America’s pastime has all kinds of interesting terminology, which we’ve included in this look at baseball slang.
Like solo shot and windup, some terms are used more routinely by fans, while other terms, like blue and choke up, are used for those closer to the game, like players, coaches, and analysts. Still, it is beneficial to understand these terms so you know what is going on when you hear these terms in baseball.
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Best Baseball Slang
We’ll start with some common baseball terminology that every baseball fan should know.
The top-rated starting pitcher, a team, has. An ace would want to have an ERA under 3.0 and pitch deep into a game.
Ahead in the count
When either the batter is closer to a walk or a pitcher is closer to a strikeout. A batter is ahead in the count when the count is 3-1. A pitcher is ahead in the count when the count is 0-2.
Around the horn
An action is done by the infielders after recording an out with no one on base. It involves the ball being tossed between each of the four infielders before returning to the pitcher for the next at-bat.
When a fielder catches the ball over his back and near waist level, these plays require an extreme amount of concentration to execute successfully.
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MLB Basket Catches YouTube Video
Good Baseball Jargon
Baseball phrases can be straightforward and conservative or creative and descriptive. Check out the baseball terms.
A player reaching base safely with a solid hit and no errors. A player hitting a double, triple, or home run is considered an extra-base hit.
When a team goes through all nine batters in the same inning, this doesn’t happen very often, so it is special when it does happen.
A weakly hit fly ball that falls between an outfielder and an infielder. Bloopers are not considered errors but just lucky hits.
A nickname players and coaches use for an umpire in baseball. This comes from the color of their uniform, which is usually either light or dark blue.
Another term to describe the pitcher’s mound. The bump is located in the middle of the infield, 60 feet, six inches away from the home plate.
The part of the ballpark is reserved for relief pitchers to sit and warm up. The bullpen is also referred to when talking about how well a team’s relief pitchers are performing. “They really need to improve their bullpen if they want to make a postseason run.”
Can of corn
A routine fly ball to the outfield. Not catching this would be considered an error.
A player with a great throwing arm. Usually applied to outfielders, but can also be used for a shortstop, third basemen, or catcher.
When a batter strikes out without swinging the bat on the third strike, the batter looks at the third strike.
Chin music – Baseball Slang
When a pitcher throws a pitch near the batter’s head, especially on a high-velocity pitch, sometimes this is done to get a batter off the plate, or the pitch could have just gotten away from the pitcher.
When a batter places his hands further up the handle on a bat, rather than near the knob of the bat, players do this to have more control of the bat and shorten their swing.
The fourth player in a team’s batting order. If the first three batters reach base, the cleanup hitter can come up and hit a grand slam.
When a batter hits a pitch right back to the pitcher, these plays can be dangerous for the pitcher’s health if hit back at a high velocity.
When a player hits a single, double, triple and a home run in the same game, this feat is challenging to get since a batter usually gets no more than five at-bats.
Lingo For Baseball
If you’re sitting on the player’s bench or in the crowd, it will help your understanding of the game to know these terms.
Another name for a home run or homer.
A play in baseball where the defense records two out-on-one plays. Many times this comes from a ground ball in the infield, but it can also come from a line drive or fly ball.
Either the top or bottom half of an inning. For away teams, they bat in the top frame and field in the bottom frame. For home teams, the field in the top frame and bat in the bottom frame.
The action of a catcher receiving a pitch and making it appear like a strike is called framing a pitch. The catcher will catch the ball and turn his mitt to make a ball or borderline pitch appear to be a strike in hopes that the umpire will give them the call.
When there are three balls and two strikes in an at-bat, the next ball would be a walk, and the next strike would be an out. Pitchers need to throw a strike, and hitters are looking to swing the bat.
The space in the outfield between the outfielders. Many extra-base hits are hit in the gap.
A home run with the bases loaded. This is worth four runs, so this is the biggest hit a player can have in baseball.
Hit and run
A designed play in baseball where the baserunner runs and the hitter tries to hit the ball. The baserunner begins running once he sees the pitcher throw a pitch, and the hitter does his best to contact the ball.
When a pitcher strikes out all three batters in an inning with nine pitchers, the pitcher throws nine consecutive strikes.
When a pitcher throws a no-hitter, that means he allowed no hits but did allow a baserunner through a walk or his team had a defensive error. No-hitters are the second-best feat a pitcher can have in a single game following a perfect game.
When a pitcher throws a perfect game, that means he doesn’t allow any baserunners and faces the minimum hitters possible with no hits. A perfect game would require a pitcher to record an out on all 27 batters fac in normal nine-inning games.
See How long is a baseball game?
A player is notorious for his power-hitting. The greatest sluggers will have the highest slugging percentage. The top slugger in each position in the American League and National League gets the Silver Slugger Award each year in the MLB.
A period of time in which a player or team is not performing well. A player getting two hits in his last 40 at-bats would be an example of a player in a slump.
Solo shot – Baseball Slang
A home run with no one on base, worth one run. A home run with one man on base can be called a two-run shot since it is worth two runs, a home run with two men on base can be called a three-run shot since it is worth three runs.
A name for a left-handed pitcher. Most pitchers are right-handed, so southpaws are unique in baseball.
A baserunner reaches base safely but is left on base without scoring at the end of a frame. An example of this is when a baserunner is on second with two outs, then the batter strikes out for the third out without scoring the player on second base.
A pitcher with an unorthodox release point, typically closer to the pitcher’s side rather than over the top. Submarine-style pitchers don’t usually throw as fast as orthodox pitchers, but their strange delivery can be difficult to hit against.
MLB Submarine Pitchers Video
A spot on the barrel of the baseball bat where the ball will travel the furthest. Hitting the sweet spot on the bat will create a loud pop sound.
Take the hill
The act of a pitcher going onto the pitching mound, typically to start a game or the mound. “He takes the hill to begin the bottom of the third.”
A section where a hitter tends to find great success with power. The wheelhouse for many hitters is higher in the strike zone.
A continuous motion n used by pitchers when no one is on base or a man on third. Once the windup starts, the pitcher must finish it, or else it will be a balk.
We hope you enjoyed our collection of baseball slang and lingo.
By Nathan Dunn with Mike O’Halloran
Nathan is a sportswriter based in Kansas City who writes about baseball, football, and soccer. Mike is the founder and editor of Sports Feel Good Stories.
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