Glossary of Baseball Terms & Definitions
Have you ever found yourself mystified by the jargon that swirls around the world of baseball? Don’t worry because you’re not alone. Understanding the chatter in the dugouts, on the field and among the commentators can sometimes feel like deciphering an ancient code. As always, Bovada Sportsbook has got you covered with this in-depth glossary of key baseball terms and definitions.
The sport of baseball has an undeniable allure that has captivated fans for generations. Just as the crack of the bat echoes through the stadium, each baseball term carries a tale of its own; From the “hot corner” to the “warning track,” from “southpaw” to “squeeze play,” we’ll traverse the linguistic landscape of baseball, uncovering its hidden gems one word at a time.
Whether you’re a life-long fan or just a casual spectator, this article promises to entertain, educate and ignite your passion for America’s national pastime. So grab your peanuts and Cracker Jack and prepare to embark on an adventure where we’ll unravel the enchanting lingo that has been whispered across ballparks for over a century. Batter up!
Baseball Terms Explained
Ace: The team’s top starting pitcher, known for their exceptional skills and ability to dominate games.
Base Hit: A clean hit that allows the batter to safely reach base without any errors or fielder’s choice.
Bullpen: The area where relief pitchers warm up before entering the game.
Bunt: A technique in baseball where the batter intentionally holds the bat in a stationary position and lightly taps the ball into play.
Changeup: A slower pitch thrown with the intention of deceiving the batter by disrupting their timing.
Curveball: A pitch that breaks in a curved trajectory as it approaches the plate, often used to fool hitters.
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Double Play: A defensive play where two opposing players are put out consecutively, typically by recording a ground ball or a line drive out and quickly throwing the ball to first base, resulting in two outs.
Earned Run Average (ERA): A statistic that measures a pitcher’s effectiveness, calculated by dividing the number of earned runs allowed by innings pitched, multiplied by nine.
Error: A defensive misplay that allows the batter or baserunner to advance beyond what would have been their expected outcome under ordinary circumstances. Errors are typically committed by fielders while attempting to handle a batted ball, catch a thrown ball, or make a throw themselves.
Extra-Base Hit: A term used to describe a hit in which the batter safely reaches a base beyond first base. Extra base hits include hitting a double, triple, or home run.
Fly Ball: A batted ball hit high into the air, giving fielders an opportunity to catch it for an out.
Grand Slam: A home run hit with the bases loaded, resulting in four runs being scored for the team at the plate.
Hit and Run: A strategic play where the baserunner starts running towards the next base as the pitch is thrown, while the batter deliberately attempts to make contact with the ball. The aim of the hit and run is to create movement on the base paths, increasing the chances of advancing the baserunner or avoiding a potential double play.
Hot Corner: A term referring to the third base position in baseball, and it is often called so due to the high frequency of hard-hit balls that come its way. The term “hot” signifies the speed and intensity with which the baseball is hit in that direction.
Infield Fly: A rule designed to prevent infielders from intentionally dropping a pop-up to initiate a double play. When an infield fly is declared by the umpire, it signifies that a fair fly ball can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, regardless of whether runners are on base.
Knuckleball: A slow pitch with unpredictable movement, characterized by its lack of spin.
Mound: The elevated area in the center of the field where the pitcher stands.
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No-Hitter: An accomplishment in which a pitcher or a group of pitchers prevent the opposing team from recording any hits through the entire game.
On-Deck Circle: The designated area near the dugout where the next batter prepares to enter the batter’s box.
Perfect Game: A rare accomplishment in which no opposing batter reaches base, resulting in no hits, walks, or errors by the defensive team throughout the entire game.
Relay Throw: A quick, accurate throw made by an infielder to another infielder or an outfielder to prevent baserunners from advancing.
Sacrifice Bunt: A bunt intentionally hit by a batter to advance a baserunner while sacrificing their own chance of reaching base.
Southpaw: In baseball, the term “southpaw” refers to a left-handed pitcher. The origin of the term can be traced back to the positioning of baseball fields, where home plate faces east, making the pitcher’s left arm (or throwing arm) face south.
Squeeze Play: A strategic maneuver in baseball that involves a combination of bunting and base running. It typically occurs when there is a baserunner on third base and fewer than two outs. In this play, the batter, upon receiving a signal from the third base coach, lays down a bunt with the intention of scoring the runner from third base while sacrificing their own chance to reach base safely.
Stolen Base: In baseball, a stolen base occurs when a baserunner advances to the next base while the pitcher is delivering the pitch, without the batter making contact with the ball. The baserunner attempts to outrun the defensive team’s attempts to throw them out.
Strike Zone: The area over home plate where pitches must cross to be called strikes by the umpire.
Tag: When a fielder touches a baserunner with the ball while the runner is not on a base, resulting in an out.
Walk-Off: An exciting ending to a baseball game that occurs when the home team scores the winning run in the bottom of the final inning or any subsequent extra innings. A walk-off can be achieved through various means, such as a walk, hit, or even an error by the opposing team.
Warning Track: The strip of dirt or gravel located just outside the outfield fence, running parallel to the outfield wall. It serves as a visual and tactile indicator for outfielders to know that they are approaching the wall while tracking a fly ball.