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A

Ace -- A team's best starting pitcher.

Across the seams -- When a pitching grip has the fingertips at 90 degrees to the seams on the baseball (vs. a finger on the long seam). In truth, there is only one seam.

Air Out -- (AO) in scorekeeping, any out recorded when defensive player catches the ball before it lands on the ground -- in other words a flyball or pop-up.

Alley -- The section of the outfield between the outfielders - right-center and left-center. Also called "the gap".

Appeal -- the act of a fielder in claiming violation of the rules by the offensive team. Must be done before next pitch.

Around the Horn -- A double play from third baseman to second to first. It's the longest way to make a double play -- from the long sailing route around the horn of Africa from England to India. (Don't ask)

Aspirin -- A small white pill - hence a fastball that's hard to see (and it gives batters headaches, we suppose).

Assist -- (A) in scorekeeping, earned by a defensive player who handles the ball on an out but is not the one who puts out a runner. Not counted if the play results in an error.

At Bat -- (AB) in scorekeeping, number of times a plyer has been up to bat. Not counting plate appearances which resulted in a walk, sacrifice hit or sacrifice fly or error. Note: a batted ball which results in fielder's choice out does not count as an AB against the batter.

AVG -- In scorekeeping, the official abbreviation for Batting Average.

B

Backdoor slider -- A pitch that appears to be out of the strike zone, but then breaks back over the plate.

Backstop --  The screen behind home plate to stop foul balls from going into the stands -- it also used to be a term for the catcher position.

Balk -- (BK) in scorekeeping. Penalty for an illegal movement by the pitcher intending to deliberately decieve the runners. If called, baserunners advance one 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 head.

Bandbox -- A small ballpark that favors hitters.

Bang-bang play -- A play in which the baserunner hits the bag a split-second before the ball arrives or vice versa.

Baseline -- Also called foul line.

Bases loaded -- Runners occupy first, second and third base.

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

Bat around -- When all nine batters of one team come up to bat in the same inning before the third out.

Battery -- The pitcher and the catcher. According to some sources, the term battery was initiated in the 1860's by Henry Chadwick, who used it to compare firepower of his pitching staff to Civil War artillery. This predates references to telegraphs and transmitters, receivers and elecrticity as sources of the term.

BB -- Scorekeeping abbreviation for Walks (Bases on Balls). BB/9 is Walks per Nine Innings.

Beanball -- Pitch intentionally thrown at the batter. Don't try this at home.

Bees -- The feeling a player gets when he hits the ball in cold weather, or not on the sweet spot of the bat causing his hands to sting.

Bottom -- The home team half of the inning - because it is the lower line on the scoreboard.

Breaking ball -- Any off-speed pitch that breaks, curves, slides, drops, or dies as it nears the plate.

Brushback -- A pitch that nearly hits a batter -- brushes him back off the plate.

Bugs Bunny Curveball -- A loopy, slow curve that looks like you could swing at it three times before it crosses the plate. Bugs Bunny vs. Elmer Fudd.

Bullpen -- Area for pitchers to warm-up. Generally two mounds and two home plates. We're still researching why it is called the bullpen.

Bunt -- Short hit executed by letting the ball hit the bat (not swinging). Best technique is to keep the barrel up higher than normal so the pitch deflects downward and use the hand on the knob to direct to steer the deflection to the basepath.

C
Can of corn -- A lazy, outfield pop fly that is easy to get under and catch.

Catcher's box-- A defined area behind home plate in which the catcher must stay until the ball is pitched. The lines are seldom drawn for youth league games.

Caught looking-- When a batter is called out on strikes without swinging at the pitch.

Caught stealing -- (CS) in scorekeeping, a runner is marked CS when, during an errorless play, he is thrown out while trying to steal a base, or picked off a base while trying to advance, or overslides while stealing and is put out.

Cellar -- Last place. Also "basement".

Change up -- A slow pitch thrown with the exact same arm action as a fastball, to disrupt the timing of the hitter. This is probably the second pitch that every young ballplayer should learn.

Checked swing -- A half swing, stopped before the bathead crosses the plane of the plate. The umpire can rule it a full swing (strike) -- however, only if he calls it a ball can it be appealed to the base ump.

Cheese -- Also "good cheese" or "hard cheese". Refers to a good fastball.

Chin music -- A pitch that is high and inside -- near the batter's chin.

Choke up -- To move the bat grip up on the handle away from the knob - usually on a two strike count to ensure some contact with the pitch.

Circus catch -- An outstanding catch by a fielder.

Clean-up hitter -- Player hitting fourth in the batting order -- a power hitter who's expected to clean the bases by bringing teammates home.

Closer -- Relief pitcher used in the game to hold a late-innings lead. (SV) in scorekeeping.

Clubhouse Lawyer -- Player or coach who continually gripes about missed calls, misinterpretations of rules or other conspiracies, real or imagined, all of which prevent individual team success.

Clutch hit -- The one that counts. A hit with baserunners on when you're behind in the game. Otherwise known as the coach's prayer of last hope.

Complete Game -- (CG) in scorekeeping. The first pitcher finishes what he started - usually with a victory. (CGW) and (CGL) are used for complete game wins and losses.

Cookie -- A sweet pitch in the middle of the plate - some pitchers don't want to serve up, but hitters hope for.

Cookie cutter -- The tendancy, among coaches, to want to turn out players with identical mechanics. (if it ain't broke, don't fix it!!!)

Curve -- Breaking pitch that moves down, across, or both down and across, depending upon the rotation of the ball.

Cut-off -- Player lined-up either cut-off or relay a throw from the outfield. Normally you want to execute the relay on your glove side for a quick transition and throw through. But if "cut" is called, you want to take it more square for a shortarm transfer to the throwing hand.

Cutter -- A cut fastball (one with a late break to it). Thrown like a fastball but with the finger pressure to cause side slip.

Cycle -- When a batter hits a single, double, triple and home run in the same game (in any order).

D
Dead ball -- A temporary suspension of play caused by the ball being out of play. Runner(s) must return to previously acquired base(s).

Designated hitter -- Player who bats for the pitcher in the line-up. The DH does not have a fielding position. Note - if the DH is put in the game at a defensive position, the DH is no longer in effect for that game - another player must come out and the pitcher then bats in that player's position.

Dinger -- A home run - from the ding on the ball.

Dish -- Home plate.

Donut -- Circular shaped weight that slides over the bat to add weight during on deck warm-up. Note - donuts can cause injury through muscle strain.

Double -- Hit that enables a batter to reach second base. Note: it is not scored a double if he reached second only because of a play happening elsewhere (i.e., to get a runner going home). Also, if another runner is put out on the play, then it should be scored as a single with the advance to second on a fielder's choice.

Double play -- (DP) in scorekeeping. Two outs recorded in a single defensive sequence - otherwise known as the pitcher's friend.

Doubleheader -- The weather is so nice, let's play twice. Two games on the same day - usually against same opponents.

Drag Bunt -- A bunt intended to produce a base hit (vs. sacrifice) in which the ball is pulled along the first base line as the batter starts running for the base. Best executed by left handed batters.

Duck Snort -- A fly ball that barely makes it into the outfield and falls before the outfielders. Compare: texas leaguer.

Ducks on a Pond -- Base runners occupying bases when a hitter comes up to bat.

Dugout -- Enclosed seating facilty reserved for players, substitutes, coaches and other uniformed team members. Though placed below the field level for easier fan viewing, few (though some) youth ballparks have actual dug-out dugouts.

E 
Earned Run-- (ER) in scorekeeping. Run scored on a hit, walk or steal, without a defensive error on the play. Pitcher's ERA (average) is based on his total of earned runs in a game divided by the number of innings (or partial innings) he pitched times the total number of innings in a regulation game - 9, 7, or 6.

Ephus Pitch -- The ephus or ephuus is a lazy looping curveball thrown overhand but coming in like an underhand lob as in slow pitch. It can drop right on the plate after falling through the strike zone.

Error -- (E) in scorekeeping. Defensive mistake that allows a batter to stay at the plate, or reach first base, or advances a base runner. The mistake must be physical, not mental and is judged on whether the fielder could have made the play with ordinary effort, which under normal circumstances would result in an out.

F 
Fan -- To strike out swinging - as in fanning the breeze.

Fastball -- Straight pitch thrown as hard as possible. A four-seamer (held with fingers perpendicular to the long seams and thrown with a backspin) will catch more air on the seams and sink less than a two-seamer (held with fingers along the seams).

Fielder's choice -- A put out of someone other than the batter-runner, usually the lead runner. Although the batter gets safely on base he is not credited with a hit.

Fielding % -- (FLDP) or (FLD%) or (FPCT) in scorekeeping. Number of attempts that resulted in an out compared to the number of total attempts. Formula: (putouts + assists)/(putouts + assists+errors).

Fireman -- A team's closer or late-inning relief pitcher.

Five tools -- The sought-after skills of baseball. The traditional five tools are throwing, catching (fielding), baserunning, hitting (making contact) and hitting for power. The sixth tool is attitude and enthusiasm and work ethic.

Foot in the bucket -- When a batter pulls his front leg back from the pitch toward the foul line.

Force out -- When a runner is forced to advance because trailing runner(s) are entitled to their basis. Fielder needs only to touch the base being approached (with ball in had) to record the out.

Forfeited game -- Game declared ended by the umpire in favor of the offended team by the score of 9 - 0, for violation or rules.

Forkball -- Pitch thrown by placing ball between the pointer and middle fingers, with upward pressure on the thumb. Usually results in a sinker that drops more than a split-finger fastball.

Foul line -- Extends from the back point of home plate through outside edge of 1st and 3rd bases to the outfield fence and perpendicularly upwards. The chalk lines themselves are in fair territory.

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.

 G 
G -- (G) in scorekeeping is for Games Played. (GS) is for Games Started, and (GF) is for Games Finished.

GAGPTH -- Stands for "get a good pitch to hit" -- battle cry of Phil Rognier of the FirstSwing Foundation.

Gap -- See "alley = between outfielders in right center and left center. A ball hit here is a "gapper".

Gashouse gang -- The St. Louis Cardinals of the 1930's - a collection of rowdy players.

GDP -- (GDP) in scorekeeping is Ground into Double Plays.

Gopher ball -- A pitch hit for a home run, as in "go for".

Grand Slam -- (GSH) in scorekeeping. A home run hit when the bases are loaded (runner on every base). Another one of those coaching strategies that shouldn't be counted on.

Green light -- Signal from coach to batter to hit the next good pitch, or signal to a base runner to decide for himself when to attempt a steal. Note: green in this case does not mean go, but "go if you want to".

Ground out -- (GO) in scorekeeping. Any ball which bounces before bing fielded, requiring a throw to first base for the out. (If the throw goes to another base to get another run, it counts as an (FC) fielder's choice. (GO/AO) is the Ground OUts/Fly Outs (air out) ratio.

H 
H -- (H) in scorekeeping is for hits. (H/9) stands for Hits per Nine Innings - a pitching record.

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 -- The pitcher's mound.

Hit and run -- Play-action in  which the batter must swing at the pitch because the baserunner is already advancing. It's hoped the runner will draw a fielder to the base to cover him, opening a hole for the batter to hit through.

Hit by pitch -- (HBP) in scorekeeping. Number of times a batter is struck by a pitch. Note: if the batter is swinging, it is a strike; if it hits his bat as he is ducking it's either foul or in play.

Hitch -- A flaw in a batter's swing -- usually some kind of wasted arm motion between load position and launch.

Homer -- A home run. Other items include: blast, dinger, dong, four-bagger, four-base knock (HR) is used in scorekeeping.

Hook -- Curve ball. (And when a curveball pitcher looses his ability to throw one, he gets the hook.)

Hot corner -- Third base, because of the speed a hit can get there and the quck reactions required.

Hot Dog -- A player who's showing off for the fans -- no more classic example than Ricky Henderson doing his glove swoop when catching a flyball.

Hotbox -- When a runner is caught in a rundown and fielders converge to chase him back towards the previous base (never ahead!) and tag him out.

I 
IBB -- (IBB) is the scorekeeping abbrev. for Intentional Walk (base on balls).

Illegal Pitch -- (1) A pitch delivered to the batter when the pitcher does not have his pivot foot in contact with the pitcher's plate. (2) A quick pitch without coming to a set position. An illegal pitch when runners are on base is a balk.

In the hole -- When the pitcher's behind in the count by two pitches (at least) - 2 and 0 count, 3  and 1 count.

In the park home run -- The batter safely reaches each base and scores on a hit which lands in fair territory and doesn't roll out of play. Errors by the defensive nullify the RBI but not the scoring.

Infield Fly -- A pop-up in the infield when there are less than two out and runners on first and second or first, second and third (more than one force out situation). The batter is automatically out and the runners do not have to advance.

INN -- (INN) is the scorekeeping abbrev. for Innings Played.

Intentional Walk -- (IBB) in scorekeeping. Four pitches thrown on purpose well outside the strike zone, so the batter has no chance to hit, and earns a base on balls. Generally, when 2nd or 3rd is occupied, 1st base is empty, a power hitter at bat, with a weaker hitter folloiwng. The intent is to create a force play at all bases.

Interference -- Offensive interference is an act by the team at bat which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play. If the umpire declares the batter, batter runner, or a runner out for interference, all other runners shall return to the last base that was, in the judgment of the umpire, legally touched at the time of the interference unless otherwise provided by these rules. In the event the batter runner has not reached first base, all runners shall return to the base last occupied at the time of the pitch. Defensive interference is an act by a fielder which hinders or prevents a batter from hitting a pitch. Umpire's interference occurs (1) when an umpire hinders, impedes or prevents a catcher's throw attempting to prevent a stolen base, or (2) when a fair ball touches an umpire on fair territory before passing a fielder. Spectator interference occurs when a spectator reaches out of the stands, or goes on the playing field, and touches a live ball. On any interference, the ball is dead.

IP -- (IP) in scorekeeping stands for Innings Pitched not to be confused with (IPS), Innings per Start.

IRA -- (IRA) on the pitcher's game sheet stands for Inherited Runs Allowed.


J 
Jam -- (1) When a hitter gest a pitch near his hands, he is "jammed". (2) when a pitcher gets himself in trouble, he is in a "jam".

Johnny Fullstaff -- A knickname for all the pitchers on staff, starters and relievers, when you're in a do-or-die game and everyone or anyone may be called onto contribute in this must-win situation.

Junkball -- Off speed pitch with a break in it (curve, screwball, etc) and the pitcher who relies on them -- a junkballer or junkball pitcher or just someone who throws junk.

K 
K for Strikeout -- Henry Chadwick, newspaper journalist, created the scorecard/boxscore. He invented the fielder numbers (pitcher as 1, right field as 9) and abbreviations - (HR, HBP, BB). With S for sacrifice, he chose K because it was the last letter of "struck" which was used them more than "strikeout". Other uses of K include K/BB - Strikeout/Walk Ratio and K/9 - Strikeouts per Nine Innings. Backwards "K" is used by some scorekeepers for a caught looking and by others for a drooped third strike (requiring tag or throw to first).

Keystone -- Second base -- the keystone in an arch is the larger locking stone at the top.

Knuckle Dragger -- A pitcher who throws from an extreme side arm, body bent over so that his hand is almost dragging the ground.

Knuckleball -- Pitch gripped with the knuckles bent and fingernails dug into a seam. The ball is pushed out by the fingertips to minimize roation and allow air through the seams to make the ball apprear to dance or flutter. (Also called a "flutterball").