Inside baseball (metaphor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In American slang, the term inside baseball refers to the minutiae and detailed inner workings of a system that are only interesting to, or appreciated by, experts, insiders, and aficionados.[1][2] The phrase was originally used as a sports metaphor in political contexts, but has expanded to discussions of other topics as well.[1] Language commentator William Safire wrote that the term refers to details about a subject that require such a specific knowledge about what is being discussed that the nuances are not understood or appreciated by outsiders.[3]


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.[4]


  1. ^ a b The Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang. Ed. Grant Barrett. Oxford University Press, 2004 (paperback ed. 2006). p. 5-6. ISBN 0195304470
  2. ^ "Inside baseball". Grammarist. 11 June 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  3. ^ Safire, William (June 19, 1988). "On Language; Inside Baseball". New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  4. ^ "The Inside Scoop on 'Inside Baseball'". Merriam Webster.

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