Baseball Basics: Baseball Slang - Lady Loves Pinstripes Baseball Basics: Baseball Slang - Lady Loves Pinstripes Baseball Basics: Baseball Slang - Lady Loves Pinstripes

Baseball Basics: Baseball Slang

 So, here is a list of baseball lingo that regardless of fan status might be new to you. 

But for the newbie fan, toss one of these terms into a conversation with your sweetie pie or some baseball fan you want to impress, and you are sure to hit a homer.

Baseball Basics-Slang

1-2-3 inning 

When a team gets all three hitters out allowing no walks, errors or hits.


This is a type of double play. Please refer to Baseball Basics: What is a 6-4-3 Double Play.

5-tool player

A baseball player that possess all 5-tools scouts look for at the highest level. So he hits for power, hits for average, elite fielding ability, elite throwing ability and is speedy on the bases.


A team’s best starting pitcher.


The section of the outfield between the outfielders. Also called “the 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.


A base.

Baltimore chop

A ground ball that hits in front of home plate, (or off of the plate) and takes a large hop over an infielder’s head.


A small ballpark that favors hitters.

bang-bang play

When the runner reaches the base a split-second before the ball arrives or vice versa.

Banjo hitter

A batter with no power.

basket catch

When a fielder catches a ball with his glove near belt level.


A strong throwing arm.

Bronx cheer

When the crowd boos.


A pitch that nearly hits a batter.


Also “bush league.” Amateur play or behavior.

can of corn

An easy catch by a fielder.

caught looking

When a batter is called out on strikes and didn’t swing at the last strike.


Last place in the league. Also “basement.”


Also “good cheese.” Refers to a good fastball.

chin music

A pitch that is high and inside; seemingly close enough to brush against a batter’s chin.

circus catch

An outstanding catch by a fielder.


A team’s relief pitcher who finishes the game.


A cut fastball (one with a late break to it).


When a batter hits a single, double, triple and home run in the same game he is said to have “hit for the cycle”.


A home run.


Home plate.

farm team

A minor league team.


A team’s closer or late-inning relief pitcher.


A ball hit to a fielder during practice. A “fungo bat” is longer and thinner than a normal bat, usually used by a coach in practice.


See “alley.” A ball hit here is a “gapper.”

get good wood

To hit a ball hard.

goose egg 

A zero on the scoreboard.

gopher ball

A pitch hit for a home run, as in “go far.”


A high-quality fastball. Also, “throwing heat.”

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.”


The pitcher’s mound.


A home run. Other terms include: blast, dinger, dong, four-bagger, four-base knock, moon shot, and tape-measure blast.

hot corner

Third base.

in the hole

The batter after the on-deck hitter.


When a pitcher gets in trouble, he is in a “jam.” Also, when a pitch gets near a batter’s hands, he is “jammed.”


Refers to how good a player plays defensively or handles the glove. Ex: “He flashed some leather on that play.”


A soft, straight pitch with a lot of arc.

magic words

Specific words a player or coach says to an umpire that almost certainly leads to ejection from the game.


An pitch that is right middle of the plate and easy to hit.

Mendoza line

A term used for a player who’s batting average is below .200 despite his defensive abilities. Derived from shortstop Mario Mendoza who had a .215 career batting average. Some use the term “Mason Dixon Line” instead from the combined career batting averages of Leo Dixon (.206) and Jim Mason (.203), as a .204 BA is much closer to a .200 BA.

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.

painting the black

When a pitcher throws the ball over the edge of the plate. The edges of home plate are black in color.


A ball traveling at high speed, either batted or thrown.


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 have banned pepper games.)


A good defensive play by an infielder on a ground ball. Also a shortened version of “pick-off.”


A rundown, or when a runner is caught between two fielders who are throwing the ball back and forth to each other in an attempt to tag the runner out.


A strikeout.


A fight or scuffle on the field.


An RBI (run batted in). Also “ribeye.”


A hard line drive hit by a batter. Also “frozen rope” or “clothes line.”

rubber game

The deciding game of a series.


When a baserunner gets caught between bases by the fielders.


With great power (i.e., like Babe Ruth)

seeing-eye single

A ground ball that finds its way between infielders for a base hit. Sometimes called a “seeing-eye ball” or a “ground ball with eyes”

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.


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 for an RBI. Usually is a team’s leadoff hitter.

tape-measure blast

An extremely long home run.

tea party 

A conference on the pitcher’s mound with the pitcher, catcher, and manager.

Texas Leaguer

A bloop hit that drops between an infielder and outfielder.

tools of ignorance

A catcher’s safety equipment.

touch ’em all

Hitting a home run (touching all the bases).

twin killing

A double play.

Uncle Charlie

A curve ball.

utility player

A player who fills in at many positions.


A hitter’s power zone. Usually a pitch waist-high and over the heart of the plate.


A ballplayer’s legs.


A strikeout.


A home run.