Inside baseball (metaphor)

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The phrase "inside baseball" is a term used mainly in the United States.[1] It is "a figurative adjective meaning appreciated by only a small group of insiders or aficionados."[2] It usually refers to a detail-oriented approach to the minutiae of a subject, which requires such a specific knowledge about what is being discussed that the nuances are not understood or appreciated by outsiders.[3]

According to Merriam-Webster, the term originated in the 1890s referring to a particular style of playing the game which relied on singles, walks, bunts, and stolen bases rather than power hitting. Within a few decades the term was being used to mean highly specialized knowledge about baseball, and by the 1950s it was being applied to politics. "Today, inside baseball is used more often to describe non-sporting matters, and typically denotes minutiae or things about which only a few insiders care."[4]


  1. ^ Grant Barrett, The Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang. Oxford University Press, 2006. p 5-6. ISBN 0195304470. Accessed 21 January 2016
  2. ^ "Inside baseball". Grammarist. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  3. ^ Safire, William (June 19, 1988). "On Language; Inside Baseball". New York Times Magazine. New York Times. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  4. ^ "The Inside Scoop on 'Inside Baseball'". Merriam Webster.