Baseball Terminology: A Glossary of Baseball Slang and Lingo
Whether you're talking baseball at the water cooler or at the ballpark, every now and then somebody uses a word that you may not be familiar with. Most of us are too embarrassed to ask the other guy what the slang or lingo means, but fear not! We've got you covered right here! If you've got any questions or we left some terminology uncovered, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we'll be happy to assist!
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By Loot, MLB Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
1: The pitcher.
2. The Catcher.
3. First baseman.
4. Second baseman.
5. Third baseman.
7. Left fielder.
8. Center fielder.
9. Right fielder.
6-4-3 Double Play: Shortstop to second, to first double play.
Aboard: Used to refer to “on base,” as in “there are 2 men aboard.”
Ace: Term used to refer to a top-notch starting pitcher.
Alley: Spaces in the field between the outfielders.
Around the Horn: When the fielders throw the ball around from 3rd, to 2nd to 1st during a double play OR when the catcher throws the ball down to third and the fielders toss it around after a strikeout OR when a hitter touches them all after a home run.
Average: A hitter’s batting average. We breakdown the calculation here: How to Calculate Batting Average.
Away: Refers to outs, as in “There are two away.” Also refers to road games.
Backdoor Slider: A slider that looks outside before cutting back across the plate.
Bad Hop: When a ground ball unpredictably makes a strange jump.
Balk: When a pitcher doesn’t complete his wind-up properly, all runners advance one base.
Bang-Bang: A play that unfolds very quickly and suddenly.
Banjo Hitter: A light-hitting batter who hits a lot of flair hits and seldom makes solid contact.
Bases Loaded (Juiced): When there are runners on first, second, and third base.
Basket Catch: An over the back catch made with the mitt held at mid-body.
Bat Around: When the first batter of an inning makes has another plate appearance in the same inning.
Battery: Term used to describe the pitcher and the catcher.
BB: Abbreviation for a walk or base on balls.
Beanball: A pitch designed to hit the batter.
Behind: A player’s position in the count. A pitcher who has thrown 3 balls and 0 strikes is behind in the count.
Blown Save: When a relief pitcher fails to close the game and allows the opposing team to take the lead.
Boys of Summer: Baseball players.
Break: The All-Star break in mid-season.
Brushback: A high-and-tight pitch designed to get the batter from crowding the plate.
Bullpen: The collective group of relief pitchers.
Bunt: A deliberately lightly hit ball usually intended to move base runners.
Cactus League: Spring training that takes place in Arizona.
Called Up: When a player is promoted to the major leagues from the minor leagues.
Caught Looking: When a batter is struck out without swinging at the third strike.
Caught Napping: An inattentive base runner who is picked off.
Change-Up: A pitch thrown at a deliberately slower speed.
Chase: When a batter attempts to hit a pitch outside the strike zone.
Cheap Run: When a team scores a run without doing much hitting.
Cheese: A fastball.
Chin Music: A pitch that is thrown at a batter’s head who might be too inside on the plate.
Chopper: A ground ball that is hit hard on the dirt and takes a high hop.
Choke Up: When a batter grips the bat higher in an effort to increase his bat control.
Clean Up Hitter: The best power-hitter on the team, who can clean up base runners with his powerful hitting.
Closer: A relief pitcher who closes out games.
Comebacker: A ball hit back to the pitcher.
Contact Hitter: A hitter without much power, but who consistently puts the ball in play.
Count: How many balls and strikes there are, as in “The count is one ball and two strikes.”
Cut Off Man: A fielder who takes incoming throws from an outfielder following a hit.
Cycle: Refers to all the different hits--a single, double, triple, and home run.
Dead Arm: A normally-effective pitcher who has grown weary and whose pitches are less effective.
Deuces Wild: When the number two is prevalent in the game. For example, “The score is 2-2 in the 2nd inning and the count is 2 balls and 2 strikes.
Dinger: Home Run.
DL: Abbreviation for the disabled list.
Double Play: When a batter hits the ball, resulting in the defense getting 2 outs on the play.
Double Steal: When two players on base both steal a base at the same time.
Down: To be behind, in the score or the count.
Dying Quail: A weakly hit fly that lands in between the infield and the outfield.
Earned Run: When a pitcher is responsible for the opposing team scoring a run.
Earned Run Average: How many earned runs a pitcher allows every 9 innings. For a more complete definition, check out our article on how to calculate ERA.
Extra Bases: A hit that is anything other than a single.
Extra Innings: When the game is tied after 9 innings, the game goes to extra innings.
Fall Classic: Term used to describe the World Series.
Farm Team: Term used to describe a minor league baseball team.
Fielder’s Choice: When a batter gets on base, but only because the fielder decided to throw out a different runner.
Five Tool Player: A baseball player who can do everything well--throw, run, field, and hot for average and power.
Force Play: When a fielder just has to step on the base for the baserunner to be out because a runner is on the previous base.
Forty-Forty Club: Fraternity of a small handful of players who have hit 40 home runs and stolen 40 bases in the same season.
Foul Tip: A ball that the batter hits which goes directly into the catcher’s glove.
Four Bagger: Home run.
Frame: Another word for an inning.
Free Pass: An intentional walk.
Frozen Rope: A solidly-hit line drive.
Gap: The spots between the outfielders.
Gas: Term used for a high-velocity fastball.
Gem: A great performance by a starting pitcher.
Go Deep: Term used for hitting a home run.
Go The Route: A starting pitcher who throws a complete game.
Go Yard: Another way to describe hitting a home run.
Grand Slam: A home run that is hot with the bases loaded resulting in 4 runs.
Grapefruit League: Spring training that takes place in the state of Florida.
Green Light: When a hitter is given the OK to swing at a pitch.
Ground Rule Double: When a hit ball takes one bounce and lands outside the field of play.
Hang: A pitch that does not break as intended, as in a “hanging curveball.”
Hardball: Another word for baseball.
HBP: Abbreviation for Hit by Pitch.
Heat: Fastballs thrown with high velocity.
High Cheese: A highly-thrown fastball.
Hit and Run: A play where the base runners are sent running as the pitch is en route to the hitter who will swing at the pitch.
Hold The Runner: When a pitcher throws the ball to a base to keep a base runner from taking too far of a lead.
Hometown Cooking: When a home player receives favorable scorekeeping, like getting credit for a hit that seemed to be an error.
Hook: When the manager changes pitchers, the pitcher being relieved gets the “hook.”
Human Rain Delay: A player, usually a batter, who takes an inordinate amount of time to get ready.
In the Hole: Refers to the batter up after the on deck hitter.
Inside-the-Park Home Run: When a player hits a home run with the ball that remains in the field of play.
Intentional Walk: When a pitcher deliberately allows a batter to take first base.
Juiced: Could refer to when the bases or loaded or a player who takes or took performance enhancing drugs.
Junk: Pitches that are tricky and have a lot of movement, though are not thrown with much velocity.
Knock: Another word for a hit.
Knuckleball: A ball thrown with little or no rotation.
Left on Base (LOB): Base runners who do not score are LOB.
Leg Out: When a batter or base runner runs hard to get on first or advance to a base.
Long Reliever: A relief pitcher who comes in earlier in the game and pitches for a few or several innings.
Long Out: A well-hit ball that looks threatening, but ends up being caught for an out.
Lumber: Another word for bat.
Magic Number: A formula that illustrates how close a particular team is to winning the division and going to the playoffs.
Mendoza Line: Named after former light-hitting MLB player Mario Mendoza. The Mendoza line is an average of .200.
Middle Relief: Relievers who bridge the gap between the starting pitcher and the closer.
Mix Up Pitches: A pitcher who uses an unpredictable variety of different pitches.
Nibble: When a pitcher works the far edges of the strike zone, on the edges of the plate.
No-No: Term used to describe a no-hitter pitching performance.
Nosebleed Section: Seats high up and way away from the field.
Official Game: When a game is officially completed, after 5 innings, in the event of bad weather.
Offspeed Pitch: A pitch thrown deliberately slower in order to fool the hitter.
On Deck: The next hitter scheduled to bat.
On His Horse: Term used to describe an outfielder who is in full-flight in effort to catch a ball.
On the Ropes: Used to describe a pitcher who is a difficult situation and on the verge of losing the game or getting the hook.
One-Two-Three Inning: When a pitcher faces three hitters and registers three consecutive outs.
Out Pitch: The particular pitch a pitcher depends on to register an out.
Paint: When a pitcher works the edges, he will “paint the corner.”
Payoff Pitch: A pitch thrown with a full-count. The deciding pitch, where only a foul ball will continue the action.
Pennant: A league championship.
Pennant Race: The competition at the end of the season to determine who will eventually be the league representative in the World Series.
Pepper: Quick exercise where one batter hits balls to a group of infielders standing close by.
Phantom Tag: When a baserunner is called out on a tag that actually never touched the runner.
Pine Tar: Substance used to give the batter an enhanced grip on the bat.
Pitcher of Record: The pitcher in a game who will be credited with the win or loss.
Pitchout: A pitch deliberately thrown well outside with the intention of having a clear path to throw out a baserunner.
Platoon: When a position on the team is played by two players who share playing time.
Plunked: Term used to describe when a pitcher hits a batter with a pitch.
Position Player: Anyone on the team who isn’t a pitcher.
Punch and Judy Hitter: A hitter who does not hit the ball solidly. A hitter with no power.
Punch Out: Term used to describe a strikeout.
Quality Start: When a starting pitcher manages to last 6 full innings while allowing 3 or fewer earned runs.
Relay: When an infielder takes a throw from an outfielder in an effort to throw out a base runner.
Rhubarb: Term used to describe a baseball brawl.
Rope: A solidly-hit line drive.
Round Tripper: Homer.
Rubber: White rubber plate that the pitcher pushes off of when pitching.
Sacrifice: When a batter is called out, but manages to move base to the next base.
Scoring Position: Term used to describe a base runner who is either on second or third base.
Sent Down: A major league player who is sent down to the minor leagues.
Short Porch: Term used to describe a field where it’s easier to hit home runs due to a part of the field that is shorter to home plate than what is considered normal.
Side Retired: Term used to describe when a team gets three outs and takes the field.
Slap Hitter: A batter who might hit for a high average, but has very little power.
Slugger: A power hitter.
Solo Home Run: A home run hot with no men on base.
Spray Hitter: A batter who is prone to hit the ball in any direction.
Stanza: Another word for an inning.
Starter: The starting pitcher.
Strand: To leave men on base without them scoring runs.
Strike Out the Side: A pitcher who registers three outs in an inning--all by strikeout.
Stuff: A pitcher’s overall quality to his pitches, as in “he has good stuff.”
Suicide Squeeze: When a batter attempts to bunt the ball so a base runner on third base can score.
Swing Away: When a batter is given the green light to take full swings, as opposed to bunting when men are on base.
Take a Pitch: When a batter decided before a pitch is even thrown to not swing at it.
Take Something Off: When a pitcher deliberately throws a pitch with less velocity.
Take Out Slide: When a base runner slides in an effort to disturb an infielder and aversely affect the fielder’s follow-up action, like turning a double play.
Tater: Home Run.
Texas Leaguer: A flair hit that lands in front of outfielders and just outside the reach of infielders.
Thirty-Thirty Club: A fraternity of players who have hit 30 home runs and stolen 30 bases in the same year.
Three-Bagger: Term used to describe a triple.
Top of the Order: The top of the lineup.
Touch'em All: Something announcer says when a player homers. Suggestive for "touch each base".
Turn Two: To execute a double play.
Two Bagger: Term used to describe a double.
Uecker Seats: Poor-quality seats.
Upper Decker: A home hun hit onto the top level of a stadium.
Utility Player: A player who can play different positions.
Walk-Off: When a hit ends the game.
Warning Track Power: Term used to describe a player whose lack of power only allows him to hit balls to the warning track.
Whiff: A swing and a miss leading to a strikeout.
WHIP: Walks + hits divided by innings pitched. A statistic used to gauge a pitcher's performance. For a more complete explanation of this term, check out Loot's article on what is baseball WHIP?.
Work the Count: A batter who is patient, trying to get the pitcher behind in the count to get a good pitch to hit.
Zone: The strike zone.