Bay with just one 90-m.p.h. pitch."[54]

cash in[edit]

To knock in a runner who is already on base. "Lauren Rorebeck then cashed both runners in with a home run over the left field fence to tie the game at 7–7 with two innings to play."[55]

catbird seat[edit]

A desirable or auspicious situation. Popularized by Red Barber, longtime broadcaster for the Brooklyn Dodgers. James Thurber wrote in his short story of the same title: "[S]itting in the catbird seat" means sitting pretty, like a batter with three balls and no strikes on him. The catbird is said to seek out the highest point in a tree to sing his song, so someone in the catbird seat is high up.

catch up to a fastball[edit]

As if a batter were running a footrace with a fastball, he's said to "catch up" to a fastball if his reaction time and bat speed are quick enough to hit a fastball by a power pitcher. "Our scouting reports indicate he can still hit and still catch up to a fastball. As long as he can catch up to a fastball, he's going to get the money."[56]

catcher's interference[edit]

It is catcher's interference when the catcher physically hinders the batter's opportunity to swing at a pitch. In professional baseball, play continues and after continuous playing action ceases, the umpire calls time. The penalty is that the batter is awarded first base; any runner attempting to steal is awarded that base and all other runners advance only if forced. The manager of the offensive team has the option of keeping the result of the play. He will not be given the option by the umpires and must explicitly declare it before the play continues after awarding bases. The catcher is charged with an error. This is one of many types of interference call.

caught looking[edit]

A term used when the third strike is called on a batter without the batter attempting to swing at the pitch.[57]

caught napping[edit]

A baserunner who is tagged out because he wasn't paying attention to what the defensive players were doing is "caught napping". Often this involves a pickoff play in which the infielder sneaks up behind the runner and takes a throw from the pitcher or, less often, the catcher.


Last place, bottom of the standings. A team that spends too much time in last place, especially over a stretch of years, tends to acquire the unflattering title of cellar dweller. SYNONYM: basement.

cement mixer[edit]

A baseball pitched with the intent to break out of the strike zone that fails to break and ends up hanging in the strike zone; an unintentional slow fastball with side spin resembling a fixed-axis spinning cement mixer, which does not translate.

center cut[edit]

From A butcher's term for the best cut of beef. In baseball lingo, it is a fastball down the middle.

the chair[edit]

Specifically regarding a batter: A seat on the bench, as opposed to reaching base or remaining in the batter's box. As in, "throw him the chair". The expression is an encouragement to the pitcher to strike out the batter, sending him back to the dugout, thus "throwing him the chair"—forcing him to sit down.

challenge the hitter[edit]

When a pitcher is aggressive and throws strikes, perhaps his best fastball, he may be said to "challenge the hitter". Akin to pounding the strike zone or attacking the strike zone. "Jared has outstanding stuff", Mee said. "The one thing I would like to see him do is throw more strikes and challenge the hitters. He has a lot of ability and when he is ahead in the count he's a very difficult guy to hit off of."[58]

change the eye level[edit]

A pitcher "changes the eye level" of a hitter by throwing pitches at different heights in the strike zone. This is intended to keep the hitter off-balance or uncomfortable. "Changing the eye-level of a hitter is important because as you advance, it'll become more difficult for you to get a hitter to move his feet in the batters box – even by pitching inside – so the next option is to move the hitter's eyes."[59]


A changeup or a change is a pitch meant to look like a fastball - but with less velocity - short for change of pace. A variety of this pitch is the circle change, where a circle is formed using the thumb and index finger on the last third of a ball. This causes the ball to break inside and down to right-handed batter from a right-handed pitcher, frequently resulting in ground balls. Also, a straight change - made famous by Pedro Martínez - can be utilized. The grip requires all fingers to be used in holding the ball, resulting in more friction, thus slowing the ball down tremendously.


  • When an infielder runs towards a ground ball rather than wait for it to come to him.
  • Runs are said to be "charged" to the pitcher who initially allowed the scoring runner to get on base.

charging the mound[edit]

Charging the mound refers to a batter assaulting the pitcher after being hit by a pitch or in some cases after narrowly avoiding being hit. The first incident of a professional charging the mound has not been identified but the practice certainly dates back to the game's early days. Charging the mound is often the precipitating cause of a bench-clearing brawl and will most likely result in the batter's ejection.


  • To chase (or chase after) is to swing at a pitch well outside of the strike zone.
  • A pitcher who is removed from the game by the manager because he gave up too many runs is said to have been "chased from the game" or "chased from the mound" by the opposing batters. "Pettitte was chased from the game in the seventh inning following an RBI single by Willy Taveras and a two-RBI triple by Kazuo Matsui."[60]
  • A player or coach who is ejected from the game by an umpire can be said to be chased. "Martin was tossed by umpire Lee Weyer in the fourth game of the 1976 Series, seven years after Weaver was chased by Shag Crawford in the fourth game in 1969."[61]


To verbally challenge or taunt to distract the opposing batter. Fans and players alike participate in chatter. "Heybattabattabatta" is an example of common baseball chatter.

Chavez Ravine[edit]

Nickname for Dodger Stadium. The ballpark was built in the late 1950s in a former residential neighborhood named Chavez Ravine.

cheap run[edit]

A run that comes about from luck or with little effort by the offensive team. Headline: "A Cheap Run for the Rays." Story: "Carl Crawford got lucky with that blooper down the line; wasn't a bad pitch from Jamie Moyer."[62]

check the runner[edit]

When the pitcher or an infielder who fields a ball, looks in the direction of a runner on base and thereby causes him to not take as large of a lead as he would otherwise have taken.

checked swing[edit]

A batter checks a swing by stopping it before the bat crosses the front of home plate. If he fails to stop it in time, the umpire will call a strike because he swung at the pitch. Often the umpire's view of the swing is obstructed. If the umpire calls the pitch a ball, a defensive player such as the catcher or pitcher can ask the home plate umpire to ask another umpire whether the batter swung at the pitch. In such a case, the home plate umpire always accepts the judgment of the other umpire. "Basically, the Tigers tied the Sox in knots the entire game—or else they wouldn't have had as many checked swings as they did. Or as many strikes that they tried to sell to the umpires as balls."[63]


See cheese.


A fastball, particularly one that is difficult to hit. A fastball high in the strike zone is also called high cheese, and one low in the zone can be called cheese at the knees. 'Easy Cheese' refers to the seemingly effortless motion of a pitcher as he throws a fastball at very high velocity.

chin music[edit]

A high and tight, up and in pitch meant to knock a batter back from home plate to avoid being hit on the chin. Also known as a brush-back or purpose pitch.

Chinese home run[edit]

  • An older term for a home run, often a high fly ball, that barely clears the fence at that part of the outfield closest to the plate. It was frequently used in reference to such hits at the Polo Grounds, former home of the New York Giants, which had notoriously short foul lines. Its use has declined since that stadium was demolished, and even further as it has been perceived as ethnically offensive.[64]
  • A secondary sense is that of a long fly ball, usually one that travels backward from home plate. This usage appears to be restricted to sandlot ball games in New England, where it may have evolved from a supposed "Chaney's home run", a backward foul by a player of that name who eventually won a game for the hitting team when the ball, the last one available, could not be found. The umpire then ruled that the other team failed to provide an adequate number of balls and had thus forfeited the game.[64]


A blooper; a dying quail; a bleeder.


A chopper refers to a batted ball that immediately strikes the hardened area of dirt directly in front of home plate, causing it to bounce high into the infield. Batters who are fast runners can convert such choppers into base hits. Also a batted ball that bounces several times before either being fielded by an infielder or reaching the outfield. Former Braves broadcaster Skip Caray often whimsically called bouncers to third base when Atlanta was on defense as "a chopper to Chipper" in reference to long-time Braves third baseman Chipper Jones.

choke up[edit]

Joey Votto chokes up on the bat during a 2015 game
A batter "chokes up" by sliding his hands up from the knob end of the bat to give him more control over his bat. It reduces the power and increases the control. Prior to driving in the Series-winning hit with a bloop single in the 2001 World Series, Luis Gonzalez choked up on the bat.[citation needed] Thus he came through, and did not "choke" in the clutch.


Throw. A pitcher is sometimes referred to as a chucker or someone who can really chuck the ball. In San Francisco, sometimes the fans are referred to as battery chuckers, referring to several incidents where many fans threw batteries onto the field. These incidents date back at least to the early aughts in San Francisco, although there was at least one earlier incident involving Phillies fans.[65]


The on-deck circle, officially known as the next batter's box.

circus catch[edit]

An outstanding catch, usually when a fielder has to leave his feet or go through contortions to make, resembling a circus acrobat in the process.

clean hit[edit]

When a batter hits a ball through the infield without its being touched by a fielder, he may be said to have a "clean hit". Similarly, if a batter hits a ball over an outfielder's head, he may have a "clean hit". "Tris truly loved to hit and would always get a thrill when getting a 'clean' hit that travelled over an outfielder's head."[66]

clean inning[edit]

When a team pitches and plays defense without mental or physical errors or allowing the other team to score runs or advance runners easily. "I want to see clean innings", Cooper said. "This is a time when we should be seeing them – crisp, clean innings. Yet we're hitting guys [who] are trying to bunt, walking guys on four pitches ... This is not young kids doing this stuff. This is ridiculous. I don't care who it is. It shouldn't be happening. We've got to clean it up. I'd like to see some clean innings sooner or later. We should be throwing strike one, strike two, make some pitches. We're all over the place. We're not even close to the strike zone."[67]

cleanup hitter[edit]

The fourth batter in the lineup, usually a power hitter. The strategy is to get some runners on base for the cleanup hitter to drive home. In theory, if the first three batters of the game were to load the bases, the No. 4 hitter would ideally "clean up" the bases with a grand slam.

clear the bases[edit]

A batter who drives home all the runners on base without scoring himself is said to "clear the bases". "Dikito's base-clearing triple sent the pro-Falcon crowd into a frenzy."[68]

climbing the ladder[edit]

  • A tactic where a pitcher delivers a succession of pitches out of the strike zone, each higher than the last, in an attempt to get the batter to swing at a pitch "in his eyes".
  • When a fielder makes an unusually high jump to catch a high line drive, as though he climbed an invisible ladder to make the catch


A dominant performance by one person or team. "David Price really put on a clinic out there, striking out the side."


A relief pitcher who is consistently used to "close" or finish a game by getting the final outs. Closers are often among the most overpowering pitchers, and sometimes even the most erratic. Alternatively, they might specialize in a pitch that is difficult to hit, such as the splitter or the cut fastball.

close the book[edit]

One can "close the book" on a pitcher who has been replaced when his statistics for the game become final. If a relief pitcher enters the game with one or more inherited runners, and those runners eventually score, they still affect the statistics of the pitcher who allowed them on base (e.g., earned run average). Once all runners charged to a particular pitcher score or get put out, or the third out is made in the inning, then his statistics can no longer change (except his status as pitcher of record) and his "book" is "closed".


See "throw a clothesline".


A team's locker room, which may also include eating, entertainment, and workout facilities, especially at the highest professional level. The term "clubhouse" is also frequently used in the sports of golf and thoroughbred horse racing.


Good performance under pressure when good performance really matters. May refer to such a situation (being in the clutch) or to a player (a good clutch hitter, or one who "can hit in the clutch"); or to specific hits ("that was a clutch hit"). Most baseball fans believe that clutch hitting exists, but there is significant disagreement among statheads whether clutch hitting is a specific skill or instead just something good hitters in general do. An old synonym for clutch is pinch, as in Christy Mathewson's book, Pitching in a Pinch.


A belt-high, very hittable fastball, usually down the middle of the plate. As used by Bob McClure, former Red Sox Pitching Coach: "When you throw a cock-shot fastball just above the belt, right down the middle, you're hoping they don't swing. A lot of times, that gets hit out of the ballpark."[69]


Symbol of going hitless in a game, suggested by its resemblance to a zero, along with the implication of "choking"; to wear the collar: "If Wright doesn't get a hit here, he'll be wearing an 0 for 5 collar on the day." Also, to take the collar: "Cameron Maybin took the collar in his major league debut, striking out twice."[70] Also, Bob Starr (sportscaster) who was a Major League baseball announcer for 25 years (1972-97), restricted his use of the term "wears the collar" only to players who struck out 4 times in a game.


A line drive or ground ball batted directly back to the pitcher.


The advanced skill of a pitcher's ability to throw a pitch where he intends to. Contrast with control, which is just the ability to throw strikes; command is the ability to hit particular spots in or out of the strike zone. Also see location.

complete game[edit]

A complete game (denoted by CG) is the act of a pitcher pitching an entire game himself, without the benefit of a relief pitcher. A complete game can be either a win or a loss. A complete game can be awarded to a pitcher even if he pitches less than (or more than) nine innings, as long as he pitches the entire game.

complete game shut out[edit]

A complete game shut out (CGSO) occurs when a pitcher throws a complete game and does not allow the other team to score.

contact hitter[edit]

A hitter who does not strike out often. Thus, he's usually able to make contact with the ball and put it in play. This doesn't mean he's necessarily a pitty-patty slap hitter. He may hit for power, but typically with more doubles/triples instead of home runs. Pete Rose, Tony Gwynn, and Wade Boggs are all excellent examples of contact hitters.

contact pitcher[edit]

See pitch to contact.

contact play[edit]

When a runner at third base is instructed by a coach to attempt to score as soon as he hears the bat make contact with a pitch, not waiting to learn what kind of contact has been made (fair ball or foul ball, fly ball or ground ball). In such a case, the runner is told to "run on contact". This play would typically occur when the game is close or the bases are loaded. More generally, "Baserunners 'run on contact' when there are two outs, since there is nothing to lose if the ball is caught or the batter is thrown out."[71]

control artist[edit]

A pitcher who gives up very few bases on balls or has excellent command of his pitches. Also known as a control pitcher.


A pitch that is easy to hit. Conversely, in the case where the first pitch is a strike and the second pitch is a ball, the second may be the result of a pitcher's missing his spot; the pitcher responds by throwing a cookie to regain control.[72]


A metonym for the Hall of Fame, located in Cooperstown, New York. A player or manager "on his way to Cooperstown" is one thought destined for induction into the Hall of Fame.

corked bat[edit]

A bat in which cork (or possibly rubber or some other elastic material) has been inserted into the core of the wooden barrel. Although modifying a bat in this way may help to increase bat speed or control by making the bat lighter, contrary to popular belief it does not impart more energy to the batted ball.[73] A batter could achieve a similar effect by choking up on the bat or using a shorter bat. A player who is caught altering his bat illegally is subject to suspension or other penalties. The last such case in Major League Baseball involved the slugger Sammy Sosa.[74]


  • When runners are "at the corners", they are at first base and third base on the baseball diamond, with no runner on second base.
  • The "corners of the plate" are the inside and outside edges of home plate. Some pitchers live on the corners or just nibble on them. Others are skilled at "painting the corners".

corner outfielder[edit]

The left fielder and right fielder are corner outfielders.


A corner infielder, or an infielder who plays third or first base.


The number of balls and strikes a batsman has in his current at-bat. Usually announced as a pair of numbers, for instance "3–0" (pronounced "three and oh"), with the first number being the number of balls and the second being the number of strikes. A 3–2 count – one with the maximum number of balls and strikes in a given at bat – is referred to as a full count. A count of 1–1 or 2–2 is called even, although the pitcher is considered to have the advantage on a 2–2 pitch because he can still throw another ball without consequence, whereas another strike means the batter is out. A batter is said to be ahead in the count (and a pitcher behind in the count) if the count is 1–0, 2–0, 2–1, 3–0, or 3–1. A batter is said to be behind in the count (and a pitcher ahead in the count) if the count is 0–1, 0–2, or 1–2.


A pitcher who is easy for a particular batter to hit.[citation needed]

covering a base[edit]

  • Part of the infielders' job is to cover bases. That is, stand next to a base in anticipation of receiving the ball from another fielder, then make a play on a baserunner who is approaching that base. On a force play or an appeal play, the fielder covering a base stands with one foot on that base when he catches the ball.
  • When a fielder goes to make a play at a base that is not his position (usually because the fielder for that base is unavailable to catch the ball at that base because he is busy fielding the batted ball). A common example is when the first baseman fields a batted ground ball, but is too far from the base to put the runner out. The pitcher runs over to "cover" first base to take the throw from the first baseman (play would be scored as "3-1", meaning first baseman to pitcher).

crack of the bat[edit]

  • The sound of the bat hitting the ball. The term is used in baseball to mean "immediately, without hesitation". For example, a baserunner may start running "on the crack of the bat", as opposed to waiting to see where the ball goes.
  • Outfielders often use the sound of bat-meeting-ball as a clue to how far a ball has been hit. As physicist Robert Adair has written, "When a baseball is hit straight at an outfielder he cannot quickly judge the angle of ascent and the distance the ball will travel. If he waits until the trajectory is well defined, he has waited too long and will not be able to reach otherwise catchable balls. If he starts quickly, but misjudges the ball such that his first step is wrong (in for a long fly or back for a short fly), the turn-around time sharply reduces his range and he will again miss catchable balls. To help his judgment, the experienced outfielder listens to the sound of the wooden bat hitting the ball. If he hears a 'crack' he runs out, if he hears a 'clunk' he runs in."[75]
  • Similarly, with metal bats, the outfielders have to learn to distinguish a "ping" from a "plunk".


A small baseball field considered to be friendly to power hitters and unfriendly to pitchers. A bandbox. (see: Baker Bowl)


A player or team with power and exceptional skill.


Another term for a control pitcher. Greg Maddux was a crafty pitcher.


To hit a ball for extra bases, typically a home run. "Jeter cranked a homer to left to make it 6–5."[76] Also, a turn of the century (19th century) euphemism for baseball spectators, referring to the cranking of the turnstiles as they pass into the ballpark.


A method of defending against a bunt in which the first and third basemen charge towards the batter to field the ball, the second baseman covers first base, and the shortstop covers second or third, depending on where the lead runner is going. May also refer more generally to the action of any infielder charging towards the batter on a bunt.

crooked number[edit]

A number other than a zero or a one, referring to the appearance of the actual number. A team which is able to score two or more runs in an inning is said to "hang a crooked number" on the scoreboard or on the pitcher.


A home run that is clearly going out as soon as it is hit. It is referred to in this manner because it is disturbing to the pitcher like some type of creature.

crossed up[edit]

  • When a catcher calls for the pitcher to throw one type of pitch (e.g., a fastball) but the pitcher throws another (e.g., a curveball), the catcher has been crossed up. This may lead to a passed ball, allowing a runner on base to advance. "Barrett's passed ball allowed the last of three runs to score in the fifth as the Reds increased their lead to 7–2. Williams' pitch crossed him up. 'I was looking for a sinker and it cut away from me', Barrett said. 'I had a play at the plate, but my shin guard stuck in the grass. It was a frustrating day.'"[77]
  • When a batter has been set up to expect a certain type of pitch but instead receives a different one, he may be crossed up, perhaps leading to a weakly hit ball or a swing and a miss.

crowd the hitter[edit]

When a pitcher throws the ball toward the inside part of the plate, he may be trying to "crowd the hitter" by making it difficult for him to extend his arms and get a full swing at the pitch.

crowd the plate[edit]

When a batter sets his stance extremely close to the plate, sometimes covering up part of the strike zone. This angers pitchers and, if done repeatedly, can lead to a brush-back pitch or even a beanball being thrown at the batter to clear the plate. "I am fully aware that when you crowd the plate, you're going to get a high heater."[78]

crush the ball[edit]

  • A batter who hits a ball extremely hard and far might be said to crush the ball, as if he had destroyed the baseball or at least changed its shape. Related expressions are crunched the ball or mashed the ball. Indeed, a slugger is sometimes described as a masher. Illustration: "Though the 25-year-old has impressed with two homers in five games, he's more of a pure hitter than a masher."
  • Other types of baseball destruction include knocking the stuffing out of the ball and knocking the horsehide [cover] off the ball.

cue the ball[edit]

When a ball is hit off the end of the bat, the batter may be said to have "cued the ball" (as if he hit it with a pool cue). "Kendrick took third on a broken-bat ground-out and scored on a cued grounder to first base by Ryan Shealy ..."[79]

cup of coffee[edit]

A short time spent by a minor league player at the major league level. The idea is that the player was there only long enough to have a cup of coffee. It can also be used to describe a very brief stay (less than a season) with a major league club.


A pitch that curves or breaks from a straight or expected flight path toward home plate. Also called simply "a curve".


  • A swing of the bat.
  • To be removed from the roster or from the team.

cut fastball[edit]

A cut fastball or cutter is a fastball that has lateral movement. A "cut fastball" is similar to a slider that is more notable for its speed than its lateral movement.

cut down on his swing[edit]

When a batter reduces the amplitude of his swing, either by choking up on the bat or just by starting his swing less far behind his head, he "cuts down on his swing", thereby helping him to get his bat around faster. Also "shorten his swing". "Guerrero swung so hard during an 0-for-5 night Tuesday he looked as if he might come right out of his spikes. So, Hatcher suggested Wednesday that Guerrero widen his stance slightly, a move that forces hitters to cut down on their swing a bit."[80]

cut the ball off[edit]

When a ball is hit in the gap between outfielders, a fielder often has to make a choice whether to run toward the fence to catch or retrieve the ball or to run toward the ball and try to field it before it gets by him and reaches the fence. In the latter case, he's said to "cut the ball off" because he's trying to shorten the path of the ball. "When Granderson drifted towards left-center field on Carlos Peña's fifth-inning line drive, he wasn't heading that direction to make a catch. He was preparing to field it on the bounce. 'I was actually getting into position to cut the ball off', Granderson said after the Tigers' 11–7 loss to the Rays Monday afternoon. 'I didn't think I was going to have a chance to catch it.' "[81]


A defensive tactic where a fielder moves into a position between the outfielder who has fielded the batted ball and the base where a play can be made. This fielder is said to "cut off" the throw or to be the "cut-off man". This tactic increases accuracy over long distances and shortens the time required to get a ball to a specific place. It also gives the cut-off man the choice of putting out a trailing runner trying to advance on the throw if he thinks it impossible to make the play at home. Missing the cut-off (man) is considered a mistake by an outfielder (though not scored as an error) because it may allow a runner to advance or to score.

cut-off man[edit]

A fielder who "cuts off" a long throw to an important target. Often the shortstop, second baseman, or first baseman will be the "cut-off man" for a long throw from the outfield to third base or home plate. "Hit the cut-off man" is a common admonition from a coach.


See hit for the cycle.


daisy cutter[edit]

Old-fashioned term for a hard-hit ground ball, close enough to the grass to theoretically lop the tops off any daisies that might be growing on the field.


The erratic movement of a well-thrown knuckleball. "Hopefully his knuckler doesn't dance, and hangs a little, or we're in trouble."

dark one[edit]

A pitch that is difficult to see, much less hit. "Throw him the dark one" is an encouragement to the pitcher, typically given with two strikes, to throw a strike past the batter.

dead arm[edit]

When a normally effective or dominant pitcher seems unable to throw as hard as he usually does, he may be said to have a "dead arm". "If you have watched the radar gun when Carlos Zambrano has pitched this month, you know something's not right. The problem, the Cubs right-hander said Saturday, is that he's going through a 'dead arm' phase."[82]

dead ball[edit]

The ball becomes "dead" (i.e., the game's action is stopped) after a foul ball and in cases of fan or player interference, umpire interference with a catcher, and several other specific situations. When the ball is dead, no runners may advance beyond bases they are entitled to, and no runners may be put out. The ball becomes "live" again when the umpire signals that play is to resume.

dead-ball era[edit]

The period between 1903 and 1918, just prior to the Live Ball Era, when the composition of the baseball along with other rules tended to limit the offense, and the primary batting strategy was the inside game. Hitting a home run over the fence was a notable achievement.

dead pull hitter[edit]

A pull hitter is a batter who generally hits the ball to the same side as which he bats. That is, for a right-handed batter, who bats from the left side of the plate, will hit the ball to left field. Hitters are often referred to as dead pull if they rarely do anything other than pull the ball. A contemporary example of a dead pull hitter is Jason Giambi.

dead red[edit]

If a batter is "sitting/looking dead red" on a pitch, this means he was looking for a pitch (typically a fastball), and received it, usually hitting a home run or base hit.


  • Delivery of a pitch, commonly used by play-by-play announcers as the pitcher releases the ball, e.g., "Smith deals to Jones."
  • Pitching effectively, e.g., "Smith is really dealing tonight."

decided in the last at bat[edit]

A team's games "decided in the last at bat" are those with a winning team scoring the go-ahead or winning run in its last offensive inning. In this case, "at bat" is the team's time at the plate, constituting three outs (not to be confused with an individual at bat). See also walk-off.

deep in the count[edit]

Whenever a third ball has been called, (3-0, 3-1, or 3-2 count), the situation favors the batter. "In his fourth start after missing two months following elbow surgery, Robertson … went deep in the count against many hitters but allowed just five hits and two earned runs in five innings."[83]


See fielder.

defensive efficiency rating[edit]

A sabermetric concept: the rate at which balls put into play are converted into outs by a team's defense.[84] An analogous concept is used in the analysis of other team sports, including basketball and football. It is figured this way in baseball: 1-(((H+ROE)-HR)/(PA-(SO+HBP+HR))) where H=Hits allowed, ROE=opposing team's reached base on error, HR=home runs allowed, PA=opposing team's number of plate appearances, SO=team's pitching strikeouts, and HBP=pitcher's hit-by-pitch.

defensive indifference[edit]

When the defense allows a baserunner to advance one or more bases. The runner then does not get credit for a stolen base because the base was "given" not "stolen". The defense may allow this in the ninth inning with a large lead, where the focus is on inducing the final batters to make outs.


  • To deliver is to pitch. Announcer: "Koufax delivers ... Strike three!!!"
  • Delivery is the basic arm angles of pitchers, e.g., overhand delivery, sidearm delivery. This is in contrast to cricket, in which the term "delivery" is akin to type of pitch in baseball.

designated for assignment[edit]

A process that allows a player to be removed from his team's 40-man roster.

designated hitter[edit]

The designated hitter (DH) is a player who permanently hits in the place of a defensive player (typically the pitcher) and whose only role in the game is to hit. The American League has used the DH since 1973, while the National League did not permanently adopt the role until 2022.


From playing cards, where the "2" card is conventionally called the "deuce".

deuces wild[edit]

When a large quantity of the number "2" appears on the scoreboard at the same time: 2 baserunners, 2 outs, 2 balls and 2 strikes on the batter. Derived from the poker phrase "deuces are wild". Often used by Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully.


An abbreviation of designated for assignment.


Designated hitter

dial long distance[edit]

To hit a home run. Headline: "Sox Sluggers Dial Long Distance—Ramirez, Ortiz Each Crank Two-Run Homers."[85] The phrase is sometimes stated as "Dial 9 for long distance."

dialed up[edit]

Referring to a fastball. "He dialed up that pitch."


The layout of the four bases in the infield. It's actually a square 90 feet (27 m) on each side, but from the stands it resembles a parallelogram or "diamond".


A fly ball is said to die if it travels a shorter distance from home plate than initially expected due to wind or other aerodynamic factors. Not to be confused with dead ball.

dig it out[edit]

  • To field a ball on or near the ground. Usually a first baseman taking a low throw from another infielder. To "dig it out of the dirt".
  • To run hard through first base on a close ground ball play in an attempt to beat the throw.

dinged (up)[edit]

Injured; often used in reference to persistent minor injuries.


A home run.


A home run.


To trip or fall in the outfield or on the base paths. A blown save may also be referred to as a dirt-nap.

disabled list[edit]

A means by which Major League teams may temporarily remove injured players from their active roster. Another player can then be called up as a replacement during this time. The term "disabled list" was replaced by "injured list" prior to the 2019 MLB season.


  • The Hitter (Batter) stands off the dish [Home Plate].
  • Home plate. "The catcher settles in behind the dish."
  • A pitch, particularly a good one. "Here comes the dish (the pitch)", or "He's really dishing it (pitching well) tonight."

diving over the plate[edit]

When a batter tends to lean in toward the plate so he can more easily hit a ball that is on the outside of the strike zone, he is said to be "diving over the plate" or "diving for the pitch". To protect the strike zone, a pitcher may respond to this by pitching the ball inside, perhaps with a "purpose pitch". "Now Glavine has an equalizer with his cutter. He can bore it into the hands of righthanders to keep them from diving over the plate with impunity at his sinker and changeup."[86]


The disabled list. Sometimes used as a verb, as in "Wood was DL'ed yesterday."

doctoring the ball[edit]

Applying a foreign substance to the ball or otherwise altering it in order to put an unnatural spin on a pitch. Examples: By applying Vaseline or saliva (a spitball), or scuffing with sandpaper, emery board (an emery ball), or by rubbing vigorously to create a shiny area of the ball (a shineball). All of these became illegal beginning in the 1920 season, helping to end the dead-ball era. (Official Rules of Baseball, Rule 8.02(a).) In practice, there are ambiguities about what kinds of things a pitcher can legally do.[87]
A number of famous cases of doctoring the bat have also occurred in the Major Leagues. See corked bat.


  • A slang term for the pitcher hitting the batter with a pitched ball (knockdown pitch), either intentionally or accidentally. If a player "shows up" a pitcher (taking a long time to circle the bases or having an excessive celebration after a home run), if an important player on a team is struck by a pitch, or a player violates of one of baseballs unwritten rules, the offending player can expect to get "dotted" the next time he is at bat as a form of intimidation or correction of the perceived offense. Another of the "unwritten rules" is the "dotting" done by the pitcher should be below chest level on the batter to minimize risk of injury as a higher pitch risks injuries to the hands or even the head. Pitching higher is known as "head hunting" or "buzzing the tower", and puts the pitcher at risk of actual violence by the other team.
  • When a pitcher is throwing strikes on the corners of the strike zone, it is said he is dotting the corners.


A hit where the batter makes it safely to second base before the ball can be returned to the infield. Also a two-base hit.

double clutch[edit]

When a fielder – usually an infielder or a catcher – draws his arm back twice before throwing he's said to "double clutch". This hesitation often leads to a delayed or late throw, allowing runners to advance a base. The term is borrowed from a method of shifting gears on an automotive vehicle.

double parked[edit]

A pitcher who is getting a lot of quick outs. Implies that he has parked his car illegally and is trying to get back to it and avoid a ticket, and this is why he is keen to get outs quickly.

double play[edit]

  • A play by the defense where two offensive players are put out as a result of continuous action resulting in two outs. A typical example is the 6-4-3 double play.
  • The double play combination (or DP combo) on a team consists of the shortstop and the second baseman, because these players are the key players in a 6-4-3 or 4-6-3 double play. They are also sometimes called sackmates because they play either side of second base (also known as second sack).

'Roll a bump' is a colloquial east coast slang for turning a 1-6-3 double play or a 1-4-3 double play.

double play depth[edit]

A defensive tactic that positions the middle infielders to be better prepared for a double play at the expense of positioning for a hit to the third-base side.

double steal[edit]

Two runners attempt to simultaneously steal a base. Typically this is seen when runners who are on first and second make an attempt to steal second and third. Another common example is when a runner on first steals second, enticing the catcher to throw down to second so the runner on third can then steal home.

double switch[edit]

The double switch is a type of player substitution that allows a manager to make a pitching substitution and defensive (fielding) substitution while at the same time improving the team's offensive (batting) lineup. This is most effectively used when a pitcher needs to be replaced while his team is on defense, and his turn to bat is coming up in his team's next offensive try. Rather than replace the pitcher with another pitcher, a position player (one who recently batted in his team's last offensive try) is replaced with a new pitcher, and the outgoing pitcher is replaced by a player able to play the position of the outgoing position player. The two subs then trade to their natural defensive roles but keep the batting order positions of those they replaced so that when the team next comes up to bat, it is the newly subbed position player who hits during the turn of the vacated pitcher, and the new pitcher does not have to hit until the outgoing position player's turn comes again. The double switch is primarily used by leagues that do not use designated hitters, such as Japan's Central League, or the National League prior to 2022.

double up[edit]

  • When a runner becomes the second out in a double play, he may be said to have been doubled up (or doubled off). This could be a batter who has hit into a double play or a runner who is caught off base when a fielder catches a ball and throws behind the runner to a fielder who touches the base to complete a double play (hence "doubling up" the runner).
  • A team that wins a doubleheader may be described as having doubled up their opponent: "Royals double up Blue Jays".[88] Also refers to winning by exactly double the amount of runs of the opponent, such as an 8–4 or 6–3 score.


When two games are played by the same two teams on the same day. When the games are played late in the day, they are referred to as a "twilight-night" or "twinight" doubleheader. When one game is played in the afternoon and one in the evening (typically with separate admission fees), it is referred to as a "day-night" doubleheader. A doubleheader can also be referred to as a Twinbill. In minor league and college baseball, doubleheader games are often scheduled for seven innings rather than the standard nine for a regulation game.
According to the Dickson dictionary, the term is thought to derive from a railroading term for using two joined engines (a "double header") to pull an exceptionally long train.

doubles hitter[edit]

A gap hitter.


Put out. "One down" means one out has been made in the inning (two more to go in the inning). "One up (and) one down" means the first batter in the inning was out. "Two down" means two outs have been made in the inning (one more to go). "Two up (and) two down": the first two batters of the inning were retired (made outs). "Three up, three down": side retired in order.

down the line[edit]

On the field near the foul lines, often refers to the location of batted balls.

down the middle[edit]

Over the middle portion of home plate, often refers to the location of pitches. Also referred to as down the pipe, down the pike, down Main Street, down Broadway, and, in Atlanta, down Peachtree. Very different from up the middle.

down the stretch[edit]

When a team is approaching the end of the season in pursuit of the pennant or championship, it is heading down the stretch. Perhaps this derives from horse racing or automobile racing in which competitors come out of the final turn of the track and are heading down the home stretch toward the finish line. "Detroit provided more than enough offense for Fister, who was terrific down the stretch after the Tigers acquired him in a trade with Seattle shortly before the July 31 deadline."[89]

DP combo[edit]

A slang term for a shortstop and second baseman combination, as primary executors of double plays. They are also occasionally referred to as sackmates. Generally speaking, only the best sets of middle infielders get called DP combos.

drag bunt[edit]

A bunt in which a left-handed hitter lays down a bunt out of the reach of the pitcher and toward the right side of the infield, in hopes that he will safely reach first base. Often such a bunt has an element of surprise to take advantage of the batter's speed and the fact that the first baseman and second baseman are playing their positions back. The batter may even take a stride toward first base as he bunts the ball, thereby appearing to drag the ball with him as he runs toward first base.


A batter who gets called balls is sometimes said to have "drawn a ball" or "drawn a walk". "After a brief pause to put specially marked baseballs in play, Bonds drew ball one and ball two – with boos raining down on VandenHurk - before a called first strike. Then, the 96 mph fastball was gone – a drive estimated at 420 feet."[90]

drawn in[edit]

  • When the outfield plays closer to the infield to prevent fly balls from dropping between them and the infielders, they are said to be "drawn in". This typically happens when the game is close in the final inning, and with less than two outs, and the defensive team wants to prevent the offense from getting base hits that might score the winning run (while conceding that a long fly ball might score a run even if the ball is caught in the outfield).
  • The infield may also be drawn in if there is a runner on third base with less than two outs, so that the infielders may field a ground ball and attempt to throw out the runner at the plate.
  • A single infielder, typically the third baseman or the first baseman may also play "in" when it's anticipated that a batter may attempt to make a sacrifice bunt.


A poorly hit grounder that gains little distance and consists of several hops; sometimes used synonymously with tapper[91]


Hit by a pitch, plunked.


  • A line drive (noun).
  • To hit a line drive (verb). "Magglio drove the ball to center."
  • To make hits that produce RBIs. "Tejada drove him home from second." "Ramirez drove in three."


drop ball[edit]

drop off the table[edit]

A pitched ball, usually a curveball, that breaks extremely sharply.

dropped third strike[edit]

A dropped third strike occurs when the catcher fails to cleanly catch a pitch which is a third strike (either because the batter swings and misses it or because the umpire calls it). The pitch is considered not cleanly caught if the ball touches the dirt before being caught, or if the ball is dropped after being caught. On a dropped third strike, the strike is called (and a pitcher gets credited with a strike-out), but the umpire indicates verbally that the ball was not caught, and does not call the batter out. If first base is not occupied at the time (or, with two outs, even with first base occupied), the batter can then attempt to reach first base prior to being tagged or thrown out. Given this rule, it is possible for a pitcher to record more than three strike-outs in an inning.

duck snort[edit]

A softly hit ball that goes over the infielders and lands in the outfield for a hit. Originally called a "duck fart",[citation needed] the term was popularized by White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson to make it more family friendly.

ducks on the pond[edit]

Runners on second or third base, but especially when the bases are loaded. "His batting average is .350 when there are ducks on the pond."


A batter is said to be "due" when he's been in a hitting slump, but he usually hits for a fair or better average. Example: "Paul Konerko is 0-for-3 today, he's due for a hit." This is a baseball version of the Gambler's fallacy.


The home team's dugout at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 2017
The dugout is where a team's bench is located. With the exception of relief pitchers in the bullpen, active players who are not on the field watch the play from the dugout. A dugout is the area being slightly depressed below field level, as is common in professional baseball. There is typically a boundary, often painted yellow, defining the edges of the dugout, to help the umpire make certain calls, such as whether an overthrown ball is considered to be "in the bench" or not. The rule book still uses the term bench, as there is no requirement that it be "dug out" or necessarily below field level. The original benches typically were at field level, with or without a little roof for shade. As ballpark design progressed, box seats were built closer to the field, lowering the height of the grandstand railing, and compelling the dugout approach to bench construction.


A player who bunts the ball may be said to dump a bunt. "Polanco dumped a bunt down the third base line." See also lay down. A right handed hitter dumps a bunt to third and pushes the bunt to first. A left handed hitter drags the ball to first and pushes the bunt to third

duster, dust-off pitch[edit]

A pitch, often a brush-back, thrown so far inside that the batter drops to the ground ("hits the dust") to avoid it. Somewhat contradictorily, on the same play the pitcher may be said to have "dusted off" the batter.

dying quail[edit]

A batted ball that drops in front of the outfielders for a hit, often unexpectedly (like a shot bird). Also known as a blooper, a li'l looper, a chinker, a bleeder, or a gork.



See earned run average.

early innings[edit]

The first three innings of a regulation nine-inning game.

earned run[edit]

Any run for which the pitcher is held accountable (i.e., the run did not score as a result of a fielding error or a passed ball). Primarily used to calculate the earned run average. In determining earned runs, an error charged to a pitcher is treated exactly like an error charged to any other fielder. Some pitchers, notably Ed Lynch, referred to earned runs as "earnies".

earned run average[edit]

In baseball statistics, earned run average is the mean of earned runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings pitched. It is determined by dividing the number of earned runs allowed by the number of innings pitched and multiplying by nine. Runs resulting from defensive errors are recorded as unearned runs and omitted from ERA calculations.


An earned run. "The unlucky loser was Carson Wheeler, who gave up six earnies in one plus innings of work."[94]

easy out[edit]

A reminder to the defensive team that when there are two outs only one more is needed to end the inning, and therefore they should get the easiest out possible. "Let's go D, two away, get the easy out." An easy out is also a weak-hitting batter, usually at the bottom of the order.

eat the ball[edit]

The action of fielding a batted ball (usually cleanly or almost so) but holding on to it rather than attempting to make a throw to a base to retire a runner. This is usually done because the fielder believes there is little chance of retiring the runner and that it would be preferable to allow the runner to reach one base unchallenged rather than risk committing an error that might allow the runner to advance additional bases. The phrase is usually used only to describe the action of an infielder, catcher, or pitcher. "That slow roller didn't get past a diving Scutaro, but he decided to eat the ball rather than risk a throw to nip the quick-running Gardner." Also commonly used in the past-tense. "The charging third baseman Cabrera ate the ball after that great bunt from Juan Pierre."[citation needed]


A very slow pitch with a high arcing trajectory. Invented by 1930s Pittsburgh Pirates hurler Rip Sewell, it is a part of Phillies pitcher Jose Contreras' repertoire; thrown very rarely to fool a hitter's timing. It is best used sparingly, because it can be very easy to hit without the element of surprise. Ted Williams said the game-winning home run that he hit off of Sewell in the 1946 All-Star Game was his greatest thrill in baseball.


A player or coach who is disqualified from the game by an umpire for unsportsmanlike conduct. Synonyms include: tossed, thrown out, banished, chased, given the thumb, given the (ol') heave-ho, kicked out, booted, run, sent to the clubhouse.

elephant ear(s)[edit]

When the lining of a player's pockets are sticking out of the pockets.

emergency hack[edit]

A late and often awkward defensive swing at a pitch that usually appears to be a ball but breaks late into the strike zone.

emergency starter[edit]

When a pitcher who is normally a reliever or in the minor leagues is called on to start the game on short notice because the originally scheduled starter is injured or ill. Illustration: "With Chan Ho Park sidelined indefinitely by what was diagnosed as anemia, Mike Thompson is expected to get the call yet again as the emergency starter, arriving via Portland, where he has spent the past 10 days with the Triple-A Beavers."[95]

emery ball[edit]

A baseball that has been scuffed by an emery board. A method for a pitcher to doctor the ball; illegal since 1920. Also known as a scuff ball.


A runner who is already safely on a base is "erased" by being thrown out.


  • An error is a fielder's misplay which allows a batter or baserunner to reach one or more additional bases when, in the judgment of the official scorer, that advance could have been prevented by ordinary effort. An error is also charged when a fielder fails to catch a foul fly ball that could have been caught with ordinary effort. The term error can also refer to the play in which an error was committed. Because the pitcher and catcher handle the ball so much, some misplays by them are called a "wild pitch" or a "passed ball", and are not counted as errors.
  • SYNONYMS: bobble, blooper, muff, miscue, flub, kick or boot ("Lopez kicked the grounder"; "Johnson booted it".)

even count[edit]

1-1 or 2-2. See count.

everyday player[edit]

  • A position player, as opposed to a pitcher who may play only every few days. Sometimes a talented prospect who is a good pitcher but an outstanding hitter will be encouraged to focus on playing another position and thereby become an everyday player to take advantage of his hitting.
  • A position player who's a regular in the starting line-up in virtually every game, as opposed to either:
    • a platoon player who plays only against pitchers of the opposite hand.
    • a substitute who begins most games on the bench or only occasionally starts games to spell the regular starting player at his position. Sometimes these players are referred to as bench players or role players. They may also take on pinch hitting or pinch running assignments.

Evil Empire[edit]

A common nickname for the New York Yankees due to its wealth and winning by far the most championships. This nickname is used especially by fans of the Boston Red Sox and by fans of other teams to a lesser extent. Even some Yankees fans have been known to call themselves and their team the "Evil Empire" as a badge of honor.

excuse me swing[edit]

When a batter inadvertently hits the ball during a check swing. Contrast with swinging bunt.

expand the strike zone[edit]

When a pitcher gets ahead in the count, he "expands the strike zone" because the hitter is more likely to swing at a pitch that is at the edge or out of the strike zone or in some other location where he can't hit it. "Ideally, a pitcher is going to try and get ahead in the count and when this happens the pitcher has effectively 'expanded the strike zone' since the batter is now on the defensive and will be more prone to chase pitches outside the strike zone."[96]

expanded roster[edit]

A Major League term for the larger roster of players that can be used under specific circumstances, such as when gaining an extra player on days of a double header or the previous (before 2019) controversial practice when major league rosters could expand from 25 to up to 40 players on September 1.

extend the arms[edit]

When a batter is able to hit a pitch that is at a comfortable distance from his body, he is said to have "extended his arms", which allows a full swing and hitting the ball harder. "J. D. Martinez has hit two homers in three career at-bats off Allen, who was trying to protect a 2–1 lead against the middle of Detroit's vaunted lineup. 'I was just overthrowing it', Allen said. 'I just didn't make pitches when I had to. One pitch – J. D. Martinez got extended on a fastball and hit it very hard.'"[97]

extra bases[edit]

Any bases gained by a batter beyond first base on a hit. So doubles count for one "extra base", triples for two, and home runs for three. These kinds of hits are referred to as "extra base hits" and improve a batter's slugging percentage.

extra innings[edit]

Additional innings needed to determine a winner if a game is tied after the regulation number of innings (nine at the college/professional level, seven at high school level, six in Little League). Also known as bonus baseball or free baseball because paying spectators are witnessing more action than normal. It is sometimes, but not commonly, referred to as "overtime" as a play on other team sports.

extra frames[edit]

See extra innings. Also see frame.

extra out[edit]

When a team makes a mistake on a defensive play that should have been an easy out, the team is said to have given its opponent an "extra out". "'There were a couple of innings where we gave them extra outs,' Wedge said. 'They may not be errors, but we're not making plays.'"[98]


Baseball slang for the concept of “fake hustle” or “working hard for the appearance of working hard”.[99]


fall classic[edit]

The World Series—the championship series of Major League Baseball, in which the champion of the American League faces off against the champion of the National League. Typically, this series takes place in October, so playing in October is the goal of any major league team. Reggie Jackson's moniker "Mr. October" indicates that he played with great distinction in the World Series for the Yankees. Another Yankee, Derek Jeter, picked up the nickname "Mr. November" after he hit a walk-off home run in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series just after midnight local time on November 1. By comparison, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner's dubbing another of his players (Dave Winfield) "Mr. May" expressed his disappointment with that player's performance in the Fall Classic.

The one time the Fall Classic was actually played in the summer was 1918, when the season was curtailed due to World War I and the Series was played in early September.

The first time the Fall Classic extended in to November was in 2001. Jeter's walk-off homer was the first plate appearance in the month of November in MLB history; the 2001 season had been delayed for several days following 9/11, eventually pushing the start of the World Series into the last week of October – and the end of the Series in to November. The 2009, 2010, and 2015–17 World Series would subsequently have games in November.

fall off the table[edit]

A pitch is said to "fall off the table" when it starts in the strike zone or appears hittable to the batter and ends low or in the dirt. This term is mainly used for change ups and split-fingered fastballs, and occasionally for an overhand curveball.


To "fan" a batter is to strike him out, especially a swinging strike three.

fan interference[edit]

When a fan or any person not associated with one of the teams alters play in progress (in the judgment of an umpire), it is fan interference. The ball becomes dead, and the umpire will award any bases or charge any outs that, in his judgment, would have occurred without the interference. This is one of several types of interference calls in baseball.

If a fan touches a ball that is out of the field of play, such as a pop fly into the stands, it is not considered to be fan interference even if a defensive player might have fielded the ball successfully. So the infamous case in Game 6 of the NLCS in which a Chicago Cubs fan, Steve Bartman, attempted to catch a ball in foul territory thereby possibly preventing Cubs left fielder Moisés Alou from making a circus catch, was not a case of fan interference.

fancy Dan[edit]

A fielder who puts an extra flourish on his movements while making a play in hopes of gaining the approval of the spectators.[100][101] Wilbert Robinson was manager when Al López started out as a catcher in the majors. Robinson watched Lopez' style and finally hollered, "Tell that punk he got two hands to catch with! Never mind the Fancy Dan stuff." Lopez went on to eventually surpass Robinson's record of games behind the plate.

farm team[edit]

A farm team is a team or club whose role it is to provide experience and training for young players, with an expectation that successful players will move to the big leagues at some point. Each Major League Baseball team's organization has a farm system of affiliated farm teams at different minor league baseball levels.


A pitch that is thrown more for high velocity than for movement; it is the most common type of pitch. Also known as smoke, a bullet, a heater (the heat generated by the ball can be felt), the express (as opposed to the local, an offspeed pitch), or a hummer (the ball cannot be seen, only heard).

fastball count[edit]

A count in which the pitcher would be ordinarily expected to throw a fastball, such as 3–1, 3–2, or 2–1, as fast ball are usually easiest to locate in the strike zone. Occasionally a pitcher will pull the string by throwing an off-speed pitch.

fastball happy[edit]

When a pitcher relies too much on his fastball, perhaps because his other pitches are not working well for him during that game, he is said to be "fastball happy". This can get a pitcher into trouble if the batters can anticipate that the next pitch will be a fastball. "Andy is at his best when he trusts his breaking stuff and doesn't try to overpower guys. When he gets fastball happy he gets knocked around."[102]

fat pitch[edit]

A pitch that is located exactly where the hitter is expecting it. The ball may look bigger than it actually is, and the batter may hit it a long way.


To throw the ball carefully to another fielder in a way that allows him to make an out. A first-baseman who has just fielded a ground ball will "feed the ball" to the pitcher who is running over from the mound to make the force out at first base. An infielder who has fielded a ground-ball will feed the ball to the player covering second base so the latter can step on the base and quickly throw to first base to complete a double play.


A slugger.


  • A baseball field or baseball diamond upon which the game of baseball is played.
  • A ballfield, ballpark, or stadium (e.g., Dodger Stadium, Wrigley Field, Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome).
  • To field the ball is to capture or make a play on a ground ball or to catch a fly ball.
  • To take the field means the defensive players are going to their positions, while the other team is on the offense or at bat. "The Reds have taken the field, and Jose Reyes is leading off for the Mets."


Any defensive player (the offense being batters and runners). Often, defensive players are distinguished as either pitchers or position players. Position players are further divided into infielders and outfielders.

field manager[edit]

The head coach of a team is called the manager (more formally, the field manager). He controls team strategy on the field. He sets the line-up and starting pitcher before each game as well as making substitutions throughout the game. In modern baseball the field manager is normally subordinate to the team's general manager (or GM), who among other things is responsible for personnel decisions, including hiring and firing the field manager. However, the term manager used without qualification almost always refers to the field manager.

fielder's choice[edit]

A fielder's choice (FC) is the act of a fielder, upon fielding a batted ball, choosing to try to putout a baserunner and allow the batter-runner to advance to first base. Despite reaching first base safely after hitting the ball, the batter is not credited with a hit but would be charged with an at-bat.

figger filbert[edit]

An old-fashioned and more colorful way of saying "numbers nut", for a fan with a near-obsessive interest in the statistics or "figures" of the game. The first true "figger filbert" was probably Ernest Lanigan, who was the first historian of the Baseball Hall of Fame and prior to that was one of the first, if not the first, to publish an encyclopedia of baseball stats, in the 1920s. In the modern era, Bill James could be said to be the iconic "figger filbert". He is also a founding father of the field of baseball research called sabermetrics.[citation needed]

fight off a pitch[edit]

When a batter has two strikes on him and gets a pitch he cannot hit cleanly, he may be said to "fight off the pitch" by fouling it off. "Langerhans fought off one 3-2 pitch, then drove the next one to the gap in left-center to bring home the tying and winning runs."[103]


A compliment for a pitcher, especially one who specializes in breaking balls with a lot of movement. Also for a particularly impressive breaking ball, especially one thrown for a third strike. Synonymous with "nasty". Bert Blyleven was an example of a pitcher with an absolutely filthy curveball.

find a hole[edit]

To get a base hit by hitting the ball between infielders. "The 13th groundball that Zachry allowed found a hole."[104]

find his bat[edit]

When a batter has been in a slump perhaps for no evident reason, but then starts getting hits, he may be said to have "found his bat". "With the Tigers having found their bats for a night, they reset the series and put themselves in position to all but lock up the AL Central."[105]

find his swing[edit]

When a batter has experienced a slump, he may take extra practice or instruction to "find his swing". Perhaps he has a hitch in his swing, or his batting stance has changed. Having "lost his swing", now he must "find it". This phrase is also used in golf.

find the seats[edit]

As if a ball leaving the bat is in search of a place to land, a ball that "finds the seats" is one that leaves the field of play and reaches the stands. It may either be a home run or a foul ball (out of the reach of the fielders).


A pitcher who throws extremely high-velocity fastballs, in excess of 95 miles per hour. A flamethrower.


A team's top relief pitcher who is often brought in to end an offensive rally and "put out the fire". The term has been attributed to New York Daily News cartoonist Bruce Stark, who in the 1970s first depicted relievers for the New York Mets and Yankees as firemen coming in to save their teams from danger.[106]


A player, often one of small stature, who is known for his energy, extroversion, and team spirit – sometimes perhaps more than for his playing ability. "Morgan defied this mold by outworking everybody and employing his moderate athletic gifts to become one of the best all-around players of his era. He hit for power, he hit for average, he stole bases and manufactured runs and he was one of the toughest, smartest defensive second basemen the game has ever seen. He was a relentless fireplug, respected by opposing players and hated by opposing fans."[107]

first-ball hitter[edit]

A hitter who likes to hit the first pitch in an at bat, especially if the hitter often gets a hit on the first pitch.


When a batter swings at a pitch that is inside and the ball hits the bat close to his fists (hands). "Following the top half of the first, the Bulls offense struck early when junior leftfielder Junior Carlin fisted a pitch back up the middle on a 1–0 count."[108]

five and dive[edit]

A derogatory term referring to a starting pitcher who is unable to go beyond five innings before wearing out. In the current era in which managers are increasingly aware of the risk of injury to pitchers who have high pitch counts, and in which relief pitching has become a critical part of the game, starters achieve fewer and fewer complete games. Headline: "Vasquez Disputes Five-and-Dive Label".[109]

five o'clock hitter[edit]

A hitter who hits really well during batting practice, but not so well during games. These were formerly known as "ten o'clock hitters" or "two-o'clock hitters" back when there were no night games.

five-tool player[edit]

A position player who has great skill in all the tools or basic skills: hitting for average, hitting for power, base running and speed, throwing, and fielding. See tools for how baseball scouts rate these skills.

FL or F.L.[edit]

Abbreviation for Federal League, a major league that existed from 1914 to 1915. This would be the last "third Major League" to come into existence.

flag down[edit]

To catch or knock down a line drive, as if flagging down a speeding train. "Cody Ross, who singled and moved to second on a ground-out, was stranded when Ramírez's scorched liner ... was flagged down by a diving Jones."[110]


A fireballer.


A fly ball hit a short distance into the outfield. "Pudge hit a flare just out of the shortstop's reach."

flashing the leather[edit]

Making an outstanding or difficult defensive play. A player who regularly makes difficult defensive plays may be described as a "leather flasher". See leather.


  • The act of a fielder's softly tossing the ball to a teammate covering a base when the two are so close that making a regular overhand throw would waste time and/or unnecessarily risk an inaccurate throw.
  • A game played in the bullpen by relief pitchers. There are multiple rules and strategies that can be used.


A knuckleball. A pitch that may appear to the batter to float or bob up and down on its way to the plate.

fluke hit[edit]

A base hit that results from a weakly batted ball or one that takes an odd bounce.


A knuckleball, a floater.

fly ball[edit]

A ball hit high in the air. See also pop fly, infield fly, and ground ball.

fly ball pitcher[edit]

A pitcher who tends to induce more fly balls than ground balls. Those pitchers are disadvantageous in that they allow more home runs than any other pitcher.

fly out[edit]

  • An out that results from an outfielder catching a fly ball.
  • A batter whose fly ball is caught in the outfield is said to "fly out". "Rodriguez flew out to center fielder Suzuki." (Past tense "flied" is acceptable.)

force play[edit]

When a runner must advance to another base because the batter becomes a runner and, as such, must advance to first base. In this situation, the runner is out if a fielder with the ball touches the base the runner is being forced to; this is considered a "force out". A play when a fly ball is caught and a fielder touches a base prior to the runner tagging up is not a force play, but an appeal play.


A type of split-finger fastball or splitter in which the fingers are spread out as far as possible. The ball drops sharply and typically out of the strike zone, maybe even into the dirt.

foul ball[edit]

A batted ball that settles into foul territory.

foul lines[edit]

The right field foul line at Rogers Centre

Two straight lines drawn on the ground from home plate to the outfield fence to indicate the boundary between fair territory and foul territory. These are called either the left-field foul line and the right-field foul line, or the third-base foul line and first-base foul line, respectively. The foul poles on the outfield walls are vertical extensions of the foul lines.

Despite their names, both the foul lines and the foul poles are in fair territory. Any fly ball that strikes the foul line (including the foul pole) beyond first or third base is a fair ball (and in the case of the foul pole, a home run).

Note that while the foul lines in baseball are in fair territory, just like the side- and end-lines of a tennis court, in basketball or American football the sidelines are considered out of bounds. In other words, hitting the ball "on the line" is good for the offensive player in baseball and tennis, but stepping on the line is bad for the offensive player in basketball and American football. The situation is slightly different in association football (soccer): the sideline and the goal line are inbounds, and the ball is out of play when it has wholly crossed the side line (touch line) or the goal line, whether on the ground or in the air.

foul off[edit]

Purposely batting a pitch foul with two strikes in order to keep the at-bat going, in part to tire the pitcher and in part to get another, different pitch that might be easier to hit. Luke Appling was said to be the king of "fouling them off". Such a hitter might also be said to be battling or working the pitcher.

foul pole[edit]

A pole located on each foul line on the outfield fence or wall. The left-field foul pole and right-field foul pole are used by umpires to determine whether a batted ball is a home run or a foul ball. The foul pole is a vertical extension of the foul line. The term "foul pole" is actually a misnomer, because the "foul pole" (like the foul line) is in fair territory and a fly ball that hits the foul pole is considered to be a fair ball (and a home run).

foul tip[edit]

A batted ball that is hit sharply and directly from the bat to the catcher's mitt and legally caught by the catcher. It is not a foul tip, as most announcers and journalists mistakenly use the term, if the ball is not caught by the catcher. In this case, it is simply a foul ball. It is also not considered a foul tip if it rebounds off something, like the ground, catcher's mask, the batter, etc. after being struck by the bat but before touching the catcher's mitt. A foul tip is considered in play, not a foul ball, and also counts as a strike, including the third strike (and is also considered a strikeout for the pitcher). It is signalled by the umpire putting his right hand flat in the air and brushing his left hand against it (imitating the ball glancing off the bat) and then using his standard strike call. If the out is not the third out then the ball is alive and in play (unlike on a foul) and runners are in jeopardy if they are trying to advance.


A home run. Note that the 4th "bag" is actually a plate.

four-fingered salute[edit]

An intentional base on balls, from the manager's signal to direct the pitcher to issue one, or to direct the umpire to award the batter first base.

four-seam fastball[edit]

A standard fastball, which does not necessarily break though a good one will have movement as well as velocity and location that makes it difficult to hit. The batter sees the four parallel seams spin toward him. A four-seamer. See two-seamer.


  • As a noun, a frame is half an inning (either the top or the bottom). Announcer: "Two hits, and two runs scored so far in this frame." Also a bowling term, as suggested by the resemblance of an inning-by-inning scoreboard to a bowling scoresheet.
  • As a verb, framing [a pitch] refers to the positioning and/or movement of the catcher's mitt and body when he catches a pitch and the effect this has on the umpire calling a pitch a strike. The boundaries of the strike zone are clearly defined in the rules; however, with many major-league pitches traveling well in excess of 90 mph (140 km/h), or with "moving" pitches such as the curveball and the knuckleball, it is often difficult for an umpire to judge whether a ball went through the strike zone based solely on watching the ball, particularly at the boundaries of the strike zone. Consequently, umpires sometimes unofficially use the catcher's position and/or movement to help judge whether a pitch is a strike. Framing is a catcher's attempt to use this to his team's advantage. For example, on a pitch near the boundary of the strike zone, a catcher might move his mitt a short, subtle distance toward the strike zone within a split second after catching the ball, with the hope that the umpire will call a strike even if it did not go through the strike zone. Conversely, a pitch near the top of the strike zone might be called a ball if the catcher has to rise from his crouched position to catch it, even if it did go through the defined strike zone. Sabermetricians have developed metrics for how well catchers perform in framing pitches.[111]

free baseball[edit]

Slang for extra innings. The fans get to see extra innings "for free".

free pass[edit]

A base on balls. "Free" because the batter does not have to hit the ball to get on base. Also referred to as a "free ticket" and an Annie Oakley.

freeze the hitter[edit]

To throw a strike that is so unexpected or in such a location that the batter doesn't swing at it. "As Cashman spoke, Pettitte fired a strike on the corner, which froze the hitter."[112] "But the right-hander reached in her bag of tricks and threw a tantalizing changeup that froze the hitter for the final out."[113]

friendly confines[edit]

A nickname for Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.

frozen rope[edit]

A hard-hit line drive. Also a strong throw from the outfield.

full count[edit]

A count of 3 balls and 2 strikes; another strike will result in a strikeout, while another ball will result in a walk. At that point, only a foul ball will extend the at-bat.

full house[edit]

  • Three of a kind (three balls), and two of a kind (two strikes): a full count. From the term used in poker. Sometimes called full boat. Instead of holding up fingers indicating the count, the umpire may hold up closed fists, implying "full".
  • Capacity crowd; all seats filled in the stadium. From the theatrical term.


A fly ball hit for fielders to practice catching. It is not part of the game, but is accomplished by a batter tossing the ball a short distance up in the air and then batting it himself.

fungo bat[edit]

A lightweight bat with a long, skinny barrel used to hit fungoes. It is not a legal or safe bat to use in a game or even in practice with a live pitcher, because it is too light.



A player who plays particularly hard (especially with a willingness to sacrifice his body for the play) and is prone to making the right play at the right time, often in big games. Also used to refer to an excellent piece of equipment, such as a glove or mitt.


The space between outfielders. Also alley. A ball hit in the gap is sometimes called a flapper or a gapper. "He's swinging the bat right now better than he has all year, and I'm hoping now some of them turns into gappers", Leyland said.[114]

gap hitter[edit]

Hits with power up the alleys and tends to get a lot of doubles. A doubles hitter.


A fastball. "Give him [the batter] the gas"; as in stepping on a car's gas pedal to accelerate.


A pitcher who gives up runs in bunches or in untimely situations. Named as such because he'd be pouring gas over a fire.

gate receipts[edit]

The gross ticket prices paid by all the customers who passed through the entrance gates for a game or a series. Also referred to simply as "the gate". "There's a big gate awaiting the champions ..."[115]


Abbreviation for game ending double play.

general manager[edit]

The general manager (GM) runs the organization of a baseball team (personnel, finance, and operations). Normally distinct from the field manager and the club owner.


A very well pitched game, almost always a win, in which the pitcher allows few if any hits and at most a run or two. Headline: "Mulder Shakes Off Injury to Pitch Gem".[116]

get a good piece of it[edit]

When swinging a round bat at a round ball, the batter hopes to hit the ball solidly in the center. When he does, he's said to "get a good piece of the ball". "'When you hit in the middle of the order, those are the situations you want', said Cabrera, who leads the major leagues with 116 RBIs. 'He threw me a fastball, and I got a good piece of it.'"[117]

Getaway Day[edit]

Getaway Day (or Getaway Game) refers to the last game of a regular season series (usually on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Sunday afternoon) that sees the visiting team leave town ("get away") after its conclusion, either for the next stop on their road trip or for home. May also refer to the last day of a team's home stand. "MLB's new labor deal requires earlier start times on getaway days."[118]

Getaway Day lineup[edit]

A starting lineup for Getaway Day that features backup players. Usually assembled by a manager so that his regular starers can enjoy a day's rest (especially if they had played the night before), though considerations such as the team's standing in the pennant race may preclude him from making such moves. "The San Francisco Giants completed a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies, even with a getaway day lineup taking the field."[119][120]

get on one's horse[edit]

When a fielder (usually an outfielder) runs extremely fast towards a hard hit ball in an effort to catch it.

get good wood[edit]

To hit a ball hard. A batter who "gets good wood on the ball" or who "gets some lumber on the ball" hits it hard.

get off the schneid[edit]

To break a scoreless, hitless, or winless streak (i.e., a schneid). According to the Dickson Baseball Dictionary, the term "schneid" comes to baseball via gin rummy, and in turn comes from German / Yiddish "schneider", one who cuts cloth, i.e., a tailor.


Statistical abbreviation for grounded into double play.


  • A baseball glove or mitt is a large padded leather glove that players on the defensive team wear to assist them in catching and fielding. Different positions require different shapes and sizes of gloves. The term "mitt" is officially reserved to describe the catcher's mitt and the first-baseman's mitt. By rule, fielders other than the first-baseman and the catcher can wear only conventional gloves (with individual finger slots), not mitts. There is no rule requiring fielders to wear a glove or mitt, but the nature of the game makes it necessary. A fielder may have to catch a ball bare-handed, if he loses his glove in pursuit of a ball or finds himself at the wrong angle to use it.
  • Most batters nowadays wear leather batting gloves to improve their grip and provide a small amount of padding. Base-stealing artists, especially those who practice the head-first hands-first slide, wear specialized sliding gloves.
  • Players generally keep batting and sliding gloves in their pants pockets when not in use, and their fielding gloves in the dugout. At one time, players would leave their fielding gloves on the field; later they carried them in their pants pockets. This illustrates (1) how much larger and baggier uniforms were and (2) how much smaller the gloves were. The adage "two hands while you're learning" was a necessity in the early years, when gloves simply absorbed shock. The glove has since evolved into a much more effective "trap", and one-hand catches are now the norm.
  • Jokes used in movies and cartoons notwithstanding, the rules forbid throwing the glove to "catch", slow down, or even touch a batted ball. When the umpire calls it, the batter is awarded an automatic triple (meaning all runners ahead of him are allowed to score freely); it is also a live ball, and the batter-runner can try for home. Similarly, it is against the rules to use one's cap as a glove, as "All the Way Mae" (Madonna) did in A League of Their Own. Note that it is only against the rules to actually touch the ball with a thrown glove or other equipment; there is no penalty if the ball is not touched.
  • A player who is very skilled at defense is said to have a good glove.


An abbreviation for general manager.

go-ahead run[edit]

The run which puts a team which was behind or tied into the lead. Used particularly with runners on base (e.g., "The Phillies have Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino on base down 4–2; Victorino represents the tying run and Chase Utley is the go-ahead run at the plate.").

go deep[edit]

  • To hit a home run. "Richie Sexson and Kenji Johjima also went deep for the Mariners."[121]
  • A starting pitcher who pitches past the 6th inning is said to "go deep into the game". "Against the White Sox on Thursday, Morrow's command wasn't there. He walked six batters in 5+23 innings, and despite coming one out shy of recording a quality start, he didn't prove yet he's able to pitch deep into games."[122]

go down in order[edit]

  • When the defending team allows no opponent on base in a half-inning, thereby retiring the side facing the minimum three batters, the batting team is said to have gone down in order, the defending team is said to have retired it in order.

go quietly[edit]

  • When a team fails to mount a strong offense, such as going 1–2–3 in an inning, it may be said to have "gone quietly". "Outside of a walk to Mantle after Tresh's clout and a ninth-inning single by Pepitone, the Yankees went quietly the rest of the way."[123]
  • A player who retires without a lot of fanfare or complaining may be said to "go quietly".

go the distance[edit]

See go the route.

go the route[edit]

A pitcher who throws a complete game "goes the route".

go yard[edit]

To "go yard" is to hit a home run, i.e., to hit the ball the length of the baseball field or "ball yard".

going bridge[edit]

One more way to say "hit a home run".

gold glove[edit]

The major league player chosen as the best in his league at fielding his position is given a Gold Glove Award.

golden sombrero[edit]

One who strikes out four times in one game is said to have gotten a "golden sombrero". Three strike outs is called the "hat trick", while the rare five strike outs is called the "platinum sombrero." Only eight times has a player struck out six times in a game; this is called the "horn" (named by Mike Flanagan after Sam Horn who did this in 1991), "double-platinum sombrero," or "titanium sombrero." If it ever happens, Flanagan said a seven-strikeout game shall be called "Horn-A-Plenty."


Swinging at an obviously low pitch, particularly one in the dirt. Also used to describe actual contact with a pitch low in the zone.


  • A home run. Announcer: "That ball is gone."
  • Conversely, a batter who has just been struck out, especially by a power pitcher, as in "He gone!"
  • An announcer may simply announce "one gone" or "two gone" to indicate how many outs have been made in the inning; likewise "one away" and "two away".

good eye[edit]

A hitter who has excellent awareness of the strike zone, and is able to lay off pitches that are barely out of the strike zone, is said to have a "good eye", "Ortiz and Ramirez are a constant threat, whether it's swinging the bats or taking pitches", Cleveland third baseman Casey Blake said. "They have a couple of the best swings in the game and a couple of the best eyes in the game ..."[124]

good hit, no field[edit]

Said to have been the world's shortest scouting report, and often quoted in reference to sluggers such as Dick Stuart and Dave Kingman, who were notoriously poor fielders.

good piece of hitting[edit]

A situation where a batter puts the ball in play in a way that maximizes the result for his team. "Good pieces of hitting" tend to result in runs scoring and draining several pitches out of an opposing pitcher, especially in situations where the pitcher's team was looking for a decent amount of length.

good take[edit]

An accolade given to a batter who does not swing at a pitch that is close to, but not in, the strike zone; most often said to a batter with two strikes (who is naturally tempted).

Goodbye Mr. Spalding![edit]

Exclamation by a broadcaster when a batter hits a home run. First uttered by an unknown broadcaster in the film The Natural. Spalding is a major manufacturer of baseballs.

goose egg[edit]

When a team has zero on the scoreboard.

gopher ball[edit]

A gopher ball (or gopher pitch) is a pitch that leads to a home run, one the batter will "go for". Illustration from an on-line chat: "He was always that guy who'd go in and throw the gopher pitch in the first inning and he'd be two down." A game in which several home runs are hit by both teams may also be described as "gopher ball".

got a piece of it[edit]

When a batter hits a foul ball or foul tip, perhaps surviving a two strike count and remaining at bat, a broadcaster may say "He got a piece of it."

got him[edit]

Short for "got him out".

got to him early[edit]

When a team's batters gets several hits and runs off of the opposing starting pitcher in early innings the batters are said to "get to him early".

got under the ball[edit]

When a hitter swings slightly under the center of the pitched ball, thereby leading to a high fly ball out instead of a home run, he's said to "get under the ball".

grab some pine[edit]

Go sit on the bench, used as a taunt after a strikeout. Popularized by Giants sportscaster Mike Krukow.

grand slam[edit]

Home run hit with the #bases loaded. A "grand salami" or a "grand ol' ding dong".

grandstand play[edit]

Showing off for the fans in the grandstands. Also called grandstanding. Not only players, but managers, owners, and politicians often play to the crowd to raise their public image. An example: "Tellem weighed in with a thoughtful back-page article in this Sunday's New York Times regarding the recent Congressional and mainstream media grandstanding over steroids."[125]


A grand slam. "Torii Hunter's game-winning grand slam was his 10th career granny and third career walk-off homer."[126]

Grapefruit League[edit]

The group of Major League teams that conduct Spring Training in Florida, where grapefruit trees grow in abundance.

great seats[edit]

A sarcastic term for seats high in the bleachers, a long way from the playing field. The phrase was popularized by Bob Uecker in a series of TV commercials.

green light[edit]

Permission from the manager for a batter or runner to be aggressive. Examples include permission for the batter to swing away on a 3–0 count or for a runner to steal a base. An example: "Instead of the bunt sign, Tigers manager Jim Leyland gave Rodríguez the green light and he hit a three-run homer off Riske to give the Tigers a 3–2 win over Kansas City on Sunday."[127]

green monster[edit]

  • The Green Monster is a popular nickname for the 37.2 feet (11.3 m) high left field wall at Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox baseball team. The wall is 310 feet (94.5 m) from home plate and is a popular target for right-handed hitters. The seats on top of the Monster, installed for the 2003 season, are among the most coveted seats at Fenway.
  • The Red Sox have spring training at JetBlue Park at Fenway South (informally, JetBlue Park) in Fort Myers, Florida. JetBlue is an exact copy of Fenway, including a full-sized Green Monster.
  • The Red Sox' mascot is "Wally, the Green Monster".

groove a pitch[edit]

When a pitcher throws a pitch down the middle of the plate ("the groove"). The result may be predictable. An example: "But in the third, with two out and a man at second and the Cards ahead 2–1, Verlander grooved a pitch that Pujols clobbered for a home run."[128]

ground ball[edit]

A hit that bounces in the infield. Also grounder. A bunt is not considered a ground ball.

ground ball with eyes[edit]

A ground ball that barely gets between two infielders for a base hit, seeming to "see" the only spot where it would be unfieldable. Also seeing-eye grounder, or seeing-eye single.

ground ball pitcher[edit]

A pitcher who tends to induce more ground balls than fly balls. Often a manager will bring a ground ball pitcher in as a relief pitcher when there are men on base and less than two outs, hoping the next batter hits a grounder into a double play.

ground-rule double[edit]

Under standard ground rules, there are conditions under which a batter is awarded second base automatically. If a ball hit in fair territory bounces over a wall or fence (or gets caught in the ivy at Wrigley Field) without being touched by a fielder, it will likely be declared a double. If a ball hit into fair territory is touched by a fan, the batter is awarded an extra base.

ground rules[edit]

Rules specific to a particular ballpark (or grounds) due to unique features of the park and where the standard baseball rules may be inadequate.[129]

guess hitter[edit]

A hitter who primarily guesses what type of pitch is coming and where it will be located as their approach to hitting rather than just looking for a fastball and then reacting to off speed pitches.


  • A strong arm. Also, a cannon.
  • To throw hard. Announcer (following a grounder and throw to first): "Guillen guns and gets him."

gun down[edit]

To throw out a runner. "Valentin was erased when he tried to steal second, though, and Posada gunned him down."[130]


A type of curveball with a severe break. Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is said to throw a gyroball. It was designed by a couple of Japanese scientists to reduce arm fatigue in pitchers. The result was a way to throw the ball with an extreme break. Whether such a special pitch really exists remains the subject of great controversy among experts of various pedigrees.[131]



To swing awkwardly at the ball. "As his son stood in the batter's box and hacked away, Wolpert came up with the idea of opening his own batting cage in Manhattan."[132] Sometimes said of an aggressive hitter who would swing at any pitch within reach, whether high, low, inside, or outside. "An unrepentant free swinger who hacked at anything in the same area code as the strike zone, Puckett drew just 23 walks that year."[133]

Hall of Fame[edit]

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Abbreviated HOF. In popular usage, the terms "Hall of Fame broadcaster" and "Hall of Fame writer" are often used to describe recipients of two annual awards, respectively the Ford C. Frick Award and J. G. Taylor Spink Award. Recipients of these awards are recognized in dedicated Hall exhibits, but are not considered actual Hall of Fame members.

Hall of Very Good[edit]

A tongue-in-cheek expression used to refer to players who had successful careers, but whose stats and/or overall performance are not good enough to put them into consideration for the Hall of Fame. Example of players said to be in the "Hall of Very Good" are Chris Carpenter,[134] Lee Smith (who eventually earned Hall of Fame induction), and Mark McGwire.[135]


  • To hit the ball hard, typically for extra bases. "Aaron hammered that pitch."
  • The nickname of Henry Aaron—Hank "The Hammer" Aaron—second all-time in Major League career home runs.
  • A curve ball, usually of the 12 to 6 variety.


  • A hard-hit ground ball that bounces directly at an infielder is difficult for him to get his hands on – he appears to have been handcuffed.
  • A pitch thrown high and inside "handcuffs" a batter because he can't get his hands far enough away from his body to swing the bat.


Often it's said of a player who has not fielded a batted ball cleanly that he "couldn't find the handle on it". This suggests the fanciful notion that a baseball would be easier to hold onto if it had a handle.


  • A breaking ball that does not "break", or change direction, and so is easy to hit. A hanging curveball.
  • A pitcher may be hung with a loss if he is responsible for his team falling behind in runs and the team never recovers the lead.
  • A runner may be hung up if he is caught in a rundown.
  • A runner may be hung out to dry if he gets picked off at first base, or if a hitter misses a hit-and-run sign and the runner is easily tagged out at second base. A player may be hung out to dry if his team treats him in an unexpected or disappointing way. (Story: "The Mets got what they needed from pitcher Al Leiter yesterday. Unfortunately, Leiter was hung out to dry again, done in by his team's anemic offense.")
  • A team may hang a (number) on the opposing pitcher or his team by scoring that many runs. May use a literal number or an informal term such as a crooked number or a snowman.


When a pitcher uses a particular type of pitch so much that he becomes less effective, he's sometimes said to be "happy" with the pitch – fastball happy or curveball happy, for example. "This article is a response, in part, to a Boston Globe sports rumor asserting that Josh Beckett has become 'Curveball Happy' and has changed his release point."[136]

hard hands[edit]

A tendency to mishandle fielded balls. Also stone fingers. Contrast soft hands.


Baseball, as opposed to softball.

hat trick[edit]

To strike out three times. Used jokingly, as the same term means to score three times in hockey and other sports. This term is also used to indicate someone who has hit three home runs in a game.


Hit By Pitch.

head of lettuce[edit]

When a player breaks their bat after hitting the pitch, and the main portion of the bat (the barrel) lands within the infield, the broken portion can splinter into many pieces. (If the barrel lands either in foul territory or outside the established infield, the event is not a head of lettuce.) The term pays homage to other food-related baseball terms such as "can of corn", "high cheese", "in a pickle", etc. The original use of the term dates to 2006 when Joshua Githens first noted the likeness to striking a head of lettuce with the bat. "That bat exploded like a head of lettuce!"


A pitcher who has a reputation for throwing beanballs.

heart of the plate[edit]

Middle of home plate. "Looking to go up the ladder, Hughes instead missed right over the heart of the plate just below belt high with a 95-mph fastball. As good hitters do, Vladimir Guerrero made him pay with a single up the middle."[137]


Also heater. A fastball.

heavy hitter[edit]

A power hitter. A player who hits a lot of home runs or other extra-base hits. A batter with a high slugging percentage. A slugger. A term shared with the sport of boxing, referring to a fighter who scores a large number of knockouts.

help his own cause[edit]

Said of a pitcher who knocks in runs as a hitter, thereby helping himself to earn credit for a win.


A pitcher with an unusual or awkward wind-up or motion, as if he's not in full control of his legs and arms, may be said to have a herky-jerky motion.

hesitation pitch[edit]

A pitcher who pauses in his wind-up, perhaps at the top of the wind-up, may be said to have a hesitation pitch. If this is part of his regular motion, it may be effective in throwing off the timing of the batter. If it's an occasional motion and used when there are runners on base, the pitcher is at risk of being called for a balk.

hidden ball trick[edit]

A very rare feat in which a fielder has the ball and hides it from a runner, tricking him into believing some other fielder has it or that it has gotten away from them. (There is no rule against such deception except that once the pitcher toes or stands astride the rubber, he must have the ball in his possession or else a balk will be called.) Any baserunner so victimized will be ribbed endlessly by his teammates for having been caught napping.

high and tight[edit]

A location pitch thrown above the strike zone and close to the batter.

high cheese[edit]

A fastball thrown high in the strike zone.

high hard one[edit]

A fastball thrown high in, or above the strike zone.

high heat[edit]

A strike thrown high in the strike zone.

high let it fly; low let it go[edit]

An adage about batting against a knuckleball pitcher. Fluttering knuckleballs are notoriously hard to hit, especially low in the strike zone.


The pitcher's mound.


hit a bullet[edit]

To hit the ball very hard, typically a line drive.

hit and run[edit]

An offensive tactic whereby a baserunner (usually on first base) starts running as if to steal and the batter is obligated to swing at the pitch to try to drive the ball behind the runner to right field. Contrast this to a run and hit, where the runner steals, and the batter (who would normally take on a straight steal) may swing at the pitch.

hit away[edit]

After a batter has attempted but failed to lay down a bunt, or in a situation in which he might ordinarily be expected to bunt, he may instead make a normal swing at the ball on the next pitch. In such a case he is said to "hit away" or "swing away". "Smoltz swung away, fouling it off for strike one. Knowing that the bunt had been given away on the first pitch, Braves manager Bobby Cox took off the bunt sign this time."[138]

hit behind the runner[edit]

An offensive tactic where the batter intentionally puts the ball in play to the right side (the first base side) with a runner on second. The intent is to advance the baserunner to third, where a sacrifice fly by the next hitter can score a run.

hit by pitch[edit]

  • When a pitch touches a batter in the batter's box, the batter advances to first base. If the pitch hits him while he is swinging (striking) he is not awarded a base, and if the umpire feels he made no effort to avoid getting hit he simply calls a ball.
  • Colloquially, a batter who is hit by a pitch has been plunked, drilled, nailed, plugged, or beaned.

hit 'em where they ain't[edit]

Said to be the (grammatically casual) response of turn-of-the-20th-century player Willie Keeler to the question, "What's the secret to hitting?" in which "'em" or "them" are the batted balls, and "they" are the fielders.

hit for average[edit]

Contrary to what might be literally implied, a player who "hits for average" is one who achieves a high batting average.

hit for the cycle[edit]

When a given player hits a single, double, triple and home run in the same game. To accomplish this feat in order is termed a "natural cycle". Hitting for the cycle is a rare enough occurrence that Major League Baseball keeps special statistics on it.[139]

hit it where the grass don't grow[edit]

Hit the ball into the stands for a home run.

hit on Christmas Day[edit]

When a player seems to have a natural aptitude to get hits in all situations. "Magglio can hit Christmas Day", Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It's an old saying, and he's one of those guys who can. There's nothing fancy. He sees it, hits it and does it pretty damned good."[140]

hit parade[edit]

A rapid succession of hits within the same inning or a high total of hits throughout a game.

hit the ball on the screws[edit]

To hit the ball even center with measured force, often resulting in a loud crack of the bat. A slumping batter might be comforted by "hitting the ball on the screws" when not getting a hit. The phrase derives from golf, referring to a well executed shot. Back when "woods" were actually made of wood, manufacturers screwed a plastic insert into the club face as a safeguard against premature wear. When a golfer hit a good shot he would say, "I hit it on the screws."[141] Another source is the fact that early baseball bats usually cracked lengthwise into two pieces; many were repaired using glue and two screws. (Such repairs are now illegal.)

hit the deck[edit]

When a batter drops or dives to the ground to avoid being hit by a pitch. "The third kind of pitch is the one that is coming right at your head. This one you don't even have time to think about. Some part of you sees the ball as it leaves the pitcher's hand, and something about the fact that the ball is coming straight toward your eye makes it almost disappear into a blind spot. You hit the deck before you even know you've done it."[142]

hit the dirt[edit]

To slide. Sometimes used also as equivalent to hit the deck.

hitch in his swing[edit]

When a batter does not swing the bat in a single motion – perhaps he lifts the bat or moves his hands or hesitates before swinging – he may be said to have a "hitch in his swing". Having a hitch may slow down how quickly or powerfully he swings at the pitch. "All winter, Green worked on eliminating a hitch from his swing. He did it by setting up a video camera at a batting cage near his home in Irvine, California, taping swing after swing, and comparing it with video from his days with the Los Angeles Dodgers."[143]



a person who hits a ball with a bat in baseball.

hitter's count[edit]

When a batter is way ahead in the count (3–0, 3–1, 2–0) he's likely to anticipate that the next pitch will be thrown down Broadway—in the middle of the plate. See count.

hitter's park[edit]

  • A baseball park in which hitters tend to perform better than average. This may be a result of several factors, including the dimensions of the park (distance to the outfield fences, size of foul territory behind the plate and down the lines), prevailing winds, temperature and relative humidity, and altitude. Whether a park is a hitter's park or a pitcher's park (in which hitters perform worse than average) is determined statistically by measuring Park Factors, which involves comparing how well hitters perform in a given park compared with how they perform in all other parks. This measure is regularly reported and updated for Major League Baseball parks by[144] Baseball Reference [145] and other baseball research organizations also report park factors for major league parks. Baseball Prospectus [146] and other baseball researchers calculate park factors for minor league parks to help in adjusting the statistics of baseball prospects.
  • Whether a park is a hitter's park or pitcher's park may change from day to day. For example, when the wind is blowing "out" at Wrigley Field, it is typically rendered a "hitter's park", and a double-digit score for one or both teams is not unusual.
  • On the other hand, some are hitter's parks, any and all other factors notwithstanding. Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium, Braves home field from 1966 to 1996, was known as The Launching Pad.


A physical and/or mental state where a player is seeing pitches well and his timing is on, so that observers or the player himself feel he has a good chance at getting a hit. Often used by players and sportscasters. "It's like Charley Lau used to tell us, used to tell me: 'You look very hitterish up there. You look hitterish, you look like you're going to hit the ball hard'", Brett said in camp.[147]


  • A hold (abbreviated as H) is awarded to a relief pitcher if he enters in a save situation, records at least one out, and leaves the game without having relinquished that lead. To receive a hold, the pitcher must not finish the game (thus becoming the closing pitcher) or be the winning pitcher.
  • Unlike saves, more than one pitcher can earn a hold in a game. It is also not necessary for the pitcher's team to win the game in order to achieve a hold; they merely have to be in the lead at the time the pitcher exits.
  • The hold was invented in 1986 to give credit to non-closer relief pitchers. Holds are most often accredited to setup pitchers, as they usually pitch between the starter and the closer. Holds are not an official Major League Baseball statistic, but are recognized by the MLB in its rules.

hold the runner on[edit]

Jake Bauers (right) holding Yandy Díaz on at first base
When a runner is on first base, the first baseman might choose to stand very close to first base rather than assume a position behind first base and more part-way toward second base (a position better suited to field ground balls hit to the right side of the diamond). When he does this he's said to "hold the runner on (first)" because he's in a position to take a throw from the pitcher and thereby discourage the runner from taking a big lead-off.

hold up on a swing[edit]

When a batter begins to swing the bat at a pitch but stops swinging before the bat makes contact with the ball or the bat passes the front of the plate, he may be said to "hold up on his swing".


  • One of the nine places in the batting lineup. The leadoff hitter in the first inning is the player in the "one hole". In the four hole, the cleanup hitter is hoping to get to the plate in that inning.
  • Also see #in the hole.

hole in his glove[edit]

A tendency to drop fly balls, usually after they hit (and seem to go through) the fielder's glove.

hole in his swing[edit]

A scouting report phrase describing a batter who can't hit strikes in a particular location. "Howard became a star after fixing a hole in his swing."[148]

hole in the lineup[edit]

A team that has one or more weak hitters in its 9-person batting order has a "hole in the lineup" that opposition teams can take advantage of. "There are no holes in that lineup, so to say you're going to pitch around one batter might not be the best thing."[149] "If the team that Shapiro has constructed is going to overtake the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees or any of the other contenders in the American League, it can't afford another season with a hole in the middle of the lineup that Hafner was from May through the playoffs last season."[150]


Home plate. For a runner to reach home safely is to score a run. Getting a runner who is on base home is the goal of any batter.

home cooking[edit]

  • When a player for the home team gets a favorable or generous call from the official scorer, the players may refer to the scorer's call as "home cooking". For example, the scorer may credit a batter for a base hit on a batted ball that a fielder bobbled briefly and then failed to make a putout.
  • "Home cooking" is sometimes used synonymously with home field advantage. The reference may be to the home team having the advantage of living at home, not just to being able to play in its own stadium.

home advantage/home field advantage[edit]

Teams playing home games have a small advantage over visiting teams. In recent decades, home teams have tended to win about 53.5% of their games.[151] Because teams play the same number of games at home as they do away during the regular season, this advantage tends to even out. In play-off series, however, teams hope to gain from home-field advantage by having the first game of the series played in their home stadium.

home game/home team[edit]

A game played at the home stadium or ballpark of a baseball club. When the Yankees play in Yankee Stadium, they're playing a home game. The team hosting the game is referred to as the home team. In rare instances, the home team plays in a stadium not their own. In 2005, the Houston Astros played a "home" series against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park in Milwaukee, home of the Brewers, because their home stadium, Minute Maid Park, was rendered temporarily unusable because of Hurricane Rita. In 2010, the Toronto Blue Jays played a "home" series against the Philadelphia Phillies at the Phillies' home park, Citizens Bank Park, because of security concerns due to the G-20 summit being held in Toronto. Despite being in Philadelphia, the Blue Jays wore their home white uniforms and batted last. Also, despite Citizens Bank Park being a National League field, the designated hitter was used in the series.

home half[edit]

The second (bottom) half of an inning, in which the home team is at bat.

home plate[edit]

See also plate.

home run[edit]

A home run (or homer) is a base hit in which the batter is able to circle all the bases, ending at home plate and scoring a run himself.

home run derby[edit]

A batting competition in which the object is to hit the most home runs.[152] The 1960 television series Home Run Derby featured such a competition.[153] The term can also be used to refer to a game during which many home runs are hit.[154] The term was first used in the 1920s to refer to the race ("derby") between batters to lead their league in home runs for the season.[155]
Since 1985, Major League Baseball has hosted an annual Home Run Derby,[156] and the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) has done so since 1992. At least one minor league, the Southern League, has also held a home run derby.[157] In 2007, the Israel Baseball League played seven-inning games, and if the teams were tied at the end of the seventh inning the tie was broken by use of a home run derby.[158] A number of amusement parks, entertainment centers and batting cages offer a home run derby type competition.[152]

home run trot[edit]

  • When a batter, realizing the ball he just hit is about become a home run, slows from a run to a celebratory trot. "Well, I've been saying it all year, and it finally happened tonight: David Ortiz became the first player in the 2010 season to take more than 30-seconds to trot around the bases after a home run. With four of the top five slowest home run trots of the year already - all four of which were clocked in at 28.95 seconds or slower - it seemed inevitable that he would be the first to break the half-minute barrier."[159]
  • Sometimes a player mistakenly slows down, however, when the wind or a superb play by an outfielder, turns a home run into a double or single off the outfield wall, or to a long out, or to another odd outcome, as the following case illustrates:

Unfortunately for his personal power totals, Milledge was bamboozled into believing his liner in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night had cleared the left-field fence at PNC Park for his first career grand slam. Dead certain he had gone deep, Milledge raised his fist rounding first base, put his head down and went into a trot. Cool. Double-dog certain because the fireworks guy at PNC set off the pyrotechnics that explode every time a Bucs player goes deep. Music also began to blare. What a glorious moment for the Bucs! ... only, the ball had not cleared the fence. It hit the top and stayed in the field of play. As Bucs announcer Bob Walk said, "Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, uh oh—we got a problem here." Milledge was not quite midway between second and third base when he realized the Cubs had him in a rundown. And, yeah, um, he was tagged out. Score that a two-run double and a big ol' base-running blunder.[160]

home stand[edit]

A series of home games. See also road trip.

home team[edit]

The "home team" is the one in whose stadium the game is played against the "visiting team". The home team has the advantage of batting in the second or bottom half of the inning. In case a game is played at a neutral site, the "home" team is usually determined by coin toss.


  • A home run.
  • A derisive term for a dedicated, almost delusional, fan. Especially used for a broadcaster, in any sport, whose team "can do no wrong;" for example, they might argue a bad strike call, but say nothing about one against the opponent. Johnny Most of the Boston Celtics and Hawk Harrelson of the Chicago White Sox were notorious "homers." In a somewhat more humorous example, Bert Wilson used to say, "I don't care who wins, as long as it's the Cubs!" A common "homer" saying is, "My two favorite teams are (my team) and whoever's playing (my team's rival)."


  • When a manager leaves the dugout with the obvious intention of replacing the pitcher with a reliever, he may be said to be carrying a hook. "Here comes Sparky, and he's got the hook." Such a usage may have come from the large hooks that were sometimes used in Vaudeville to yank unsuccessful acts off the stage if they were reluctant to leave on their own. When he was manager of the Cincinnati Reds, Sparky Anderson's heavy reliance on relief pitching earned him the nickname "Captain Hook", a reference both to the standard usage and to the Peter Pan villain.
  • A pitcher is said to be "on the hook" when he leaves the game with his team behind because of runs that he gave up—a hook on which he may be hung with the loss.
  • A curveball.

hook foul[edit]

When the batter pulls the ball down the line, starting fair but ending foul, resulting in a foul ball. See also slice foul.


A batted ball that takes several bounces in the infield, or a single "high hop" after it hits the ground just in front of home plate. Also see "short hop".


  • The ball (a baseball) used in the game of baseball.
  • The leather cover on the baseball (which is now usually made of cowhide, not horsehide). A slugger may be said to "knock the horsehide off the ball". Horsehide was the cover of choice for decades, as it was less prone to stretching than cowhide. This was necessary in part because in the early days, they tried to play the entire game with a single ball, or as few as possible. That became moot in the 1920s, but horsehide continued to be used until the 1980s or so, when horsehide became prohibitively expensive and cowhide was finally adopted as the standard cover for a baseball.


A strong arm, said typically of an outfielder. To "be hosed" is to be thrown out on the bases, typically from the outfield.


A batter who is having a hitting streak or a team having a winning streak is said to be "hot". "'Today was pretty impressive', Scioscia said. 'Hitters, they have their times. When they're hot, they're hot. You can't do anything about it.'"[161]

hot box[edit]

The area between two fielders during a rundown.

hot corner[edit]

The area around third base and the third baseman, so called because right-handed batters tend to hit line drives down the third base line. The third baseman is sometimes called a "cornerman".

hot stove league[edit]

An old fashioned term for a "Winter league" with no games, just speculation, gossip, and story-telling during the months between the end of the World Series and the beginning of Spring training, presumably conducted while sitting around a hot stove. One of Norman Rockwell's well-known baseball paintings is a literal illustration of this term.

house by the side of the road[edit]

A batter who strikes out looking. The term was made popular by legendary Detroit Tigers radio broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who would often say, "He stood there like the house by the side of the road, and watched the ball go by."[162] The phrase originates from the title of a poem by Sam Walter Foss.


A very strong arm. A cannon. A gun. Usually applied to an outfielder. Named after the Howitzer artillery piece. Headline: "Roberto Clemente: A Howitzer for an Arm, An Ocean for a Heart".[163]

human rain delay[edit]

A human rain delay is a derisive term for a player who is very deliberate in his play, such as a pitcher who takes a long time between pitches or a batter who constantly steps out of the batter's box. "The Seattle Mariners will announce a new manager today—Mike Hargrove. Hargrove bears a great nickname—'The Human Rain Delay'. The name stems from the fact that, as a player, Hargrove would take about 15 minutes for every plate appearance. He would step out of the batter's box, fidget with his gloves, his helmet, his pants. He drove the pitcher nuts, but that was his plan."[164]

humpback liner[edit]

A ball hit deep in the infield on a trajectory between those of fly balls and line drives.


A pitcher.


ice cream cone[edit]

See: snow cone.

I have it. You get it.[edit]

A fielding play, usually where a lofty fly ball is to land equidistant between two fielders. Both are unsure who should catch it, usually resulting in last-second leaps or dives. Often neither does, in which case the one who had the better chance is charged with an error.

immaculate inning[edit]

A half-inning in which the pitcher strikes out all three batters he faces with exactly nine pitches.

in the batter's eyes[edit]

A high fastball, usually at or near the batter's eye level. Above the strike zone, so a ball, and hard to hit, but also hard to lay off.

infield fly rule[edit]

  • The umpire calls the batter out when (a) there are less than two outs in the inning, and (b) the batter hits a fly ball that can be caught with ordinary effort by an infielder in fair territory, and (c) there are runners on first and second (third base can optionally be occupied too).
  • The batter is automatically called out in this situation whether or not a fielder attempts to catch the fly ball, assuming it stays fair. The rule states that the umpire is supposed to announce, "Infield fly, if fair." If the ball will be almost certainly fair, the umpire will likely yell, "Infield fly, batter's out!" or just "Batter's out!"
  • This rule is intended to prevent the fielder from intentionally dropping the ball and getting force outs on the runners on base. The rule is a little mystifying to casual fans of the game, but it has been a fundamental rule since 1895, allegedly to prevent the notoriously tricky Baltimore Orioles from intentionally dropping the ball.


First baseman, second baseman and third baseman, plus the shortstop, so called because they are positioned on the infield dirt. The pitcher and catcher are typically not considered infielders, but instead as the battery. However, for purposes of implementing the Infield Fly Rule, the catcher, pitcher, and any player stationed in the infield when the pitch is delivered are included as infielders.

inherited runner[edit]

Inherited runners or inherited baserunners are the runners on base when a relief pitcher enters the game. Since a previous pitcher has allowed these runners to reach base (or was simply pitching when the runners reached base, such as in the case of a fielding error), any inherited runners who score when the relief pitcher is pitching are charged to the previous pitcher's runs allowed and/or earned runs allowed total, depending on how each runner reached base. Modern box scores list how many runners each relief pitcher inherits (if any), and how many of those inherited runners the relief pitcher allows to score, called inherited runs allowed (IRA).

in jeopardy[edit]

In general, a baserunner is in jeopardy at any time the ball is live and the baserunner is not touching a base, except in the cases of overrunning first base on a fair ball or advancing to an awarded base, e.g., on a base on balls or hit by pitch. A baserunner who is in jeopardy may be putout by a fielder at any time.[165]

injured list[edit]

Major league teams may remove injured players from their active roster temporarily by placing them on the injured list. Another player can then be called up as a replacement during this time.


An inning consists of two halves. In each half, one team bats until three outs are made. A full inning consists of six outs, three for each team; and a regulation game consists of nine innings. The first half-inning is called the top half of the inning; the second half-inning, the bottom half. The break between the top and bottom halves is called the middle of the inning. The visiting team is on offense during the top half of the inning, the home team is on offense during the bottom half. Sometimes the bottom half is also referred to as the home half.

innings eater[edit]

A pitcher who may or may not be a starter or a closer but who can be relied on to pitch several innings either to keep his team in contention or sometimes when the game is no longer close, is an "innings eater". Headline: "Appetites never diminish for 'innings-eating' pitchers".

The success of most pitchers is based on statistics such as won-loss record, ERA or saves, but the unsung "innings eater" is judged by how many innings he pitches and the impact his work has on the rest of the staff. "I don't have a whole lot of goals going into the season. I don't shoot for a certain ERA or a certain strikeout number or certain number of wins," says Blanton, entering his second full season. "I try to go out and get a quality start every time, six innings or more, and not miss any starts. I feel if I can do that, I'll get my 200 innings in a year and everything else falls into place with that."[166]

inside baseball[edit]

The inside baseball is an offensive strategy that focuses on teamwork and good execution. It usually centers on tactics that keep the ball in the infield: walks, base hits, bunts, and stolen bases. This was the primary offensive strategy during the Dead Ball Era. Inside baseball is also a common metaphor in American politics to describe background machinations. The equivalent modern term is small ball.

inside the ball[edit]

Proper mechanics of a baseball swing, in which the hitter rotates his body while keeping his hands and the bat close to his body, with the bat coming across the plate after the body has almost fully rotated 90 degrees from his initial stance. Sometimes the phrase used is that the hitter "keeps his hands inside the baseball", and sometimes that the hitter himself "keeps inside the ball" – never mind the connotation of a player's literally being inside a baseball. "He's staying inside the ball so good, man", Dunn said. "For big guys like us, that's a hard thing to do. You always want to get the head [of the bat] out. His right hand is staying inside, so good. That's why he's able to hit the ball to left, to center, to right. He's in a good place right now."[167]

inside-out swing[edit]

When the batter swings at a pitch with his hands ahead of the end of the bat. For a right-handed hitter, this often leads to balls being hit toward the right side of the diamond. One of the most famous "inside-out" hitters is Derek Jeter: "While Jeter became known over his two decades for rising to the occasion and delighting fans with his heroics, he was above all a technician, slashing at pitches with his trademark inside-out swing."[168]

inside-the-park home run[edit]

A play where a hitter scores a home run without hitting the ball out of play.

insurance run[edit]

A run scored by a team already in the lead. These surplus runs do not affect the game outcome but serve as "insurance" against the team giving up runs later.

intentional pass/intentional walk[edit]

Additional terms for the intentional base on balls.


Interference is an infraction where a person illegally changes the course of play from what is expected. Interference might be committed by players on the offense, players not currently in the game, catchers, umpires, or fans; each type of interference is covered differently by the rules.

interleague play[edit]

Regular-season games between teams in different major leagues, which allow natural rivals and crosstown rivals to play each other more often, not just in play-offs.

Internet baseball awards[edit]

While Major League Baseball calls on the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWA) to name the most valuable player, rookie of the year, and Cy Young Award winner each year, since 1997 Baseball Prospectus has conducted an on-line poll to make Internet Baseball Awards in those categories as well as manager of the year.[169]


A batting average below .200. A player with a batting average of .195 is said to be on I-95, a reference to the numbering on the Interstate Highway System. See also the Mendoza Line.

in the books[edit]

The game is over. Long-time New York Mets radio broadcaster Howie Rose (first on WFAN, now on WOR) ends every Mets win with the catchphrase, "Put it in the books!" (Rose's memoir is entitled Put It In The Book!)

in the hole[edit]

  • The spaces between the first baseman and second baseman and between the shortstop and the third baseman, one of the usual places where a ground ball must go for a hit. "Ozzie went deep in the hole" but, despite Ozzie's best effort, the ball "found a hole" through the infield and into the outfield. See also up the middle and down the line.
  • Due up to bat after the on-deck batter. Probably derived from boating, where it was originally "in the hold",[citation needed] the place prior to being "on deck". "In the hole" is a corruption of the original nautical term (a mondegreen or eggcorn) made popular by people who did not understand the original origin. Today, the corruption has become universal.
  • An unfavorable count. A pitcher would be "in the hole" 3-0 and a batter would be "in the hole" 0-2.

in the (his) kitchen[edit]

Pitching in on the hitter's hands.

in play[edit]

  • A game is in play when the umpire declares "play ball" at the beginning of the game or after a time-out.
  • Any batted ball is "in play" until either the play ends, the umpire calls the ball foul, or there is fan interference or some other event that leads to a dead ball. A ball hit into foul territory but in the air is in play (a fielder may attempt to catch it for an out and runners may attempt to advance after such a catch), but only before it hits the ground or the fence.
  • In sabermetrics, a special definition of "ball in play" is the calculation of "batting average on balls in play" (BABIP), which excludes home runs even though they are fair balls.
  • Also see play.

IO (in and out)[edit]

Infield and outfield practice. "Everyone take your positions for a quick IO"



The run the pitcher takes from the mound to first base in order to cover for the first baseman who has just fielded the ball.[citation needed]


A home run or to hit a home run. "Hitting a jack" or "Jacking one out of here".


Half-hearted or lazy effort by a player, i.e. "He jaked that play."


  • To pitch far enough inside that the batter is unable to extend while swinging. "The pitcher jammed the batter." The batter was "handcuffed" or "shackled" by the pitch.
  • When runners are in scoring position with less than two outs and good hitters coming up. "The pitcher is in a jam."
  • The "bases are jammed" (or loaded or full) when there are runners on all three.

janitor throw[edit]

When an outfielder, trying to throw hard, spins or falls down.

jelly legs[edit]

A batter's legs are "made out of jelly" when he departs from a good stance. "His curve ball ... it jelly-legs you." - Phillies First Baseman Jim Thome, referring to Barry Zito's curve.[170]


To "pull" the ball towards left field if you bat right handed or "pull" the ball towards right field if you're batting left handed. Opposite of jerk would be push or hitting an "oppo", meaning going towards the opposite field.
To hit the ball hard, typically used to refer to pulling the ball over the fence for a home run. "Derrek Lee jerked one of his patented doubles into the left-field corner to lead off the fourth against Minnesota lefty Johan Santana, the reigning Cy Young winner."[171]


A Punch and Judy hitter who hits with little power.


  • "Bases juiced" means #bases loaded.
  • A player who is said to be juiced is thought to be taking performance-enhancing drugs. "It is now assumed, of course, that Bonds may well have been juiced on steroids at the time; the previous year he had set the all-time single-season record of 73 home runs, and his musculature was almost freakishly swollen."[172]
  • A baseball that is juiced has been modified in some way that makes it travel farther when hit. "Spectacular increases in home runs have often raised the question: Has the ball been juiced up to travel farther, in order to increase the number of home runs?"[173]


  • A fielder is said to get a good jump on the ball when he anticipates or reacts quickly to a batted ball and is thereby able to make a good play by fielding or catching it.[174] Also see crack of the bat.
  • A baserunner gets a good jump when he is able to leave the base well before the pitch reaches the plate. "Upsetting the timing of the baserunner can effectively prevent him from getting a good jump ... Base runners often read a pitcher's look and get their jump, or start, based on the pattern the pitcher establishes."[175]
  • To move to another team or league despite existing contractual obligations.[176]

Junior Circuit[edit]

The American League, so-called because it is the younger of the two major leagues. The American League was founded in 1901, while the National League – the Senior Circuit – was founded in 1876.


breaking balls and knuckleballs, pitches that are hard to hit due to movement rather than velocity. "I couldn't believe he threw me a fastball because he had me down 1-2", Thames said. "He's usually a junk pitcher and he tried to sneak a fastball past me, and he left it up."[177] See also: Eephus pitch

junkball pitcher[edit]

A pitcher who throws predominantly junk, usually due to a weak (or slow) fastball. A junkballer or a junk artist: "Like all junk artists, Trujillo will have to prove himself at the higher levels before getting a shot at a major league job."[178] See also: Eephus pitch



The traditional abbreviation for a strikeout. A backwards K is often used to denote a called strikeout. Invented by Henry Chadwick by taking the "most prominent" letter and reinforcing it with an inferred knockout, the connotation still exists when an announcer says the pitcher "punched out" the batter, a play on words that also refers to punching a time clock and to the motion a home plate umpire usually makes on a called third strike.

keep off the boards[edit]

Also singular, "keep off the board". Keep a team from scoring, and hence off the scoreboard. "Wainwright has kept runs off the board at a better rate than Lester."[179] "After loading the bases with one down in the fourth, the Gators were kept off the board by Barham."[180]

keep the hitter honest[edit]

A pitcher needs to mix up his pitches and thereby "keep the hitter honest" by making it difficult for the hitter to anticipate the type, speed, and location of the next pitch. Sometimes this means throwing a brushback pitch to keep the batter from leaning over the plate to reach a pitch on the outer part of the plate. "Partially with Boston in mind, Wang focused this spring on expanding his repertoire to keep hitters honest and move them off the plate."[181]

keep the line moving[edit]

A reference to a series of batters getting on base safely and advancing runners on base, alluding to an assembly line. "Beltran's popout tore apart a rally that had shaken the Hall of Fame-bound Rivera, molding a game out of what moments before had been a five-run rout. Instead, Beltran couldn't keep the line moving, leaving an eager David Wright awaiting on deck."[182] The 2015 Kansas City Royals were one of the most notable examples of "keeping the line moving" during their postseason run, which led to a World Series title.[183][184]


  • Second base.
  • Together the shortstop and second baseman – the fielders nearest second base, often combining on double plays – are sometimes referred to as the keystone combination.


A player who makes an error fielding a ground ball may be said to have "kicked the ball" or "kicked it".


  • A batter who hits the ball very far may be said to have "killed the ball".
  • A pitcher who stifles a rally by the opposing team may be said to have "killed the rally".


A breaking ball (usually a curveball) that breaks very sharply, so much so that it freezes the hitter. It starts out directly at the batter (knees buckling out of fear) and then drops into the strike zone.


  • Knock in: To score an RBI. "Kenny Lofton knocked in the go-ahead run with a 10th-inning single Thursday afternoon as the Cleveland Indians beat Detroit, 3-1."[185]
  • A hit: as in "a two-base knock".
  • Knocks: Hard hits or extra-base hits, not necessarily producing RBIs or referring to a specific type of hit. "Curtis had some solid knocks today."
  • Knocked around: A pitcher who gives up a lot of hits and gets removed from the game is said to have been knocked around or knocked out of the box or knocked out of the game. Example headline: "Toronto 7, Detroit 4: Phil Coke knocked around; Tigers' bats don't respond".[186]
  • Knock down: an infielder who stops a line drive from getting through the infield "knocks it down", perhaps then picking up the ball and throwing the runner out.
  • Knock off: to knock off an opponent is to win the game. "Hawai'i knocks off Santa Clara."[187]
  • Knock the cover off the ball: to hit a baseball extremely hard. See also tore the cover off the ball.


A pitch thrown with no spin, traditionally thrown with the knuckles, but also with the fingertips. It tends to flutter and move suddenly and erratically on its way to the plate. Also refers to a batted ball that flutters "like a knuckleball". SYNONYMS: knuckler, flutterball, butterfly ball, floater, bug.



To reach base by hitting a ball between infielders. "McCann laced it through the shift on the right side of the infield."

Lady Godiva[edit]

A pitch delivered with nothing on it. A nod to the legend of Lady Godiva riding naked on horseback.[188]


An acronym for League Average Inning Muncher. A LAIM is generally a starting pitcher who can provide around 200 innings over the course of a season with an ERA (Earned Run Average) near the league average. A LAIM is counted on to consume innings, keeping his team in the game but not necessarily shutting down the opposition. The term was coined by baseball blogger Travis Nelson, but is used by other writers as well.[189]

large sausage[edit]

A slang term for a grand slam home run. It is a takeoff from the term "grand salami" which some people use to refer to a grand slam.

laser show[edit]

A batting performance with a high number of base hits, particularly line drives. Also, the nickname of Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

late innings[edit]

The seventh, eighth and ninth innings of a regulation nine-inning game.


A game in which one team gets a large lead, perhaps early in the game, and it appears the other team has no chance at all of catching up. With nothing to worry about, the manager and team can relax. An easy win; a romp; a blowout.


  • To hit a long fly ball, as if launching a rocket. "Orso, who recently signed with Alabama Southern to play college baseball next season, launched several rocket shots and by far hit the furthest home runs of anyone in the competition ..."[190]
  • It is also said that a pitcher "launches" the ball when he throws a wild pitch that gets away from the catcher, and that a fielder "launches" the ball when he throws it wildly out-of-reach of the intended receiver.

launch angle[edit]

The angle, with respect to the ground at home plate, at which a batted ball leaves the bat.[191]

launch pad[edit]

A term for a ballpark in which many home runs are hit.

Lawrence Welk[edit]

A (rare) 1-2-3 double play ("... an a one, an a two, an a ...").

lay down[edit]

A player who bunts the ball is said to lay down a bunt. Also see dump.

lay off[edit]

If a batter decides not to swing at a pitch, especially if he deliberately avoids swinging at certain types of pitches, he may be said to "lay off" a pitch. Pitchers tempt hitters to swing at pitches they cannot hit; batters try to lay off such pitches. "Batters can't seem to lay off his slider, just as his parents can't seem to lay off his carrot cake—they're nearly addicted to it."[192]


  • When a baserunner steps off a base before a pitch is thrown in order to reduce the distance to the next base he takes a lead.
  • The player who is first in the batting order for a given team in any given inning is said to lead off the inning.

leadoff hitter[edit]

  • The first batter listed on a team's lineup card (in the 1-hole or the "leadoff spot" on the line-up card). When the announcers read the starting line-up they might say, "Leading off, and playing short-stop, is Sammy Speedyrunner. Batting second, playing second base, Carlos Contacthitter. Batting third, in the pitcher's spot, is designated hitter Burt "Biggie" Brokenleg. Batting clean-up, playing left field, Thor Thunderbat ..."
  • The first batter in an inning (who could be in any hole on a team's line-up card). If that batter gets a single, or a home run, or a walk, the announcer would say he has a "leadoff single", a "leadoff home run", or a "leadoff walk" respectively.


A baserunner is said to be "caught leaning" or "leaning the wrong way" when he is picked off a base while shifting his weight toward the next base.


  • Referring to a fielder's glove, a player with good leather is a good defensive player (typically an infielder).
  • Flashing the leather means making an outstanding defensive play.
  • A leather player refers to a player who is outstanding on defense but only average or even less on offense. Ron Karkovice is one example of a "leather player".

left-handed bat[edit]

Although baseball bats are symmetrical in shape, and thus there is no such thing as a left-handed baseball bat (or a right-handed baseball bat), in colloquial language a hitter who bats left-handed may be referred to as a "left-handed bat" or "left-hand bat". Headline: "Giants look to acquire left-handed bat".[193]

left-handed hitter[edit]

Also "left-hand hitter". A batter who, paradoxically, bats from the right-side of the plate. Typically, an individual who is left-handed in most activities, including throwing a baseball, stands in the right-hand batter's box, the one closest to first base.

left-handed specialist[edit]

A left-handed relief pitcher specializing in getting one out, often in critical situations. See also LOOGY.

left on base[edit]

A baserunner is said to have been left on base (abbreviated LOB) or stranded when the half-inning ends and he has not scored or been put out. This includes a batter-runner who has hit into a fielder's choice, causing another runner to be put out as the third out.[194] It also includes runners on base at the end of a game, as when the home team scores a winning run in the ninth or a subsequent inning. Thus a batter who hits a single in the home half of the tenth inning in a tied game with the bases loaded drives in one run and leaves three on base (runners who were at first and second, and himself).
  • Team LOB totals are commonly reported in a baseball box score. It counts only those left standing on the bases when the third out of each inning occurs. Team LOB is used in "proving" a box score. The number of a team's plate appearances is to equal the sum of that team's runs, that team's LOB, and the opposing team's putouts. In other words, every batter who completes a plate appearance is accounted for as a run scored, putout, or LOB.
  • Individual LOB totals are sometimes reported in baseball box scores. This is a more recent statistic that is computed for each player who is at bat at least once in a game and is calculated on how many baserunners were "left on base" when the player was at-bat and caused an out, no matter how many outs there were at the time. Note that "at bat" does not include other plate appearances such as sacrifice bunts or flies made by the batter, third outs caused by pickoffs or caught stealing, or games ended with the winning run scoring on a successful steal, etc. Two common misconceptions of the individual LOB are that the individual LOB is the number of times the player was left on base as a baserunner (this is a "runner's LOB" and is not usually recorded), or that the individual LOB applies only when the at-bat player caused the third out. Note that the total of the individual LOBs for all players on a team will usually exceed the team LOB.
  • A related statistic is "left on base in scoring position", which includes only those LOB where the runner was occupying second or third base. Yet another related statistic is "left on base in scoring position with less than two out". The intent of these statistics is to measure the tendency of a team or player to waste opportunities to score.

leg out[edit]

To run hard to get safely on base or to advance a base: "Podsednik legged out an infield hit, stole second and scored when Everett legged out a double."[195]

letter high[edit]

A letter-high pitch is one that crosses the plate at the height of the letters on the batter's chest. Also see at the letters. Equivalent term: "chest high". "Dietrich fouled off a couple of pitches before Porcello put him away with a letter-high fastball at 94."[196]


To remove a player from the lineup in the middle of a game. "Casey was lifted for a pinch runner."


A pitcher who so dominates the hitters that the game is effectively over once he takes the mound—so they can turn out the lights and go home. The pitcher retires the batters in order without allowing a single run. "Putz pitched lights-out baseball once he took over the job for good from Guardado."[197]

Linda Ronstadt[edit]

A fastball the pitcher delivers with such velocity that the hitter has no time to respond—it "blew by you." A pun on the song title "Blue Bayou," originally recorded in 1961 by Roy Orbison but popularized through Linda Ronstadt's 1977 cover version.[188]

line drive[edit]

  • Also known as a liner, a line drive is a batted ball that is hit hard in the air and has a low arc. See also rope.
  • A line drive may also be said to be "hit on a line".
  • A batter may be said to have "lined out" if the liner was caught by a fielder.
  • Line drives can be dangerous to baseball players and spectators. For example, on July 22, 2007, Tulsa Drillers first base coach Mike Coolbaugh was killed in a line drive accident at an away game with the Arkansas Travelers. Though the ball hit his neck, his death was the impetus for base coaches to start wearing helmets.[198] In a 2021 minor league game, pitcher Tyler Zombro was hit in the head by a 104-mile-per-hour (167 km/h) line drive, fracturing his skull and causing him to have a seizure.[199]


The batting order, which also lists each player's defensive position. An announcer reading the starting lineup for a game will typically begin something like this: "Batting first, playing second base ..."

lineup card[edit]

A lineup card from a 2001 spring training game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves
A form kept by each manager listing the starting players and all other players who are on the active roster and available to play in the game. Typically this form will be taped to the wall inside the dugout for the manager and coaches to consult when they need to make substitutions during a game. Before the game starts the manager hands a lineup card to the home plate umpire. This lineup will change throughout the game as starting players are removed and substitutes inserted.

Little League home run[edit]

A fair ball in which the batter is able to circle the bases and score due to the defense committing one or more errors on the play. Such a play is not officially scored as a home run due to the errors, but the effect on the score is the same.

live arm[edit]

A strong arm, usually describing a pitcher who has a great deal of velocity on his pitches. "That pitcher has a live arm."

Live Ball Era[edit]

The time since 1919 or 1920 when several rule changes moved teams to adopt offensive strategies that favored power hitting over the inside game that was common in the Dead Ball Era.

live on the corners[edit]

A pitcher who "lives on the corners" throws most of his pitches on the inside or outside edges of home plate. He's not inclined to try to overwhelm the hitter with hard pitches down the center of the plate. Many of his pitches will appear to barely nibble the plate.

lively fastball/life on the ball[edit]

A fastball that seems to be not just fast but also hard to hit because it may have some movement on it or it may appear to speed up as it gets closer to the plate. "'His fastball has got more life to it', Jays catcher Rod Barajas said. 'It's finishing. What I mean by that is the last 10 feet [to home plate], it seems that it picks up speed.' According to Barajas, that has particularly helped Ryan against right-handed hitters. "They end up being late, because that last 10 feet, it seems like it picks up a couple miles per hour," Barajas said.[200]

load the bases[edit]

A succession of plays that results in having runners on all three bases. See also bases loaded or bases full.


Abbreviation for left on base.


A pitcher's command is reflected in his ability to locate the ball—to throw it to an intended spot. A pitcher with "good location" not only has command but makes the right choices about where to throw the ball against particular batters.

lock him up[edit]

  • To sign a player to a long-term contract, thereby keeping him off the free-agent market. "Come on Uncle Drayton, you have to lock this guy up for a few years. He is one of the best in the league and along with Berkman, is the new face of the Astros."[201]
  • To throw a pitch that keeps the hitter from making any effective swing. For example, when a left-handed pitcher throws a roundhouse curve or an inside fastball to a left-handed hitter, the hitter may appear to freeze in place. "We had him 0-2. We were trying to go in with a fastball, hopefully lock him up."[202] Also see "freeze the hitter".


A soft, straight pitch with a lot of arc.

long ball[edit]

A home run. A team is said to "win by the long ball" after a walk-off home run or the team hits several home runs to win. Headline: "Phillies Use the Longball To Take Game 1 from the Dodgers".[203]

long ones[edit]

Home runs. "He ravaged Pacific Coast League pitching for seven more long ones before being recalled by the Reds later the same month."[204]

long out[edit]

A ball that is hit deep into the outfield (and caught) is a "long out".

long reliever[edit]

A type of relief pitcher. Long relievers enter early in a game (generally before the 5th inning) when the starting pitcher cannot continue, whether due to ineffective pitching, lack of endurance, rain delay, or injury.

long strike[edit]

A foul ball which finishes particularly close to being fair, often where a fair ball would have been a home run. So named as despite the good effort of the hitter, the result is a strike against him if the count before the pitch was less than two strikes.


A mildly derogatory nickname for a left-handed specialist. An acronym for "Lefty One Out GuY", a left-handed pitcher who may be brought into the game to pitch against just one or two left-handed batters to take extreme advantage of platoon effects. An example is Javier Lopez, who was a key component of the Giants' World Series winning bullpen in the 2010s. Starting in 2020, MLB instituted a new rule that any pitcher who enters the game in the middle of an inning must face at least three batters or finish the inning before he can be replaced, unless he is injured. This rule intends to reduce the length of a game by limiting pitching changes, but also reduces the benefit of a LOOGY on the roster, since most of the time he would also have to face a right-handed hitter, who is much more likely to get a hit off him.

look the runner back[edit]

  • When there is a runner on first base, a pitcher who has already gone into the stretch may step off the rubber and either threaten a throw toward first base or just stare at the runner to encourage him to step back toward first. In either case he's said to "look the runner back" to first (rather than throwing over to first in an effort to pick the runner off).
  • When there is a runner on second or third base (but not first) with fewer than two outs, an infielder fielding a sharp ground ball briefly stares at the runner to discourage him from trying to advance. The fielder then throws to first to force out the batter.


A softly hit Texas leaguer that drops in between the infielders and outfielders. Also blooper. A fielder may make a superior defensive play, however, and turn a looper into an out. "Sacramento's Lloyd Turner ended the fourth with a sprinting, sliding snag of Alvin Colina's looping liner to left that sent the stands into a frenzy."[205]

Lord Charles[edit]

A slang term for a "12-to-6" curveball. Similar to Uncle Charlie.

lose a hitter[edit]

When a pitcher gives up a walk, especially when he gets ahead in the count or has a full count but gives up a walk, he is said to have "lost the hitter".

losing record[edit]

During the regular season, the team lost more games than it won. For a modern Major League team, this means a team lost at least 82 games out of 162 games played in what is called the losing season.

losing streak[edit]

A series of consecutive losses.


See Win–loss record (pitching).

lost his swing[edit]

See find his swing.

lost the ball in the sun[edit]

When a player attempting to catch a fly ball is temporarily blinded by the glare of the sun in his eyes, he may "lose the flyball in the sun".

loud out[edit]

When a batter hits a long fly ball that is caught