Baseball dictionary: Brief guide to baseball slang

George W. Bush playing baseball
The White House Archives/Courtesy

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The game of baseball is as American as apple pie and for ages has been regarded our country’s national pastime. Baseball’s popularity doesn’t stop at our shores, though, as the sport has gained immense popularity in almost every corner of the world.

Despite baseball’s ubiquity, the ever-evolving jargon used on the diamond can cause confusion among even the game’s most passionate supporters. Thankfully, my experience as both a player and a fan has afforded me quite an expansive baseball vocabulary, and it is my great pleasure to share with you just a few terms that can help you enjoy the next game you watch.

No-no: a no-hitter.

I don’t wanna jinx it or anything, but Jared Horn’s got a no-no going through seven.

Warning-track power: an insult used to describe a player who doesn’t hit home runs and can barely reach the warning track.

Hit the weight room, bro. That’ll fix your warning-track power.

Go yard: to hit a home run.

Scouts are coming to the game today. I’m definitely trying to go yard.

Dinger: a home run.

Let’s just walk this guy. He’s already hit three dingers today.

Knock: a single.

We got on the board with an RBI knock in the first.

Rope: a hard-hit line drive.

I hate playing third base because I always get ropes hit at me.

Hose: a strong arm or a strong throw.

Did you see president Bush’s first pitch? Dude has a hose!

Noodle: the exact opposite of a hose.

You can tag up on this left fielder all day. Dude’s got a noodle.

Rake: to hit the ball well.

I don’t wanna pitch to this dude — he’s been raking lately.

Carve: When a pitcher strikes out a batter on just a few pitches.

That was a terrible at-bat, Johnny. The pitcher carved your ass up.

Blooper: a weak hit that barely leaves the infield, usually as a result of the ball hitting an awkward spot of the bat.

His curveball caught me out front, but I was able to pull it into left for a little blooper.

Snow cone: when a fielder barely catches a ball with the tip of his glove.

I almost went yard, but the center fielder stretched over the wall and snow coned it.

Heat: high velocity.

Yo, sit in the back of the box. This dude’s throwing heat.

Blue: an umpire.

Get off your knees, blue! You’re blowing the game!

Southpaw: a left-handed pitcher.

The manager will probably put all the righties in the lineup tonight because the other team’s got a southpaw on the mound.

Pop: a batter’s power.

Don’t give this guy anything to hit. He’s got a lot of pop.

Bush-league: amateur, subpar.

This catcher’s bush-league. He doesn’t know how to frame, and he’s allowed like three passed balls.

Bean: to hit a batter with a pitch.

This is that guy that cleated Johnny earlier. I’m gonna bean him.

Junk: off-speed pitches.

Always expect junk when a pitcher’s got you down 0-2.

Swinging out of one’s shoes: when a batter is swinging as hard as they can in an attempt to hit a home run.

This dude’s swinging out of his shoes. Throw him something off-speed, and you’ll catch him out in front of it.

Cheddar: a very hittable fastball with minimal velocity.

C’mon, coach, let me hit. This pitcher’s throwing cheddar!

Fan: to strike a batter out.

The pitcher fanned eight through seven innings.

Paint the corners: to throw a strike on the edge of the plate.

This pitcher doesn’t throw too hard, but he’s effective because he knows how to paint the corners.

Turn two: complete a double play.

We’ve already got one out. Let’s try to turn two and get out of this inning.

Rups: formally called “stirrups,” rups are an old-school pair of socks that hook onto the bottom of a player’s foot and reveal a pair of white socks underneath.

Pull your pants up, bro. The crowd can’t see your rups when they’re down.

Dirty mids: Pants that hang to about shin level so that they are neither all the way up nor all the way down.

I hate wearing my pants up, but I’ve gotta rock the dirty mids to show off my rups.

Tail: movement on a fastball. Usually comes from left-handed pitchers.

His ball’s got a good tail on it, so he might catch you chasing some stuff out of the zone.

Lip: a fat wad of chewing tobacco in a player’s mouth.

Dude, check it out. The first baseman’s packing the fattest lip I’ve ever seen.

Deuces wild: a situation in which there are two balls, two strikes, two outs and two runners on base at the same time.

Vaughn takes ball two, and the deuces are wild.

Chin music: a high, inside fastball that gets juuuust a little too close to the batter’s head.

If this guy’s bat flips on our field, I’m gonna have to give him some of that sweet chin music.

Joey Patton covers baseball. Contact him at [email protected].