Baseball is tricky. The English language is even trickier. So when it comes to baseball terminology like ball game, game day, and ball park, do we write them as one word or two? What is the standard? Let’s find out.
Ballgame or Ball Game?
Everyone knows the popular song Take Me Out To The Ball Game written by Jack Norworth in 1908. And right here in the song we sing in the seventh inning stretch, the two word format “ball game” is used throughout the song. So is it always two words? Not necessarily.
According to the AP Stylebook, ballgame should be written as one word. Merriam-Webster on the other hand, uses the two-word format, as does Macmillan dictionary. The Cambridge dictionary uses the one-word version. When you type it out in Word or Google docs, the one-word version is not flagged as a misspelling. Either form is acceptable, but if you want to be definitive and consistent, go with the AP style and stick with the one word format.
Ball Park or Ballpark?
This one is pretty clear. Across the board, print and online dictionaries use the one-word form of ballpark. The AP Stylebook agrees. The Society for American Baseball Research also uses ballpark as a one word term.
Ball Club or Ballclub?
According to the AP Stylebook, you should use the one-word form of ballclub. Like ballgame though, the dictionary authorities like Merriam-Webster use the two-word form. Some people have a preference for one over the other, but there is no solid definitive right or wrong form for this term.
Ball Player or Ballplayer?
Again, the AP Stylebook advises writers to use the one-word format for this term. Like ballpark, most authoritative dictionaries also use the one-word form of ballplayer. The only site that used the two-word form of ballplayer used it when referring to athletes in other sports. All baseball-related sources used the one-word form, including the Society for American Baseball Research.
Game Day or Gameday?
This is an interesting one. Merriam-Webster doesn’t even have a definition for this one when you search for the term. Neither does the Cambridge dictionary. Oxford uses the two-word format. According to the AP Stylebook, you should use the two word form – unless you are using it as part of a name or a title. In that case, use “gameday”.
Strike Out or Strikeout?
Merriam-Webster, Britannica, Society for American Baseball Research and other major baseball sources use the one-word form of strikeout for all things baseball related. The two word form, “strike out,” is used in any context that is NOT related to baseball. However, there are different times to use the different forms. For example, it is acceptable to use the two word form in the following sentence, “The pitcher was the first to strike out every batter in the game.” Other variations, like struck out and striking out, are always two words. The plural form of strikeout is always one word: strikeouts.
We hope this helps clear up some of your baseball terminology questions. Remember, some of these are not clearly one or the other, but when in doubt, follow the authority. The AP Stylebook is a good resource for find popular use of questionable or tricky words.