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895 voters

Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand

Updated April 22, 2018 12.5k votes 895 voters 24.2k views57 items

List RulesVote 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. 


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    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.
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    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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    An informal ritual where the infielders throw the ball around the diamond after an infield out when there are no runners on base.

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    Scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 9th or extra inning which ends the game.
  • 5

    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. 
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    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.
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    Short for "knuckleball" - a pitch thrown with no rotation or spin on the ball causing it to have an unpredictable trajectory.
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    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 door." 

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    A breaking ball with very little movement, resulting in it "hanging" over the plate (and usually hit very hard.)
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    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.)
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    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.
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    The batter who proceeds the man on-deck. Named as they usually stand on the first step or the "hole" of the dugout.
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    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...
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    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. 
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    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."
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    A weak fly ball that is not caught.
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    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.)
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    A batter assaulting the pitcher after being hit by a pitch, usually followed by a brawl involving all the players.
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    A pitcher who can throw many pitches without tiring and pitch consecutive days with the same effectiveness.
  • 20
    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." 
  • 21
    Home run.
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    A designated area outside of the playing field or in foul territory where pitchers warm-up before entering the game.
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    Another word for a fastball. Derived from the belief that cheese/cheddar is "the good stuff." 
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    When a player or hitter celebrates a home run
     
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    A pitcher.