A fan's guide
to commonly-used terms and phrases.
Ace -- A team's best starting pitcher.
Alley-- The section of the outfield between the
outfielders. Also "gap."
Around The Horn -- A double play going from third
base to second to first.
Backdoor Slider -- A pitch that appears to be out
of the strike zone, but then breaks back over the plate.
Bag -- A base.
Baltimore Chop -- A ground ball that hits in front
of home plate (or off of it) and takes a large hop over the infielder's
Bandbox -- A small ballpark that favors hitters.
Bang-Bang Play -- A play in which the base runner
hits the bag a split-second before the ball arrives or vice versa.
Basket Catch -- When a fielder catches a ball with
his glove near belt level.
Bronx Cheer -- When the crowd boos.
Brush Back -- A pitch that nearly hits a batter.
Bush -- Also "bush league." An amateur play or
Can Of Corn -- An easy catch by a fielder.
Caught Looking -- When a batter is called out on
Cellar -- Last place. Also "basement."
Cheese -- Also "good cheese." Refers to a good
Chin Music -- A pitch that is high and inside.
Circus Catch -- An outstanding catch by a fielder.
Closer -- A team's relief pitcher who finishes the
Cutter -- A cut fastball (one with a late break to
Cycle -- When a batter hits a single, double,
triple and home run in the same game.
Dinger -- A home run.
Dish -- Home plate.
Fireman -- A team's closer or late-inning relief
Fungo -- A ball hit to a fielder during practice.
It's usually hit by a coach using a "fungo bat," which is longer and
thinner than a normal bat.
Gap -- See "alley." A ball hit here is a "gapper."
Gopher Ball -- A pitch hit for a home run, as in
Heat -- A good fastball. Also "heater."
High And Tight -- Referring to a pitch that's up
in the strike zone and inside on a hitter. Also known as "up and in."
Hill -- Pitcher's mound.
Homer -- A home run. Other terms include: blast,
dinger, dong, four-bagger, four-base knock, moon shot, tape-measure
blast and tater.
Hot Corner -- Third base.
In The Hole -- The batter after the on-deck
Jam -- When a hitter gets a pitch near his hands,
he is "jammed." Also when a pitcher gets himself in trouble, he is in a
Leather -- Refers to how good a player plays
defensively or handles the glove. Ex: "He flashed some leather on that
Meatball -- An easy pitch to hit, usually right
down the middle of the plate.
Mendoza Line -- A batting average of around .200.
Moon Shot -- A very long, high home run.
Nail Down -- As in "nail down a victory." Refers
to a relief pitcher finishing off the game.
On The Screws -- When a batter hits the ball hard.
Also "on the button."
Painting The Black -- When a pitcher throws the
ball over the edge of the plate.
Pea -- A ball traveling at high speed, either
batted or thrown.
Pepper -- Pepper is a common pre-game exercise
where one player bunts brisk grounders and line drives to a group of
fielders who are standing about 20 feet away. The fielders try to throw
it back as quickly as possible. The batter hits the return throw. (Some
ballparks ban pepper games because wild pitches could land in the stands
and injure spectators).
Pick -- A good defensive play by an infielder on a
ground ball. Also a shortened version of "pick-off."
Pickle -- A rundown.
Punchout -- A strikeout.
Rhubarb -- A fight or scuffle.
Ribbie -- Another way of saying RBI. Also "ribeye."
Rope -- A hard line drive hit by a batter. Also
Rubber Game -- The deciding game of a series.
Run-Down -- When a baserunner gets caught between
bases by the fielders.
Ruthian -- With great power.
Seeing-Eye Single -- A soft ground ball that finds
its way between infielders for a base hit.
Set-Up Man -- A relief pitcher who usually enters
the game in the 7th or 8th inning.
Shoestring Catch -- A running catch made just
above the fielder's shoetops.
Southpaw -- A left-handed pitcher.
Sweet Spot -- The part of the bat just a few
inches from the barrel.
Table Setter -- Batter whose job is to get on base
for other hitters to drive him in. Usually a leadoff or No. 2 hitter.
Tape-Measure Blast -- An extremely long home run.
Tater -- A home run.
Texas Leaguer -- A bloop hit that drops between an
infielder and outfielder.
Tools Of Ignorance -- Catcher's equipment.
Touch 'Em All -- Hitting a home run (touching all
Twin Killing -- A double play.
Uncle Charlie -- Curve ball.
Utility Player -- A player who fills in at many
Wheelhouse -- A hitter's power zone. Usually a
pitch waist-high and over the heart of the plate.
Wheels -- A ballplayer's legs.
Whiff -- Strikeout.
Yakker -- Curve ball.