Baseball has been one of the highest-grossing sports franchises in the world for decades now. Since its inception, it has been on the frontline of American pride in sports events, among other famous acts like basketball and football.
In the course of its life, it has had a significant impact on society and all forms of media that actively engage with it. As a result, many baseball terms and definitions have come and gone in the attempt to describe the game to players and fans alike.
So let us take a look at some of these basic baseball terms.
Batting Baseball Terms:
These are some baseball terms that you will encounter during batting and their meanings.
- Ahead in the count- signifies when the batter has an advantage. This means the batter has more hits than misses.
- Behind in the count- signifies when the batter has a disadvantage against the pitcher. This means the batter has more misses than hits.
- Barrel it up refers to the action taken when the batter hits the ball with the bat’s sweet spot.
- Bat flip- an action typically done by the batter to show off after hitting a home run. The batter flips the bat in the air in celebration. Sometimes this is used to taunt the competitors.
- Big fly- sometimes known as a home run. This is when the ball is hit and flies outside of the bounds of the field. The opposing team cannot retrieve it, and the batter is free to advance across all the bases.
- Base hit- a fair ball hit such that the batter can advance to the next base without the advantage of errors committed by the opposing team.
- Caught looking- a term used when the batter misses all three pitches without swinging the bat.
- Clear bases- used when the batter scores all runners on bases. This means the batter scores on all tries and allows all the base runners to advance successfully.
- Find a gap (gap shot)- used when the batter gets a base hit by hitting the ball between outfielders.
- Find a hole- used when a batter gets a base hit by hitting the ball between infielders.
- Full count- a count of 3 balls (successful hit) and two strikes (failed hit). Another strike results in a strikeout, while another ball results in a walk.
- Golfing- This means swinging at an obviously low pitch aimed near the ground.
- Home run– used when a player hits the ball out of the fence such that he can run from home base to first, second and third base, then finally back to home base.
- Moonshot- a towering fly ball, usually used when the player hits a home run.
- Strike- used when a batter swings at a pitch but fails to hit.
- Strike zone- this is the area above the home plate where strikes are called. Strikes are called when the batter swings and fails to hit, and the ball passes between the batter’s knees and the letters on his jersey.
- Sweet spot- this is a location on the bat’s barrel that is perfect for a player to hit the ball. Landing a hit on this spot produces the most solid contact.
- Switch hitter- a player who can hit both sides of the home plate left-handed and right-handed.
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Pitching Baseball Phrases:
These are the baseball terms and meanings you are bound to encounter during pitching:
- Ace- the best starting pitcher on the team, who usually is first on the pitching rotation.
- Beamed- used when the pitcher throws a pitch to hit the batter if they do not move out of the way. “The hitter got beamed.”
- Curveball- refers to a pitch that curves away from its expected straight flight path towards the home plate.
- Fastball- the most common type of throw, a pitch meant to be thrown very fast.
- Hanger- refers to a poorly placed pitch whose speed is off and appears to hang in the air. This becomes an easy hit for the batter.
- Live on the corners- a pitcher is said to live on the corners when he consistently makes pitches inside or outside the home plate corners.
- Metaballs- this baseball expression is used when the pitcher is throwing extremely easy balls to hit.
- No-hitter- refers to a rare feat for a pitcher against the opposing team where one team doesn’t get any hits, especially at the major league level.
- On the bump- this term is used to refer to the pitcher on the pitcher’s mound.” on the bump tonight is [insert name].”
- Relief pitcher- a pitcher who comes into the game when the starting pitcher is injured, tired, or is letting up too many hits or runs,
- Slurve- this is one of many baseball terms slang used when a pitch is between a curveball and a slider
- Submarine- a pitcher who throws with an extreme sidearm motion making the pitch appear to come from below the waist is said to throw a submarine
- Walk- when the pitcher throws four balls at a batter before throwing three strikes, the batter gets to advance to first base automatically.
Fielding Baseball Terms A-Z:
Baseball terminology for fielding includes such as these;
- Around the home- refers to the act of infielders throwing the ball to each other after recording an out (when the infielder catches the ball before the runner gets to his base)
- Backstop- refers to the fence or wall behind home plate to protect spectators from wild throws or foul balls.
- Bad hop- refers to one of the basic baseball terms referring to a ball that bounces unexpectedly in front of an infielder because of imperfections of the field or the ball’s spin.
- Batter’s box- rectangular box on the right or left of the home plate where the batter should stand for fair play to resume. Bullpen- a designated area on the pitch where pitchers can warm out before entering the field.
- Can of corn- a ball hit to a player, typically in the outfield that is as easy to catch as a can of corn.
- Cut-off man- this is a player that cuts off a long throw from the outfield to an essential player in the infield.
- Error- a mistake in fielding the baseball that allows the batter to reach base or a base runner to advance to another base.
- Force play- a play in which the runner must advance when the ball is hit. This allows the infield players to put the runner out by touching the approached base plate before the runner gets there.
- Infielder- refers to a player whose position is first base, second base, third base, or shortstop.
- Layout- This happens when a field player dives to make a play on a batted ball.
- Outfielder- refers to a player whose position is left field, right field, or center field.
- Short porch- refers to a baseball field with a short distance to the outfield fence.
- Utility player-this is a player who can take several different positions, also known as a versatile player.
- Warning track- the dirt area that borders the fence of a baseball field in the outfield used to prevent the fielders from running into the fence at full speed.
- Web gem- refers to the webbing on a fielders glove; used when a player makes an excellent defensive play.
Base Running Baseball Phrases:
Base running has a lot of baseball terminology, including;
- Bases loaded- having a runner on first, second, and third base.
- Pitch runner- a substitute base runner.
- Pitch Runner- This is a baseball slanguage term for a substitute base runner.
- Runners At The Corner- used to refer to the runners on first and third base.
- Scoring position- used when a runner is on second or third base.
- Stolen base – used when the base runner successfully reaches the next base while the pitcher delivers the ball to the home plate.
- Stranded- when the half-inning (the team’s turn to field or bat) ends and the base runner has not scored or been put out, he is stranded at the base.
Baseball Game Phrases:
Here is a list of the most common baseball game phrases typically used;
- Blue- this is a baseball slanguage term used by players for the umpire to refer to the dark blue color of the umpire’s uniform.
- Bonus baseball- when a game goes beyond nine innings of play. Also called “free baseball.”
- Goose Egg- a zero on the scoreboard.
- Innings- used to refer to one of two half-innings when it is one team’s turn to bat until three strikes are called.
- Outs- the umpire calls an out when three outs are recorded at a team’s inning and their turn at batting ends. Batters or runners can usually be put out in many ways through strikeouts, flyouts, or force-outs.
- Position player- refers to any player on the field except the pitcher.
- Slump – refers to an extended period when a team or player is not performing well.
- Tossed- when a player or coach is tossed out by the umpire, usually due to a fight or argument with another player/coach/umpire.
- Yips- one of the baseball terms slang used when a player suddenly cannot hit or field correctly, typically due to overthinking things.
Here’s to hoping that this list of specialized and unofficial terms will go a long way into enhancing your baseball game experience.