sports Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand  

Paul Nyhart
4.1k votes 334 voters 10.4k views 59 items Embed

List Rules Vote up the items that are the most unique to the game and what you believe TRUE baseball fans should be familiar with.

These are the most timeless sayings and phrases popularized by the game of baseball. Some of these sayings have trickled their way into the mainstream as everyday metaphors, others are about as inside baseball as it gets.

This is the proverbial list that divides the casual baseball observer from the true fan who understands the nuances of America's pastime. 


list ordered by

1
121 20
Balk is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Balk An illegal motion made by a pitcher that may deceive a base runner and which is penalized by advancing the runner(s) one base.

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2
134 27
Bush-League is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Bush-League Another way of saying pitiful, below average. Not cool.  Examples include bunting to get on base to break up a no hitter or stealing a base when you're up by 8 or more runs. 

3
88 12
Squeeze is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Squeeze A sacrifice bunt with a runner on third base. The batter bunts the ball, expecting to be thrown out at first base, but providing the runner on third base an opportunity to score.

4
125 30
Mendoza Line is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Mendoza Line When a player's batting average is below .200. Derived from the Mexican shortstop from the 1950's Mario Mendoza, even though Mendoza had a career batting average of .215...

5
111 27
Pepper is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Pepper A game that features several players casually tossing a ball to a hitter who lightly hits the ball back to them. A warm-up that often is described as "playing pepper."

6
105 24
Knuckler is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Knuckler Short for "knuckleball" - a pitch thrown with no rotation or spin on the ball causing it to have an unpredictable trajectory.

7
107 26
Walk-Off is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Walk-Off Scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 9th or extra inning which ends the game.

8
93 22
In The Hole is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
In The Hole The batter who proceeds the man on-deck. Named as they usually stand on the first step or the "hole" of the dugout.

9
73 17
Hanger is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Hanger A breaking ball with very little movement, resulting in it "hanging" over the plate (and usually hit very hard.)

10
71 16
Southpaw is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Southpaw A left-handed pitcher:  based on the orientation of early baseball fields to the same points of the compass, such that the pitcher's left arm was on the “south” side of his body.

11
83 23
Pulled the string is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Pulled the string When a pitcher throws a slow pitch after a series of fastballs. Pulls the string as if "winding the player up" and then letting go of or "pulling the string." 

12
32 3
Around the Horn is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
stuthehistoryguy added Around the Horn An informal ritual where the infielders throw the ball around the diamond after an infield out when there are no runners on base.

13
95 31
Backdoor Breaking Ball is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Backdoor Breaking Ball When a pitcher breaks a ball from the opposite end of the batter's box to hit the outside corner. Frontdoor breaking ball is when it breaks over the inside of the plate, hence going through the player's "front ...

14
95 32
Can of Corn is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Can of Corn When a outfield catches an easy, lazy fly ball. Originated from grocers who used to knock a can of corn off the top shelf and catch it easily with their aprons. 

15
63 15
Charging the Mound is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Charging the Mound A batter assaulting the pitcher after being hit by a pitch, usually followed by a brawl involving all the players.

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16
80 27
Bloop is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
analise.dubner added Bloop A weak fly ball that is not caught.

17
65 18
Five-Tool Player is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Five-Tool Player A position player who excels in every aspect of the game: running speed, throwing arm strength, defensive ability, hitting for a high average and power (typically homeruns.)

18
57 14
Rubber Arm is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Rubber Arm A pitcher who can throw many pitches without tiring and pitch consecutive days with the same effectiveness.

19
67 25
Cheese is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Cheese Another word for a fastball. Derived from the belief that cheese/cheddar is "the good stuff." 

20
64 26
On The Bump is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
On The Bump The pitcher who is on the mound or "bump."

21
55 20
Texas Leaguer is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Texas Leaguer A pop up that barely clears the infield and falls into the shallow outfield for a base hit. As if aided by the "Texas wind".

22
53 20
Cup of Coffee is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Cup of Coffee A short time spent by a minor league player at the major league level, most common in September when the minor league season ends.

23
54 21
Ground Ball With Eyes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
analise.dubner added Ground Ball With Eyes A routine ground ball that finds the hole in the infield.

24
50 19
Golden Sombrero is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Golden Sombrero When a player strikes out 4 times in the same game.  Platinum sombrero is 5 times. 

25
39 11
Beanball is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Beanball A pitch intentionally thrown to hit the batter if he does not move out of the way, especially when directed at the head (or the "bean" in old-fashioned slang.)

26
48 19
Tablesetter is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Tablesetter A player placed high in the batting order for his tendency to get on base and steal bases.

27
48 20
Keep Your Hands In is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Keep Your Hands In Expression meant to describe keeping your hands in on an inside pitch. Also known as "not bailing out" or "trying to turn on" the baseball. 

28
41 15
Bullpen is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Bullpen A designated area outside of the playing field or in foul territory where pitchers warm-up before entering the game.

29
55 27
Worm Burner is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Worm Burner A hard hit ground ball that stays low to the ground, hence "killing worms."

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30
30 9
Warning Track Power is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
damian-p- added Warning Track Power A batter who has enough strength to put a charge into a fly ball, but not enough to get the ball over the fence. An almost-slugger.

31
24 6
Bat Flip is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
mckib5816 added Bat Flip When a player or hitter celebrates a home run  

32
38 18
Four Bagger is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Four Bagger Home run.

33
32 14
Pinch is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Pinch A critical situation where a strategic substitution is made by the offense; either the batter "pinch hits" or a baserunner "pinch runs."

34
46 27
Foot in the Bucket is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Foot in the Bucket When a player pulls off on a pitch a.k.a. swings wild/off-balance to where his foot steps out of the batter's box or "into the bucket." 

35
31 15
Hurler is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Hurler A pitcher.

36
30 16
55-Footer is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added 55-Footer A pejorative term for a pitch that bounces before it reaches the plate. The name derives from the fact that the pitch falls short of the 60' 6" between the pitching rubber and the plate.

37
40 27
Off The Schnide is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Off The Schnide The "schnide" is another way of communicating a slump, or performing poorly.  "Off the schnide" means breaking a losing streak or a slump where a player struggles to get a hit. 

38
28 17
Gas Can is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
MattSchwarck added Gas Can Pitcher who come in and makes a bad situation worse.

39
29 18
Sunday Hop is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
analise.dubner added Sunday Hop A ground ball that takes a nice, easy bounce to the fielder.

40
30 20
One Trick Pony is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
One Trick Pony A player with one specialty or main skill. e.g. glove guy, knuckleball pitcher, pinch runner/speedster. 

41
31 21
Fireman is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Fireman A team's closing pitcher a.k.a. The man who puts out the "fire".

42
29 20
Uncle Charlie is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Uncle Charlie Another word for curveball. Also referred to as "deuce" as a catcher tells the pitcher to throw it by signaling him two fingers. 

43
28 21
Bandbox is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Bandbox A baseball park having relatively small interior dimensions that encourages offense - particularly homeruns.

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44
27 21
Tools of Ignorance is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Tools of Ignorance Catcher's gear. 

45
28 23
4A Player is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
4A Player A player who excels at the AAA level (the highest level of Minor League baseball) but isn't quite good enough to make it as a major league player. 

46
25 20
Waiting for the express and ca... is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Waiting for the express and caught the local A player who was expecting a fastball (the express) but gets a breaking ball or a slow putch instead (the local).

47
27 24
Baltimore Chop is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Baltimore Chop A hard groundball that bounced off the player's bat directly in front of home plate. 

48
22 19
At 'em Ball/Atom Ball is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added At 'em Ball/Atom Ball A hard-hit ball batted directly at a fielder.

49
19 18
5 O'Clock Hitter is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
5 O'Clock Hitter 5 O'clock is typically when teams take batting practice, where all players perform well. Hence a player who is a 5 O'clock hitter is a hitter who can only hit well during batting practice. 

50
21 21
Loogy (Lefty One Out Guy) is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Loogy (Lefty One Out Guy) A left handed pitcher whose primary job is to get one man out. . . usually the team's best left handed hitter.