Are you ready to explore the meaning of some baseball terminology, phrases & sayings?
Have you ever been watching a baseball game and hear the announcer give some strange baseball terminology, use some weird phrases or start rattling off some obscure baseball sayings?
Have you ever wondered what the heck they’re talking about?
Howdy everyone and welcome back!
Here we are in the middle of the off-season. I thought this would be a good time to put together a post to help explain what some of this baseball terminology means.
This is going to be an ongoing project and I would very much like your participation.
As you’re reading through the article and you find a phrase or saying that carries a different meaning to you than what I give, please leave a comment at the bottom of the post and I will add it right away.
Let’s think of it as an open source project that we can work on together to help pass the time til Opening Day.
If you have something you want to add to the post, just let me know.
If you’re new to the game, or just want to brush up on the basics Check Out Some Simple Baseball Rules.
Together we will teach the world the greatest game on Earth…Baseball!!
So without further ado, let’s get started.
Baseball Terminology, Phrases & Sayings
There are tons of sayings in baseball that newcomers to the game may not understand.
There is no particular order here. I’m just going to start writing and explaining as they pop into my head.
Strike ‘em Out – Throw ‘em Out
The old strike ‘em out throw ‘em out is one of my favorite sayings in baseball.
The strike ‘em out throw ‘em out most often occurs when you have a runner on 1st base who is trying to steal 2nd base during an at bat.
A strike ‘em out throw ‘em out is completed when the pitcher strikes out the batter and the catcher is able to throw out the runner who was attempting to steal 2nd during the same continuous play.
Although the runner being caught stealing 2nd is the most common, a runner caught trying to steal any base after the strikeout will result in a strike ‘em out throw ‘em out.
Being caught stealing in baseball is not the same as being caught stealing a car or shoplifting.
Being caught stealing in baseball refers to a runner being caught while attempting to advance to the next base without the batter hitting the ball.
If the runner makes it to the next base before being tagged with the ball, they are safe.
If the runner is tagged with the ball before safely reaching the next base, they are caught stealing!
O.K. fellas. Caught looking in baseball is not the same as getting caught looking at a pretty girl!
Caught looking in baseball refers to a batter being caught looking at a called 3rd strike.
This is a big no-no for a batter.
When a batter has 2 strikes against them during an at bat and then stands there and watches a pitch go by that the umpire calls a strike, they are “caught looking” and it will be recorded as a strikeout.
A double play in baseball refers to the defense being able to record 2 outs during one continuous play.
There are tons of different ways the defense can accomplish a double play.
Here’s a quick example:
Let’s say there is a runner already on 1st base when the batter steps to the plate and there is less than 2 outs in the inning.
The batter hits a ground ball to the short stop (position #6).
The short stop throws the ball to the 2nd baseman (position #4) who touches 2nd base before the runner coming from 1st… That’s out #1.
The 2nd baseman then throws the ball to the 1st baseman (position #3) who touches 1st base before the runner coming from home who just hit the ball…That’s out #2.
This double play scenario will be recorded as a 6-4-3 double play.
If you would like a more in depth explanation of the double play and take a look at some fun scenarios, check out the article I wrote about double plays with the link below.
What Is A Double Play In Baseball?
Inning Ending Double Play
An inning ending double play happens when there is already 1 out in the inning and the defense is able to complete a double play.
Completing a double play when there is already one out results in an inning ending double play.
Occurring much less often than it’s cousin the double play, a triple play occurs when the defense is able to record all 3 outs in the inning in one continuous play.
Let’s say there are already runners on 2nd and 3rd base with 0 outs in the inning when the batter steps to the plate.
The batter hits a sharp ground ball to the 3rd baseman (position #5) who promptly steps on 3rd base before the runner coming from 2nd base…That’s out #1.
The 3rd baseman quickly throws the ball to the 2nd baseman (position #4) who touches 2nd base before the runner coming from 1st base…That’s out #2.
The 2nd baseman throws the ball to the 1st baseman (position #3) who touches 1st base before the runner coming from home…That’s out #3.
This scenario will be recorded as a 5-4-3 triple play.
Competing a triple play is difficult to pull off, as you can imagine. It requires a lot of quick thinking and skill.
If you want to read more about the triple play and run through some more scenarios, click the link below.
What Is A Triple Play In Baseball?
Unassisted Triple Play
The unassisted triple play is an extremely rare occurrence at the professional level, but they have happened.
An unassisted triple play occurs when one defensive player is able to record all 3 outs in the inning without the assistance of any other player.
Check Out What Is An Unassisted Triple Play? for an in depth explanation and look at a few scenarios.
Outs in baseball are what I like to think of as chances.
Each team gets 3 outs for their offensive half of each inning.
Every player who comes to the plate has a chance (out) to do something good for their team. If they can make it all the way around the bases and touch home without getting caught, they are not charged with an out.
One of my favorite things about baseball is that it is the only major sport without a time clock. The offense can score as many runs as possible until the defense records the 3rd out.
There are many different ways the defense can record an out.
Check Out What Is An Out In Baseball for an in depth explanation of the out and run through some scenarios.
A strikeout in baseball occurs when a batter is charged with 3 strikes during an at bat.
The 3 strikes can come in a variety of combinations including not swinging at a pitch that the umpire determines was in the strike zone, swinging at and missing a pitch, or attempting to bunt with 2 strikes and hitting the ball foul.
For an in depth explanation of the strikeout Read This Article.
A force out happens when the defense is able to get the ball to a base before a runner who is being “forced” to advance to it.
A force out can occur at any base, including home plate.
If there are runners already on 1st and second base, or the bases are loaded, 3 force outs can happen in one play via the triple play.
Quick example of a force out:
Let’s say there are already runners on 1st and 2nd base when the batter hits the ball.
With runners on 1st and 2nd, the defense has 3 options for a force out:
- The defender can touch 3rd base before the runner coming from 2nd base.
- The defender can touch 2nd base before the runner coming from 1st base.
- The defender can touch 1st base before the runner coming from home who just hit the ball.
If the defense is quick enough, they can turn the hit ball into a double or even triple play.
Think of it like this; If the ball is hit on the ground and the base is occupied behind a runner on base then they are being forced to try and advance to the next base.
If they don’t beat the ball to the next base, then it is a “force out.”
Remember that there is always a force out at 1st base for the batter.
This can be a little confusing, but fear not my friends! I wrote a whole article that explains the force out and I invite you to check it out with the link below.
What Is A Force Out In Baseball
A bunt in baseball is an attempt by a batter to hit the ball without taking a swing. When bunting, you are basically holding the bat out and letting the pitch hit it.
The goal of a bunt is to try and “place” the ball where the defense will have a hard time getting to it and still be able to throw the ball to 1st before you get there.
When a batter sees the defense playing way back in the infield, they may consider it a good time to bunt.
Just remember that bunting when you already have 2 strikes against you in an at bat carries it’s own unique peril. If you happen to bunt the ball foul with 2 strikes, it will be recorded as a strikeout!
This unique circumstance is the only time in baseball that a foul ball is counted as a 3rd strike.
A sacrifice bunt in baseball, frequently referred to as a “Sac Bunt”, is when a batter’s sole purpose for bunting is to try to advance a runner who is already on base to the next base.
Unlike a normal bunt, a batter attempting a sacrifice is giving themself up for a purpose other than trying to reach 1st base safely.
This is not to say that they still won’t try to reach 1st safely, just that it is their main purpose for bunting.
Being credited with a sacrifice bunt carries a unique set of circumstances.
If you would like to read a more in depth explanation and run through some scenarios where a batter would be credited with a sacrifice bunt, you can check out the article below.
Being left stranded in baseball is not the same as being left stranded on an island!
Being left stranded in baseball is referring to runners being left stranded on base who were not able to score due to the defense recording the 3rd out of the inning.
Let’s say there are 2 runners already on base when the batter comes to the plate with 2 outs.
The batter hits a sharp ground ball to the 1st baseman, who fields the ball and touches 1st base before the runner coming from home to record the 3rd out of the inning.
This play results in 2 runners being “left stranded!”
By the way, the put out would be recorded as “3 unassisted” since the 1st baseman (position #3) was able to make the play without the assistance of any other player on the field.
A 55 footer in baseball is referring to a pitch delivered by the pitcher that didn’t quite make it all the way to the plate.
The distance between the pitchers plate and home in Major League Baseball is 60′-6″. So when a pitch doesn’t make it all the way to the plate, you will often hear the announcer call it a “55 footer.”
Sometimes this is on purpose and sometimes it’s just a mistake on the part of the pitcher.
When a pitcher has 2 strikes against a batter, you will often times see them throw a pitch to try and make the batter swing and miss. A 55 footer is one of many pitches that a pitcher will throw to accomplish this.
A 55 footer is not always a bad thing!
A home run in baseball is a feat accomplished by a batter who is able to reach home plate after hitting the ball in one continuous play.
In order for the hit to be counted as a home run, there cannot be any defensive errors during the play.
While hitting the ball over the outfield fence in “fair” territory is the most common way to hit a home run, there is another way!
See the next topic below.
Inside The Park Home Run
Commonly referred to as an “Inside The Parker”, an inside the park home run is accomplished by a batter who hits the ball in the field of play and is still able to reach home plate before the defense can get them out.
Inside the park home runs are rare and require a tremendous amount of speed from the runner.
One famous inside the park home run hitter is Ty Cobb, who hit an amazing 46 inside the parker’s in his career.
Check Out What Is An Inside The Park Home Run for an in depth look at one of baseball’s most exciting offensive plays.
Touch ‘Em All
Touch ’em all is another saying used in baseball that refers to a batter who hits a home run.
When a batter hits a home run, you will sometimes hear the announcer say something like, “He’s gonna touch ’em all folks!”
A round tripper is another saying in a long line of baseball terminology used to describe a home run.
When a batter is able to hit a home run, an announcer may say “That’s a round tripper ladies and gentlemen!”
A homer in baseball is not referring to America’s favorite nuclear specialist Homer Simpson!
A homer in baseball is just another term used to describe a hit where the batter is able to “touch ’em all”, while completing a “round tripper”, on their way to scoring a “HOME RUN!”
Just one more before we move along from home runs…For now.
A moon shot in baseball is a term used to describe a home run that is hit high up in the air and deep into the outfield seats, or perhaps even out of the stadium!
Barry Bonds, despite all the controversy, was one of baseball’s greatest home run hitters.
You could frequently see him hitting “moon shots” into the bay during his years playing in San Francisco.
What’s your favorite term used to describe a home run?
Leave a comment below and I will add it right away! 🙂
I hope you are enjoying our post on baseball terminology, phrases & sayings.
We will be updating the article frequently, so don’t forget to check back in.
Remember to let me know if you have anything to add by leaving a comment below.
Thanks for stopping by ~Jeremy