Baseball Lingo

When you talk about baseball, you’re talking about America’s pasttime. The beloved sport has been played since the late 1800’s and is still going strong.

Over the years, the sports picked up tons of lingo, jargon, nicknames, slang and acronyms. This article will highlight a good handful of those terms that you may here and have not a clue what the heck they mean. Enjoy!

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12-6: A curveball

1-2-3 inning: When a team gets all three hitters out allowing no walks, errors or hits.

4 Bagger: A homerun. The player gets to run around the bases which are aka “bags”

5 Tool Player: This refers to a baseball player that can hit for power, a high average, has good speed to steal bases, can field his position well and has a strong throwing arm.

6-4-3 Double Play: Each position on the field is given a number. 1 is the pitcher, 2 is the catcher, 3 is the first basement, 4 is the second baseman, 5 is the third basemen, 6 is the shortstop, 7 is left field, 8 is center field and 9 is the right fielder. A 6-4-3 double play would mean short to second to first.

Airmailed: “He airmailed it” refers to a high throw over another players head.

Alley: The area between the outfielders. Also known as “the gap”.

Around the Horn: When players throw the ball around to each other after an out. This is only done when there are no runners on base. Traditionally, after a strikeout, the catcher will fire the ball down to third base to get it started. The purpose is to keep the players arms warm.

Ate Him Up: When a fielder has a problem fielding the ball. Usually on a bad hop.

Bag: A base.

Base Knock: A single.

Bases Juiced: Bases loaded.

Battery: This refers to the pitcher and the catcher.

Bazooka: This refers to a fielder with a strong throwing arm.

Bean Ball: When a pitcher hits a batter with the pitch.

Bender: A curveball.

Booted: Refers to a player who made an error in the field. “He booted it”.

Bottom Dropped Out: This refers to a sinking pitch that dives down as it comes to the hitter.

BP: Abbreviation for “batting practice”.

Brushback: A pitcher throwing a ball inside to a hitter to keep him off the plate.

Can of Corn: An easy fly ball caught by a fielder.

Changeup: A pitch that appears to be a fastball but is lesser in speed. The purpose of throwing a changeup is to keep the hitter off balance and mess with his timing.

Check Swing: When a player starts to swing but holds it back not crossing the plate.

Chin Music: A pitch that buzzes a players face. (Is near to)

Chopper: A ball hit into the dirt around home plate, usually high into the air.

Cookie: A below average pitch that is easy to hit.

Cup of Coffee: This refers to a minor league player coming up to the major league club for a short period and then being sent back down to the minors. He was up for “a cup of coffee”.

Dead Pull Hitter: A right handed hitter that always hits the ball to the left side of the field OR a left handed hitter that always hits the ball to the right side (1b side) of the field.

Deuces Wild: Announcers will sometimes bust this term out when a hitter has a 2-2 count and there are 2 outs. They might also emphasize this if the score is also 2-2.

Dig it Out: When a fielder catches a ball that bounced in the dirt in front of him.

Dinger: Home run.

Dish: Home plate.

Donut: Weight put on a bat for practice swings. Then when the hitter takes the donut off the bat, it helps with their bat speed.

Dribbler: When a hitter hits a slow bouncing ball in the infield.

Drilled: When a batter gets hit by a pitch.


Duck Snort: A blooper hit that goes over the infielders head but in front of the outfielder.

Ducks on the Pond: When a hitter is up with men on base. The runners on base are referred to as the ducks on the pond.

Dying Quail: A high fly ball that drops in front of an outfielder quickly.

Eephus Pitch: A high arching pitch that is very slow. Basically a lob. This is very rare for a pitcher to try.

Erased: This refers to a runner on base that gets out trying to advance. “He was erased”.

Fighting off a Pitch: When a hitter has 2 strikes on him and is trying to “stay alive” by fouling off a pitch.

Frozen Rope: A hard hit line drive.

Full Count: When a hitter has 3 balls and 2 strikes on him.

Gapper: When a player hits a ball in between two outfielders.

Golden Sombrero: A player striking out 4 times in a single game.

Good Eye: You will hear this said about a hitter who doesn’t swing at bad pitches and takes a lot of walks.

Goose Egg: When a team doesn’t score any runs in the game.

Get Him Early: When a team hits a pitcher hard early in the game.

Grand Salami: A bases loaded homerun.

Green Light: This refers to a runner who is allowed to attempt to steal a base whenever he wants without having to be given a sign from the coach. This can also be said about a hitter who has a 3 ball count and instead of trying to “work a walk” off the pitcher he is allowed to swing.

Gun: A player with a strong throwing arm. You may also hear somebody say the player has a bazooka or “he threw a seed”

Handcuffed: When a pitcher throws an inside pitch to a hitter and it causes a short-bunched up swing.

Heater: A fastball.

High Heat: A high fastball.

Hold: When a relief pitcher comes in while the team has a lead, gets at least one out and doesnt relinquish the lead.

Hook: This can be one of a few things. A hook is a nickname for a curve ball. It’s also a phrase used when a coach visits the mount with intent to replace the pitcher. “He has the hook with him”.

Hurler: A pitcher.

Immaculate Inning: When a pitcher strikes out the side on 9 consecutive pitches.

In the Dirt: Refers to a pitch that bounced before it got to the catcher.

Junk: “He throws a lof of junk” would refer to a pitcher who throws a bunch of non fastball pitchers. Examples may be a screwball, forkball, circle change, sinker, etc.

Live Arm: This refers to a pitcher who throws with excellent velocity.

Longball: A homerun.

Make up Call: When an umpire makes a bad call then later realizes it was a bad call. He then may issue a make up call on a future situation that was borderline to “make it up to a team”. You will of course never get an umpire to admit this!

Meat Ball: An easy to hit pitch right down the heart of the plate.

Mendoza Line: A .200 batting average. This was designated to players that hit around .200 after a mid seventies to early 80’s shortstop by the name of Mario Mendoza managed to stay in the big leagues all the while amassing only a .215 career batting average. Weak hitter.

Moon Shot: A high towering fly ball homerun.

Mop Up Pitcher: A pitcher who comes in to close out a game when the other team is up by a ton and has pretty much locked up the win. On rare occasions, a manager may let a position player pitch. Usually occurs when a team is down by 10 runs or more.

Murderer’s Row: A string of really good hitters in a batting order. Usually the 3-4-5-6 hole hitters.

Mustard: “He had some mustard on it” refers to a throw that was of high velocity.

North Paw: A right handed pitcher.

OBP: This stands for on base percentage. This stat includes walks.

Passed Ball: When a catcher misses a pitch that allows a baserunner to advance.

Payoff Pitch: When a pitcher has 3 balls and 2 strikes on a hitter.

Pick it Clean: To field a sharply hit ground ball without error.


Pickle: A runner caught in a rundown.

Pickoff: The pitcher throws to a base where a runner is leading off and they get him out.

Pinch Hitter: A batter who hits for another batter.

Pitch Around a Hitter: Intentionally throwing bad pitches to a good hitter because you don’t want him to get a hit off of you.

Plate: The base at home. (1st, 2nd, 3rd and HOME)

Plunked: Getting hit by a pitch.

Pow Wow: When the manager, catcher, pitcher and infielders have a “meeting at the mound”.

Punch and Judy Hitter: A weak hitter that has no homerun power.

Punch Out: A strikeout.

Short Hop: When a player fields a ball that bounces low in front of them that has just bounced off the ground kinda fast.

Retire the Side: When a team gets 3 outs on another team.

Rifle: This refers to a strong throwing arm.

Ring him Up: This refers to an umpire calling strike three on a hitter.

RISP: Acronym for “Runners in Scoring Position”. A runner is in scoring position if he is on 2nd or 3rd base.

Room Service: When a ball is hit right to an fielder where he barely has to move to catch it.

Round Robin: One of the rarest feats in baseball… When an outfielder throws out a runner at every base including home plate.

Round Tripper: A homerun.

Rubber Arm: A pitcher who’s arm doesn’t get tired despite throwing a ton of pitches.

Rubber Game: Most MLB games are played in a 3 game series. If each team has a win, the 3rd game would be dubbed “the rubber game of the series”.

Runners at the Corners: This would mean runners are on 1st base and 3rd base.

Runners in Scoring Position: This would mean runners are on 2nd or 3rd base or both. This is called scoring position because theoretically a runner can USUALLY score on a hit from 2nd base.

Ruthian Blast: A long homerun which is named after the legend Babe Ruth, who was known for hitting very long homeruns.

Second Sacker: 2nd baseman.

Sent Down: This refers to a major league player who was demoted to the minor league. (Often times AAA)

Setup Man: A pitcher who comes in for the 8th inning when a team has a lead. He “sets the table” for the closer.

Shelled: this refers to a pitcher who gave up a bunch of hits, often times line drives and solid hits. “He got shelled”.

Short Hop: A ball that comes to a fielder and bounces right in front of his glove in turn bouncing up quickly.

Shutout: A team being shutout means they didn’t score ANY runs.

Sitting on a Pitch: When a hitter is looking for a certain pitch and waiting to swing until he sees it coming. This often times refers to a hitter waiting for a fastball on a 3-0 pitch. (3 balls no strikes)

Skipper: A team’s manager.

Stick: A bat.

Slap Hitter: Singles hitter with little to no power.

Slump: When a player isn’t doing very well for a prolonged period of time.

Small Ball: When a team scores runs using it’s speed as it’s main source of run scoring. An example would be a guy bunts for a hit, steals second, the next hitter bunts (sacrafices) him over to 3rd and he scores on a passed ball.

Snow Cone Grab: When a fielder catches a ball very high in his mitts webbing and the ball is sticking out of the top of his glove appearing to be like a snow cone.

Smoke: A pitcher who throws hard with high velocity.

South Paw: Somebody that throws left handed.

Spray Hitter: A hitter with the ability to hit the ball to all fields. These are usually non power hitting players.

Squibber: A ball that trickles slowly in the infield after it was hit.

Staying Alive: A batter who fouls off pitch after pitch not striking out.

Stay on Top: For a hitter this means not getting underneath the ball causing a pop-up. For a pitcher, this means pitching with proper form, “coming over the top” as opposed to throwing 3/4 or side arm.

Stranded Runners: Runners left on base after a team gets 3 outs in an inning.

Strike’em Out Throw’em Out Double Play: When a hitter strikes out and a runner is caught trying to steal on the same play.

Strike out the Side: When a pitcher strikes out all three hitters in an inning.

Struck Out Looking: When a hitter is called out on strike 3 without swinging.

Submarine Pitcher A very low sidearm motion when pitching where the arm motion is below the pitchers waist line. The most famous “submariner” was Dan Quisenberry

Sweep: When a team wins all three games of a series vs. another team.

Take Something off the Pitch: This refers to a pitch that is thrown slower than a pitcher’s normal velocity. The purpose is to keep the hitter off balance not knowing what to expect.

Take the Bat out of His Hands: This is said when a team intentionally walks a player.

Tape Measure Shot: A very long homerun.

Tater: Homerun.

Tattoo: You might hear someobdy say “he tattoed it!”. This means a hitter hit a ball exceptionally hard.

Telegraphing Pitches: When a pitcher gives away to the hitter what he’s going to throw.

Toe the Slab: This is when a pitcher steps on the rubber on the mound.

The Cycle: When a player hits a single, double, triple and homerun all in the same game. He hit for “the cycle”.

The Hill: The pitchers mound.

The Hole: The spot in between the shortstop and third base. You may here an announcer say “he hit one in the hole”.

The Hot Corner: This refers to third base. The reason it’s called “the hot corner” is because when a right handed batter pulls a ball that goes from home plate to third base, it often times comes very hard towards the third basemen. It could be said that it’s a right handed batters natural power alley.

The Letters: When a pitch comes across the plate at chest level.

Top of the Inning: The first part of an inning when the road team is due up to bat.

Touched Up: When a pitcher gets hit hard and gives up a bunch of runs.

Tough Out: A hitter who doesn’t strike out much. This type of hitter usually sees a lot of pitches, goes deep into counts, is content with taking a walk and fouls off a ton of pitches forcing a pitcher to work hard and increase the pitcher’s pitch count.

Turn Two: Double play.

Twin Killing: Double play.

Upstairs: A high pitch.

Up the Middle: The area between the shortstop and second baseman. You’ll often times hear an announcer say “He hit it up the middle.”

Walk Off: A hit that wins the game in the bottom of an inning.

Warning Track: Dirt or gravel area before the wall. This let’s warns outfielders that their just about to crash into the wall, warning them.

Waste a Pitch: When a pitcher is up in the count no balls and two strikes or one ball and two strikes, he may “waste” a pitch on the hitter. This means throwing something unhittable with hopes that the batter will swing and strike out.

Wheelhouse: A hitters power zone.

Wheels: You may hear somebody refer to a player as “having wheels”. This means the player is exceptionally fast.

Whiff: A swing and a miss.

White Wash: A team whitewash’s a team when they don’t allow them to score any runs.

Worm Burner: A throw that hits the ground before reaching it’s target.

Yard: This can refer to a ballpark OR if a person says “he went yard” that means the player hit a homerun.

You’re in the Hole: The batter due up after the hitter on deck.

Uncle Charlie: A curveball.

Zip: A player with “zip” is one who can throw the ball hard. “He had some zip on it”.

Slugging Percentage: (SLG) A measure of the batting productivity of a hitter. The calculation is done by adding up the total bases of a hitter and dividing that by their number of at bats.