Common Baseball Terminologies

  • Back to the bushes – being sent down to lower league (i.e. majors to minors AAA)
  • Slash line – a quick view of batter’s statistics (i.e. batting averge/slugging/onbase percentage
  • Aboard – a runner reaching a base
  • Ace – the best starting pitcher on a team
  • ASA – Amateur Softball Association, which currently serves as the National governing body of softball
  • Appeal – a claim by the team in the field to an umpire that a violation of the rules has taken place
  • Assist – when a fielder throws the ball to another fielder who makes an out
  • At Bat – when a hitter appears to face a pitcher
  • Backstop – a barrier behind home plate to stop the ball if the catcher misses it
  • Balk – if the pitcher doesn’t pitch after starting his pitching motion

This results in runners being awarded an extra base

  • Ball – a pitch outside of the strike zone that the hitter doesn’t swing at
  • Ball Park – a baseball field
  • Base – the square bags located at each corner of the infield
  • Base Coaches – the coaches located by first and third bases when their team is hitting
  • Base Hit – a hit which allows the batter to reach first, second, or third base
  • Baseman – the fielders assigned to defend bases at first, second, and third
  • Base on Balls – if the pitcher throws four balls before recording an out or three strikes, the hitter is awarded a free “walk” to first base
  • Base Paths – the areas between the bases are marked out with dirt

A runner cannot run outside the base paths to avoid a tag

  • Bases Loaded – when runners are on first, second, and third bases
  • Batting Around – an inning in which all nine hitters in the lineup appear at the plate without three outs being recorded
  • Batter – the member of the hitting team currently at the plate
  • Batter’s Box – the two boxes on either side of home plate

The batter has to stand in one when they try to hit the baseball

ning when the home team is batting

  • Breaking Ball – a pitch that move into, away from, or suddenly drops as it reaches the hitter (i.e. curveball)
  • Breaking Up A Double Play – a runner who slides hard into second (or third base) and, in doing so, ruins the chance of their teammate being called out at a different base
  • Broken Bat – a bat which shatters when the ball is hit

Broken bats are bad; new bats are good

  • Brush Back Pitch – a pitch thrown “inside” to a hitter, because the hitter is close to the plate
  • Bullpen – the area where relief pitchers wait and prepare to enter the game
  • Bunt – an attempt to move runners and/or get on base by using the bat to drop the ball away from fielders in the infield
  • Called Game – a game ended via umpire decision (ex

because of rain)

  • Called Strike – a strike to the batter called by the umpire; opposite of a Swinging Strike
  • Caught Looking – a third strike where the hitter doesn’t even swing
  • Change Up – a type of pitch that is thrown with the same action as a fastball, but considerably slower
  • Center field – the middle area of the outfield beyond second base
  • Check Swing – a hitter’s attempt to start a swing and then stop it before it crosses a certain point where it can be called a swinging strike
  • Chopper – a ball hit hard into the ground
  • Clean-Up – the fourth batter in the lineup

Named this because their job is to ‘clean up’ the bases and drive in all runners on base

  • Climbing the Ladder – a pitcher throwing successive fast balls higher and higher in the strike zone
  • Closer – the relief pitcher responsible for collecting the final few outs in a game
  • Coaches – ranging from bench to pitching, this is the staff that helps the manager make key decisions and help players improve
  • Corked Bat – a bat which has been hollowed out and filled with cork in order to make the bat hit homeruns easier

Illegal in all leagues

  • Count – the number of balls and strikes against a hitter in an at-bat
  • Curveball – an off-speed breaking ball pitch that sharply drops at the plate
  • Cut Off Man – an infielder who takes the outfielder’s throw and relays it to the appropriate base
  • Dead Ball – a temproary break in play, usually indicated by the umpire
  • Delivery – the steps a pitcher takes to throw to a hitter
  • Designated Hitter – a hitter who does not play a defensive position, but hits for the pitcher in certain Leagues
  • Diamond – the name for the infield, since it’s marked by four bases in the shape of an actual diamond
  • Dinger – a home run
  • Disabled List (DL) – when a player is unable to play due to injury, they are placed on this list

Once a player is placed on this list, they cannot return for a certain number of days

  • Doctoring the Ball – when a pitcher places illegal substances on a ball in order to make it move more
  • Double Header – when two games are played on the same day
  • Double Steal – when two runners attempt to steal bases at the same time
  • Double – a base hit where the hitter ends up on second base
  • Double Play (DP) – a fielding play where two players on offense are out
  • Down the Pipe – a pitch thrown in the middle of the strike zone
  • Drive In a Run – a hit by a batter that brings in a run
  • Dugout – the area where players, the manager, and coaches are when they’re not in the field
  • Earned Run – a run given up by a pitcher that was not the result of a defensive error
  • Earned Run Average (ERA) – the number of earned runs allowed by a pitcher averaged over nine innings
  • Error – a fielding mistake officially charged against the fielder who made the mistake
  • Extra Innings – when a score is tied after the completion of nine innings, then the innings it takes to break the tie and determine the winner are extra
  • Fair – a ball hit by the batter that stays inside the foul lines
  • Fastball – a hard thrown pitch
  • Fighting Off a Pitch – when a batter purposefully hits a pitch foul to keep their at-bat alive
  • Fielder – a player on defense
  • Fielder’s Choice – when the fielder allows the hitter to reach first base, in order to record an out at another base
  • Fielding Average – a statistic used to demonstrate a fielder’s efficiency
  • Fly Ball – a ball hit into the air
  • Force Out – an out where the runner is put out because they needed to run to a specific base
  • Fork Ball – a split finger fastball pitch

Usually thrown with no wrist motion and drops at the hitter’s feet

  • Foul – a ball hit outside of the fair territory
  • Foul Lines – the lines that extend from homeplate, down the first base line and third base line, and all the way to the outfield wall
  • Foul Poles – the vertical poles that show where the foul lines meet the outfield wall
  • Foul Tip – a pitch that tips the bat and lands in the catcher’s mitt

This counts as a strike

  • Full Count – when the batter’s count is three balls and two strikes
  • Fungo – long, skinny bats used by coaches for practice drills and pre-game defensive warm-ups
  • Gapper – a ball hit between outfielders and rolls all the way to the wall
  • Glove – the glove fielders wear on their non-throwing hand to catch and field the baseball
  • Going Around – an umpire’s ruling that a batter did not check their swing and a strike should be called
  • Gopher Ball – a bad pitch that results in a homerun
  • Grand Slam – a homerun that is hit with the bases loaded
  • Ground Ball / Grounder – a ball hit on the ground rather than in the air
  • Ground Out – a recorded out that doesn’t leave the infield when the the ball has struck the ground at some point
  • Ground Rule Double – When the ball lands fair and bounces out of play, the hitter is automatically awarded second base or not allowed to pass second base
  • Gunned Down – a runner thrown out at a base

Usually happens when a runner attempts to steal a base

  • Heater / High Heat – a fastball
  • Hill – the pitcher’s mound; the area where a pitcher throws
  • Hit and Run – a play where the runner starts to run to the next base while the hitter swings at the pitch no matter what
  • Hitting For Average – a hitter who records a lot of hits
  • Hitting For Power – a hitter who records more extra base hits and homeruns
  • Hitting For the Cycle – a batter that collects a single, a double, a triple, and a homerun in the same game
  • Hold – when a relief pitcher inherits the lead and keeps the lead when they leave the game
  • Holding the Runner – when an infielder stands close to a base to prevent a runner from taking too big of a lead away from the base
  • Home Plate – the base located in front of the catcher that a runner must touch in order for a run to count
  • Home Plate Umpire – the umpire behind the catcher who calls balls and strikes
  • Homerun – a hit over the outfield wall or a hit that allows the hitter to reach home plate

Also called a homer

  • Home Stand – a series of consecutive games played at a home ballpark
  • Hop – the bounce of the ball
  • Hanging Pitch – a pitch intended to have movement, but doesn’t

Thus, making it easier for the hitter to hit

  • In the Hole – often difficult to field, the area a shortstop defends
  • ISA – Independent Softball Association
  • Infield – the area of the field inside the bases and base paths
  • Infield Fly Rule – the rule that prevents the fielding side from purposefully dropping an easy catch when there are runners on base (Good Explanation video – )
  • Infielder – a defensive player who fields in an around the infield

First base, second base, shortstop, and third base are considered infielders

  • Innings – Games are divided into innings; nine to be exact

A single inning is when both teams have batted

  • Inning Ending Play – any play which results in the third out, thus ending the inning
  • Inside – a pitch thrown on the same side of the plate as the hitter
  • Inside-the-Park Homerun – a hit where the batter reaches homeplate without the ball going over the outfield wall
  • Intentional Walk – a base on balls when the pitcher purposefully pitches four balls outside for strategic purposes
  • Janitor Throws
  • Juiced – a baseball that has been doctored to give the hitter an advantage

Also, a player that has used steroids

  • Junking a Game – a game a team has stopped trying to win in an effort to converse assets/players for the next game
  • K – a strike out
  • Knuckleball / Knuckler – a pitch thrown with no spin that wobbles as it approaches the hitter; usually very slow
  • Late Movement – a pitch that deviates away or toward the hitter as it reaches the plate
  • Lead Off Batter – the very first batter in an inning

Also refers to the batter at the top of a lineup

  • Left field – the side of the outfield behind shortstop toward third base
  • Left On Base – a runner(s) still on base when the third out of an inning is recorded
  • Line Drive – a batted ball hit low and fast in the air
  • Lineup – the batting order
  • Lit Up – when a pitcher is giving up a lot of runs and, seemingly, cannot record an out
  • Long Ball – a homerun
  • Long Relief – a pitcher who enters a game early because the starting pitcher was ineffective
  • Major Leagues / Majors – The professional teams and players that make up Major League Baseball rosters
  • Manager – the coach in charge of the daily duties and in-game decisions of their team
  • Middle Relief – a relief pitcher who follows the starting pitcher and pitches in the middle innings of a game
  • Minor Leagues / Minors – the teams and players that make up Major League team farm systems; lower ranked
  • Mitt – a more heavily padded glove that has four fingers combined into one unit; used primarily by catchers and first basemen
  • Night Cap – the second game of a doubleheader
  • No Hitter – a game where the pitcher or a team does not allow a single base hit
  • Nubber – an accidentally hit baseball that doesn’t travel far
  • Off the Fists – a pitch that hits high up on the bat near the hitter’s hands
  • Off the Hook – when a pitcher expects a loss, but whose team scores enough runs to tie the game or take the lead

Thus, allowing the pitcher to not take a loss

  • Official Scorer – a statistician who records, determines, and decides the scoring and numbers (including errors) of each game
  • On Base Percentage – a hitter’s walks and hits divided by their plate appearances
  • On Deck – the hitter who follows the batter currently at the plate

Usually seen in the “On Deck Circle”

  • One Hopper – a baseball that bounces a single time before being fielded
  • Open Base – a base with no runner on it
  • Out – when a player on offense is removed from play due to being tagged, forced, struck, or thrown out
  • Outfield Wall / Outfield Fence – the wall or fence beyond the outfielders that marks the outer boundary of the field
  • Outfielder – a fielder who patrols the outfield; usually three outfielders
  • Outside – a pitch thrown away from the side of the hitter
  • Painting the Corners – a pitcher that locates their pitches at the edge of the strike zone
  • Passed Ball – a pitch not caught by the catcher
  • Pen – a name for the bullpen; where the relief pitchers are during the game
  • Pennant – the winner of Major League Baseball’s League Championship Series
  • Perfect Game – a game where the pitcher or team does not allow a single hit or single runner on base the whole game
  • Pick Off – when a pitcher or catcher catch a runner trying to lead off of a base and tag them out before a base hit or the runner steals a base
  • Pinch Hitter – a hitter who substitutes for another batter during the game
  • Pinch Runner – a runner who substitutes for another batter during the game
  • Pitch – the throw made by a pitcher to the hitter
  • Pitcher’s Mound – the mound in the center of the infield where a pitcher pitches to batters
  • Pitcher’s Plate – the plate in the middle of the pitcher’s mound that a pitcher is required to be in contact with while they pitch to hitters
  • Pitchout – a pitch purposefully thrown away from the plate so the hitter can’t hit it that allows the catcher a better chance of throwing out a runner
  • Plate – the base at home that a catcher defends and a pitch must throw over
  • Play at the Plate – a throw to homeplate that will arrive roughly around the same time as a runner trying to score
  • Play Ball – the call made by the homeplate umpire to start play
  • Pop Up / Pop Fly – a fly ball; usually in the infield
  • Power Alleys – the spaces between the outfielders

Hitters attempt to hit in those areas for extra base hits

  • Power Pitcher – a pitcher who throws a lot of fastballs
  • Put Out – when a fielder records an out
  • Rain Delay – when rain causes the game to be temporarily postponed
  • Rain Out – when rain causes the game to be cancelled
  • RBI (Runs Batted In) – when a hitter does something to allow a teammate to score a run, the hitter is credited with an RBI
  • Reliever – any pitcher that enters the game after the starting pitcher
  • Retire the Side – recording three outs to end an inning
  • Retire in Order – when three outs are recorded consecutively in an inning
  • Right field – the side of the outfield behind the second baseman
  • Road Trip – a series of consecutive games played away from your home ballpark
  • Rookie – a player in their very first season
  • Rubber – the pitcher’s plate
  • Rubber Match – the deciding game of a three game series if the first two games have been split
  • Rundown – when a runner is caught between bases and is being chased down by fielders to make a tag
  • Runners on the Corners – when baserunners are at first base and third base
  • Sacrifice – when a hitter bunts or purposefully records an out in order to advance a teammate to the next base
  • Sacrifice Fly – when a hitter hits a fly ball (usually to the outfield) that allows their teammate at third base to score a run
  • Safe – when a runner reaches base without being tagged
  • Save – when the final pitcher of a game inherits a close lead and finishes the game without the other team tying the game or taking the lead
  • Scoring Position – when a base runner is on second or third base

Usually a base hit or sacrifice fly can score the runner

  • Screwball – like a curveball, except the pitch moves toward the hitter
  • Setup Man – a pitcher who comes in to pitch before the closer
  • Seventh Inning Stretch – between the top and bottom halves of the seventh inning, the ceremony where all fans are invited to stand up and stretch
  • Show / The Show – Major League Baseball
  • Shutout – when a pitcher or team do not allow the other team to score any runs
  • Single – a base hit which allows the hitter to reach first base
  • Slide – an attempt to get on base where the runner goes in feet first or head first; usually attempted when stealing a base
  • Slider – a pitch that drops away from the hitter while simultaneously moving away from the hitter
  • Slugger – a hitter who collects a lot of extra base hits and/or homeruns
  • Slugging Percentage – a statistic that measures a batter’s effectiveness at hitting for power
  • Slump – when a batter struggles to hit over consecutive games
  • Solo – a homerun hit with no one on base
  • Southpaw – a left handed pitcher
  • Split Fingered Fastball – a pitch that looks like a fastball, but slowly dips when it reaches the batter
  • Squeeze Play – when a hitter bunts and the runner at third attempts to score the run
  • SSUSA – Senior Softball USA
  • Steal – when a runner attempts to move from one base to the next without the hitter hitting the baseball
  • Stopper – a starting pitcher tabbed with ending a team’s losing streak
  • Stretch – the pitcher’s set position for delivering the pitch to homeplate
  • Strike – a pitch the umpire decides is in the strike zone or the hitter swings at and misses
  • Strike Zone – the area an umpire uses to call balls and strikes

Varies between umpires, but usually above the hitter’s knees and below the mid-point of a hitter’s waist and shoulders

And, of course, over homeplate

  • Strike Out – when a pitcher records an out with three strikes to a hitter
  • Striking Out the Side – an inning where the pitcher strikes out all three batters faced
  • Swinging Bunt – a hit where, despite taking a full swing, the batter only hits it a few feet; essentially, having the same effect as a bunt
  • Swinging Strike – a strike where the hitter swings and misses
  • Tag – when an out is recorded via a fielder catching the runner and placing their hand or glove with ball on the runner
  • Tagging Up – when a runner waits for a fly ball to legally be caught before taking off
  • Taking a Lead – when a runner inches away from a base to make a stolen base attempt easier
  • Taking a Pitch – when a hitter doesn’t swing at a pitch hoping the umpire will call it a ball
  • Thrown Away – a relay throw from a fielder which misses its target
  • Top Half of the Inning – the half inning when the visiting team hits
  • Triple – a base hit where the batter reaches third base
  • Unearned Run – a run that only scores because of an error; a run that is not the pitcher’s fault
  • Walk – when a hitter goes to first base, because “base on balls”
  • Walk Off – when the home team scores the winning run in the last inning
  • Warning Track – the track in front of the outfield wall that allows outfielders to know when the wall is close
  • Whiff – when a hitter swings and misses a pitch
  • Wild Pitch – when the pitcher throws a pitch the catcher cannot handle
  • Wind Up – the motion a pitcher takes when throwing to homeplate

1 thought on “Common Baseball Terminologies”

  1. Nice website. You use the phrase pitching “out of the stretch” when runners are in base in CR 60/70 play. What does that phrase mean?


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