Understanding Baseball slang Terms

baseball slang

Baseball, often referred to as “America’s Pastime,” is a sport rich in history and tradition. Like any sport, it comes with its own language, a collection of terms and phrases that can be perplexing to newcomers.

We aim to explain some of the most common baseball terms, enhancing the understanding and enjoyment of the game for both new and seasoned fans.

24 Batting and Hitting Baseball Slang Terms

  1. Dinger: A home run.
  2. Wheelhouse: A batter’s sweet spot for hitting.
  3. Frozen Rope: A hard-hit line drive.
  4. Whiff: Striking out on a swing and a miss.
  5. Texas Leaguer: A weakly hit ball that lands between the infielders and outfielders for a hit.
  6. Going Yard: Hitting a home run.
  7. Moonshot: A home run hit so high it seems to reach the moon.
  8. Bleeder: A weakly hit ground ball that barely makes it through the infield.
  9. Gapper: A ball hit into the gap between outfielders, often resulting in extra bases.
  10. Golden Sombrero: Striking out four times in a single game.
  11. Seeing-Eye Single: A softly hit ball that manages to find its way between infielders for a hit.
  12. Punch and Judy Hitter: A batter known for hitting with little power, focusing on making contact and getting on base.
  13. Tater: Another term for a home run.
  14. Jack: Also a slang term for a home run.
  15. Mendoza Line: Batting average of around .200, a threshold for minimal acceptable performance for hitters.
  16. Bloop Single: A softly hit fly ball that lands in the outfield just beyond the infielders.
  17. The Wheelhouse: A specific area or zone where a hitter can make the best contact with the ball.
  18. Rake: To hit the ball well consistently; a player who is raking is on a hitting hot streak.
  19. Opposite Field Hit: A hit that goes to the side of the outfield opposite of the batter’s stance (left field for a right-handed batter and vice versa).
  20. Silver Slugger: An award given to the best offensive player at each position in both the American and National Leagues.
  21. Launch Angle: The angle at which the ball leaves the bat, an increasingly popular metric in modern baseball analysis.
  22. Barrel Up: Making perfect contact between the bat and the ball.
  23. Choke Up: To hold the bat further from the bottom to have more control over the swings, usually done in two-strike counts.
  24. Warning-Track Power: A term humorously used for a player who hits the ball far, but not quite far enough for a home run.

28 Pitching Baseball Slang Terms

  1. Painting the Corners: A pitcher throwing strikes on the outer edges of the strike zone.
  2. Fireman: A relief pitcher who gets the team out of a jam.
  3. Junk: Pitches that are not fastballs, like curveballs or sliders.
  4. Southpaw: A left-handed pitcher.
  5. Gas: A very fast fastball.
  6. Ace: The best starting pitcher on the team.
  7. Heat: Another term for a very fast fastball.
  8. Junkballer: A pitcher who relies more on breaking balls and off-speed pitches than on fastballs.
  9. K: Used to denote a strikeout. Originates from the last letter in “struck,” as in “struck out.”
  10. Uncle Charlie: A curveball.
  11. Wipeout Pitch: A pitch that’s extremely hard for batters to hit, often leading to strikeouts.
  12. Flamethrower: A pitcher known for throwing exceptionally fast pitches.
  13. Circle Change: A type of changeup pitch thrown with a particular grip that resembles a circle.
  14. Backdoor Slider: A slider that appears to be out of the strike zone, but then breaks back in to catch the corner.
  15. Lights Out: Describing a pitcher who is performing exceptionally well, often to the point of dominating the opposing batters.
  16. Splitter: A split-finger fastball, a pitch that drops sharply as it reaches the plate.
  17. Brushback: A pitch thrown close to a batter to intimidate or move them away from the plate.
  18. Goose Egg: A zero in the run column; a shutout inning.
  19. Sinker: A pitch that drops downward as it approaches the plate, often resulting in ground balls.
  20. Setup Man: A relief pitcher who pitches before the closer, usually in the 7th or 8th inning.
  21. Change of Pace: A pitch significantly slower than a pitcher’s fastball, intended to disrupt the batter’s timing.
  22. Cheddar: Another term for a fast fastball, often with a slight rise as it approaches the batter.
  23. Save Situation: A situation where the game conditions allow a relief pitcher to earn a save.
  24. Yakker: A big, breaking curveball.
  25. Twelve-to-Six Curveball: A curveball that moves sharply in a downward motion, resembling the hands of a clock moving from 12 to 6.
  26. Beanball: An intentional or unintentional pitch that hits the batter.
  27. Vulture Win: When a relief pitcher gets a win due to the team’s late comeback.
  28. Pickoff Move: A pitcher’s attempt to throw out a runner who is leading off or attempting to steal a base.

21 Fielding Baseball Slang Terms

  1. Web Gem: An outstanding or spectacular defensive play.
  2. Cannon: A fielder with a very strong arm.
  3. Double Play Depth: Positioning of middle infielders to increase the likelihood of a double play.
  4. Leather: Refers to defensive play, especially a good play. Derived from the leather of baseball gloves.
  5. Hose: Describes a player, usually an outfielder, with a very strong arm. “He hosed him at the plate” means he threw a runner out at home.
  6. Pick it: A phrase encouraging a player to field a ground ball cleanly.
  7. Web Gem: An outstanding or spectacular defensive play, often seen on highlight reels.
  8. Snow Cone: A catch where the ball is barely held in the tip of the glove, resembling a snow cone.
  9. Around the Horn: Throwing the ball around the infield after recording an out, typically in a 5-4-3 (third to second to first) pattern.
  10. Basket Catch: Catching the ball near waist level with the glove facing upward, similar to carrying a basket.
  11. Gold Glove: An award given annually to players judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position in both the National and American Leagues.
  12. Hot Corner: Third base, called so because of the fast and hard-hit balls often fielded there.
  13. Jump Throw: A throw made by an infielder while jumping, often seen in difficult plays, especially by shortstops.
  14. Putout: Credited to a fielder who tags, catches, or forces out a runner.
  15. Range: Refers to how much ground a fielder can cover.
  16. Twin Killing: Another term for a double play.
  17. Unassisted Triple Play: A rare play where a fielder makes all three outs by himself in one continuous play.
  18. Wall Climber: A fielder who makes a catch against the outfield wall.
  19. Gap Coverage: The ability of an outfielder to cover the area between them and another outfielder.
  20. Bang-Bang Play: A play where the runner and the ball reach the base at nearly the same time.
  21. Shift: A strategic movement of fielders out of their standard positions to defend against a particular batter’s hitting tendencies.

22 Base Running Slang Terms

  1. Swipe: Stealing a base.
  2. Pickoff: A pitcher’s throw to a base to try to catch a runner off guard.
  3. Manufacturing Runs: Scoring through small ball tactics like bunts and steals.
  4. On the Bags: Refers to base runners being on base.
  5. Wheels: Refers to a player’s speed, particularly when running the bases. A player with “good wheels” is fast.
  6. Theft: Another term for a stolen base.
  7. Motor: Used to describe a player who runs the bases aggressively and quickly.
  8. Pilfer: To steal a base, especially in a situation where the steal is unexpected.
  9. Station-to-Station: Moving from one base to the next without taking extra bases. Often used for slower runners.
  10. Touch ‘Em All: To hit a home run; the batter gets to touch all the bases.
  11. Manufacture a Run: To score through small ball tactics, like stealing bases, bunting, and taking advantage of fielding errors.
  12. Bag: A base. “Stealing the bag” means stealing the base.
  13. Dirtball Read: When a base runner advances after reading that a pitch will be in the dirt or poorly handled by the catcher.
  14. Green Light: Permission given to a base runner to attempt to steal a base.
  15. Hit and Run: A play where the runner starts running as the pitch is thrown, and the batter attempts to hit the ball.
  16. Rundown: A play where a runner is caught between two bases and is chased down by fielders.
  17. Tag Up: When a base runner returns to their base after a fly ball is caught to legally advance to the next base.
  18. Frozen on a Line Drive: When a runner holds their position to see if a line drive is caught so they don’t get doubled off.
  19. Basepath: The path the runner takes between bases.
  20. Secondary Lead: A lead taken by a base runner once a pitch crosses the plate, allowing for a quicker start on a hit.
  21. Leadoff: The distance a runner takes away from a base to get a head start on the next play.
  22. Stretch a Single into a Double: Aggressively turning a routine single hit into a double by running hard to second base.

25 General Gameplay and Strategy Slang

  1. Bush League: Unprofessional or unsportsmanlike behavior.
  2. Small Ball: A strategy focused on getting runners on base and advancing them into scoring position with sacrifices, bunts, and stolen bases.
  3. Rally Cap: When players and fans turn their caps inside out or wear them in a strange way to encourage a rally.
  4. Can of Corn: An easy catch by a fielder.
  5. The Show or The Bigs: Refers to Major League Baseball (MLB).
  6. Bleacher Bums: Dedicated fans who typically sit in the bleachers, known for their unwavering support and lively antics.
  7. Can of Corn: An easy catch for a fielder, typically a fly ball.
  8. Chin Music: A pitch thrown near a batter’s head to intimidate or back them off the plate.
  9. Ducks on the Pond: Runners on base, especially in scoring position.
  10. Free Pass: Another term for a walk, where the batter reaches first base without hitting the ball.
  11. In the Hole: The batter who is next in line to bat after the on-deck hitter.
  12. Meatball: An easy pitch to hit, usually right down the middle of the strike zone.
  13. On Deck: The next batter due to bat, waiting near the home plate.
  14. Rhubarb: A heated argument or fight on the field, often involving players and umpires.
  15. Rubber Game: The deciding game of a series when each team has won an equal number of games.
  16. Tools of Ignorance: The gear worn by catchers, humorously implying that only an ignorant person would play such a demanding position.
  17. Walk-Off: A hit or home run that immediately ends the game with the home team winning.
  18. Yard: A term for a ballpark or stadium.
  19. 5-Tool Player: A player who excels at hitting for average, hitting for power, base running skills and speed, throwing ability, and fielding abilities.
  20. Insurance Run: Additional runs scored by the leading team, helping to secure a lead late in the game.
  21. Quality Start: A start by a pitcher that lasts at least six innings, with no more than three earned runs allowed.
  22. Magic Number: The combined number of wins by the leading team and losses by the trailing team needed to clinch a division or playoff spot.
  23. No-No: Slang for a no-hitter, a game in which a team does not get any hits.
  24. Perfect Game: A game in which a pitcher (or pitchers) allows no opposing player to reach base.
  25. Skipper: The team’s manager.

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