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Baseball Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

    Ace - A baseball team’s best starting pitcher.

    Alley - The open space between the outfielders, also called the “gap.”

    Around the horn - A double play in which the third baseman throws to the second baseman, who then throws to the first baseman.

B

    Backdoor - Refers to a breaking ball – usually a slider or curveball – that appears to be outside the strike zone, but deceives the batter by breaking over the outside corner of the plate for a strike.

    Bandbox - A small ballpark where a lot of home runs are typically hit.

    Basket catch - An unorthodox play that occurs when a defensive player catches a batted ball in the air, with his glove positioned at his waist and facing upward like a basket.

    Brushback - A pitch – usually a fastball – that nearly hits the batter and “brushes him back.”

C

    Can o' corn - A slang term for a routine fly ball.

    Caught looking - Term for when a batter takes a called third strike.

    Cheese - Slang term for an especially good fastball.

    Chin music - A pitch (usually a fastball) that is high and inside, near the batter’s chin.

D

    Deuce - Slang term for a curveball, which is often signaled by the catcher with two fingers.

    Dinger - A slang term for a home run.

    Dish - A slang term for home plate.

    Dying Quail - A batted ball that drops suddenly between the infielders and outfielders, like a bird that has been shot out of the air.

F

    Fall classic - A nickname for Major League Baseball's annual World Series.

    Free pass - Another term for a base on balls.

    Frozen rope - Slang term for a line drive that is hit extremely hard, or an especially strong throw by a fielder.

H

    Heat - Slang term for an especially good fastball (also, "heater").

    Hot corner - A slang term for the third-base position. The term refers to the fact that the third baseman often plays very close to the batter and must therefore occasionally react to sharply hit balls.

J

    Junkballer - A slang term for a pitcher who throws an unusually high number of breaking balls and off-speed pitches, typically because he does not throw particularly fast. Therefore “junk” refers to slow breaking balls and offspeed pitches.

M

    Mendoza line - Term for a batting average of .200, which is not considered very good at any level of baseball. The term refers to former Major League player Mario Mendoza, whose batting average consistently hovered around .200

O

    On the screws - Slang term for when a batter hits the ball hard.

P

    Payoff pitch - A pitch that’s thrown on a full count.

    Pickle - Another term for a rundown, a play in which a runner is caught between two bases and two or more fielders attempt to chase him down and tag him out.

    Punch out - A slang term for a strikeout. It refers to the punching action some umpires make when calling strike three.

R

    Riding the pine - Slang term that refers to a player who is sitting on the bench.

    Rubber game - The final and deciding game of a series.

S

    Seeing-eye single - Slang term for a batted ball that’s not hit particularly hard, but that finds its way through the infield for a base hit.

    Senior circuit - Nickname for the National League, which has existed since 1876 (compared to the American league, which was founded in 1901).

    Shoestring catch - A running catch that is made just inches above the fielder’s shoes.

    Skipper - A slang term for the manager of a baseball team.

    Snow cone catch - Term used to describe a catch that barely stays in the tip of the fielder’s glove. The top of the ball sticks out, resembling a snow cone.

    Southpaw - A slang term for a left-handed pitcher. It is generally agreed upon that the term originated in the early days of baseball, when stadiums were built with home plate pointing west, first base pointing south, second base pointing east, and third base pointing north. The reason for this design was, during games played in the afternoon and evening, the sun would set behind home plate, keeping it out of the batters’ eyes, as well as those of the fans sitting behind home plate. As such, when a left-handed pitcher stands on the mound, his left arm (and paw) is facing south, towards first base.

    Sweet spot - The contact point on the bat that creates the hardest hits.

T

    The Black - A term used to describe the thin strip of black leather that runs along the circumference of home plate. A pitch that barely hits the edge of the strike zone is said to be “on the black.”

    Tools of ignorance - Slang term for catcher’s equipment, used because of the physical punishment the catcher often endures.

    Touch 'em all - Slang term used when a batter hits a home run (as in, touch all the bases).

    Twin killing - Slang term for a double play.

U

    Uncle charlie - Slang term for a good curveball

W

    Walk-off - Term to describe a run-scoring play that ends a game. Walk-offs occur when the home team scores to take the lead in the bottom of the last inning, ending the game, and leaving its opponent to “walk off” the field.

    Wheelhouse - A batter’s power zone; the location where a batter wants the ball to be pitched.

Check out this Baseball glossary to find the sport-specific definitions for which you have been looking. From A to Z, we've got all the words covered.
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