Baseball Terms Defined

What does it mean?

Word Definition
Ace The best starting pitcher on a team.
Alley The area of the outfield between two outfielders. Also called the “gap.”
Around The Horn A double play going from third base to second to first.
Backdoor Slider A pitch that appears to be out of the strike zone, but then breaks back over the plate.
Bag A base.
Baltimore Chop A ground ball that hits in front of home plate (or off of it) and takes a large hop over the infielder’s head.
Bandbox A small ballpark that favors hitters.
Bang-Bang Play A very close play where the runner arrives at the bag a spit second before or after the ball does.
Base On Balls Also a walk, when a batter receives four balls and is awarded first base.
Bases Loaded When there are runners on first base, second base and third base.
Basket Catch When a fielder catches a ball with his glove facing up and near waist level.
Bronx Cheer When the crowd boos.
Brushback A pitch that nearly hits a batter.
Bush Also “bush league.” An amateur play or behavior. Considered to be unsportsman like.
Can Of Corn An easy catch fly ball or pop up.
Caught Looking When a batter is called out on strikes.
Cellar Last place. Also “basement.”
Cheese Also “good cheese.” Refers to a good fastball.
Chin Music A pitch that is high and inside.
Circus Catch An outstanding catch by a fielder.
Closer A team’s relief pitcher who finishes the game.
Cooperstown Cooperstown, New York is the city that the National Baseball Hall of Fame is located.
Cutter A cut fastball (one with a late break to it).
Cycle When a batter hits a single, double, triple and home run in the same game.
Dinger A home run
Dish Home plate.
Double Header When two games are played in the same day
Ducks On The Pond Runners in scoring position, runners on second base and/or third base.
Fireman A team’s closer or late-inning relief pitcher.
Fungo A ball hit to a fielder during practice. It’s usually hit by a coach using a “fungo bat
Gap See “alley.” A ball hit in the area between two outfielders.
Gopher Ball A pitch hit for a home run, as in “go for.”
Grand Slam A home run with men on first base, second base and third base (bases loaded)
Heart Of The Plate The middle of the plate, waist high.
Heat A good fastball. Also “heater.”
High And Tight Referring to a pitch that’s up in the strike zone and inside on a hitter. Also known as “up and in.”
Hill Pitcher’s mound.
Homer A home run. Other terms include: blast, dinger, dong, four-bagger, four-base knock, moon shot, tape-measure blast and tater.
Hot Corner Third base.
In The Hole The batter after the on-deck hitter.
Jam When a hitter gets a pitch near his hands, he is “jammed.” Also when a pitcher gets himself in trouble by allowing multiple batters to reach base.
Leather Refers to how good a player plays defensively or handles the glove. Ex: “He flashed some leather on that play.”
Meatball An easy pitch to hit, usually right down the middle of the plate.
Mendoza Line A batting average of around .200.
Moon Shot A very long, high home run.
Nail Down As in “nail down a victory.” Refers to a pitcher finishing off the game.
On The Screws When a batter hits the ball hard. Also “on the button.”
Painting The Black When a pitcher throws the ball over the edge of the plate.
Pea A ball traveling at high speed, either batted or thrown.
Pepper Pepper is a common batting practice exercise where one player hits brisk grounders and line drives to a group of fielders who are standing about 20 feet away. The fielders throw it back as quickly as possible. The batter hits the return throw repeating the process.
Pick A good defensive play by an infielder on a ground ball. Also a shortened version of “pick-off.”
Pickle A rundown.
Plunked Getting hit by a pitch.
Pop Up A fly ball that doesn’t leave the infield.
Pow Wow When the manager, catcher, pitcher and infielders have a meeting at the mound.
Punch And Judy Hitter A weak hitter that has no home run power.
Punch Out A strikeout.
Retire The Side When a team gets 3 outs on another team.
Rhubarb A fight or scuffle.
Ribbie Another way of saying RBI. Also “ribeye.”
Rifle This refers to a strong throwing arm.
Ring Him Up This refers to an umpire calling strike three on a hitter.
Room Service When a ball is hit right to an fielder where he barely has to move to catch it.
Rope A hard line drive hit by a batter. Also “frozen rope.”
Round Tripper A home run.
Rubber Arm A pitcher who’s arm doesn’t get tired despite throwing a ton of pitches.
Rubber Game The deciding game of a series. Most MLB games are played in a 3 game series. If each team has a win, the 3rd game would be dubbed “the rubber game of the series”.
Rundown When a baserunner gets caught between bases by the fielders.
Runners At The Corners This would mean runners are on 1st base and 3rd base.
Runners In Scoring Position This would mean runners are on 2nd or 3rd base or both. This is called scoring position because theoretically a runner can USUALLY score on a hit from 2nd base.
Ruthian With great power, in reference to the great Babe Ruth.
Ruthian Blast A long home run which is named after the legend Babe Ruth, who was known for hitting very long home runs.
Second Sacker 2nd baseman.
Seeing-Eye Single A soft ground ball that finds its way between infielders for a base hit.
Sent Down This refers to a major league player who was demoted to the minor league. (Often times AAA)
Set-Up Man A relief pitcher who usually enters the game in the 7th or 8th inning.
Setup Man A pitcher who comes in for the 8th inning when a team has a lead. He “sets the table” for the closer.
Shelled This term is used when a pitcher gives up a lot of hits or home runs. “He got shelled”.
Shoestring Catch A running catch made just above the fielder’s shoetops.
Short Hop A ball that comes to a fielder and bounces right in front of his glove in turn bouncing up quickly.
Shot Heard Round The World The “Shot Heard ’round the World” is the term given to the walk-off home run hit by New York Giants outfielder Bobby Thomson off Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca at the Polo Grounds to win the National League pennant October 3, 1951. The Giants went on to win the game 5-4, defeating the Dodgers in the series, 2 games to 1.
Shutout A team being shutout means they didn’t score ANY runs.
Sitting On A Pitch When a hitter is looking for a certain pitch and waiting to swing until he sees it coming. This often times refers to a hitter waiting for a fastball on a 3-0 pitch. (3 balls no strikes)
Skipper A team’s manager.
Slap Hitter Singles hitter with little to no power.
Slider A fast pitch released with the index and middle fingers together and slightly off center of the ball so that it breaks in the same direction as a curve ball as it approaches the plate.
Slump When a player isn’t doing very well for a prolonged period of time.
Small Ball When a team scores runs using it’s speed as it’s main source of run scoring. An example would be a guy bunts for a hit, steals second, the next hitter bunts (sacrafices) him over to 3rd and he scores on a passed ball.
Smoke A pitcher who throws hard with high velocity.
Snow Cone Grab When a fielder catches a ball very high in his mitts webbing and the ball is sticking out of the top of his glove appearing to be like a snow cone.
Southpaw A left handed pitcher.
Spit Ball An illegal pitch in which a foreign substance, usually spit or Vaseline, is applied to the ball by the pitcher before he throws it. The spit ball was a legal pitch in baseball before the 1920 season.
Spray Hitter A hitter with the ability to hit the ball to all fields. These are usually non power hitting players.
Squibber A ball that trickles slowly in the infield after it was hit.
Staying Alive A batter who fouls off pitch after pitch not striking out.
Stick A bat.
Stranded Runners Runners left on base after a team gets 3 outs in an inning.
Strike Out When a batter receives three strikes and is called out.
Strike Out The Side When a pitcher strikes out all three hitters in an inning.
Strike’Em Out Throw’Em Out Double Play When a hitter strikes out and a runner is caught trying to steal on the same play.
Struck Out Looking When a hitter is called out on strike 3 without swinging.
Submarine Pitcher A very low sidearm motion when pitching where the arm motion is below the pitchers waist line. The most famous “submariner” was Dan Quisenberry.
Sweep When a team wins all three games of a series vs. another team.
Sweet Spot The part of the bat just a few inches from the barrel.
Table Setter Batter whose job is to get on base for other hitters to drive him in. Usually a leadoff or No. 2 hitter.
Take Something Off The Pitch This refers to a pitch that is thrown slower than a pitcher’s normal velocity. The purpose is to keep the hitter off balance not knowing what to expect.
Take The Bat Out Of His Hands This is said when a team intentionally walks a player.
Tape Measure Shot A very long home run.
Tape-Measure Blast A really long home run.
Tater A home run.
Tattoo You might hear someobdy say “he tattoed it!”. This means a hitter hit a ball exceptionally hard.
Telegraphing Pitches When a pitcher gives away to the hitter what he’s going to throw.
Texas Leaguer A bloop hit that drops between an infielder and outfielder.
The 1919 Black Sox Scandal Eight members of the Chicago White Sox were banned from baseball in 1921 for conspiring with gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. The best-known of the “Black Sox” was Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was involved in the scandal but his playing statistics during the series were among the best on the team.
The Cycle When a player hits a single, double, triple and home run all in the same game. He hit for “the cycle”.
The Great Bambino The nickname given to Yankee legend Babe Ruth.
The Hill The pitchers mound.
The Hole The spot in between the shortstop and third base. You may here an announcer say “he hit one in the hole”.
The Hot Corner This refers to third base. The reason it’s called “the hot corner” is because when a right handed batter pulls a ball that goes from home plate to third base.
The Letters When a pitch comes across the plate at chest level.
Toe The Slab This is when a pitcher steps on the rubber on the mound.
Tools Of Ignorance Catcher’s equipment.
Top Of The Inning The first part of an inning when the road team is due up to bat.
Touch ‘Em All Hitting a home run (touching all the bases).
Touched Up When a pitcher gets hit hard and gives up a bunch of runs.
Turn Two Double play.
Twin Killing A double play.
Uncle Charlie Curve ball.
Uncle Charlie A curveball.
Up The Middle The area between the shortstop and second baseman. “He hit it up the middle” direcotry over second base.
Upstairs A high pitch.
Utility Player A player who fills in at many positions.
Walk Off A hit that wins the game in the bottom of an inning.
Warning Track Dirt or gravel area before the wall. This let’s warns outfielders that their just about to crash into the wall, warning them.
Waste A Pitch When a pitcher is up in the count no balls and two strikes or one ball and two strikes, he may “waste” a pitch on the hitter. This means throwing something unhittable with hopes that the batter will swing and strike out.
Wheelhouse A hitter’s power zone. Usually a pitch waist high and over the middle of the plate.
Wheelhouse A hitters power zone.
Wheels A ballplayer’s legs. If a player ‘has wheels’ he is fast.
Wheels You may hear somebody refer to a player as “having wheels”. This means the player is exceptionally fast.
Whiff Strikeout.
Whiff A swing and a miss.
White Wash A team whitewash’s a team when they don’t allow them to score any runs.
Words Explanation
Yakker Curve ball.
Yard This can refer to a ballpark OR if a person says “he went yard” that means the player hit a home run.
You’Re In The Hole The batter due up after the hitter on deck.
Zip A player with “zip” is one who can throw the ball hard. “He had some zip on it”.