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Baseball Terms & Slanguage

baseball terms

Baseball is a language, and the way we speak the game has evolved over the years. There are basic baseball terms like ball, strike, out, etc., but with phrases like “worm burner” and “oppo taco,” you’ll need a full baseball glossary as soon as you step into the dugout. In this article, the Bat Experts at JustBats are only going to focus on the most popular baseball terms. If you feel that we missed any, contact our Bat Experts and let us know! You can give them a call or text at 866-321-2287, email, or you can click here to live chat. Now, let's dive in. 

Bat Coach

Baseball Terms


Aboard - a runner reaching a base. 

Ace - the best starting pitcher on a team.

Alloy – A traditional metal used to create bats. >>> Shop Alloy Baseball Bats

Appeal - a claim by the team in the field to an umpire that a violation of the rules has taken place.

ASA - Amateur Softball Association

Assist - when a fielder throws the ball to another fielder who makes an out. 

At-Bat – An official count of time a player creates action to conclude their plate appearance. Walks, sacrifices, and HBPs do not count toward this baseball stat. 


Backstop – The fence behind the home. It can also be used as a nickname in reference to a catcher.

Balanced (Swing Weight) – A bat with a low MOI (Moment of Inertia). This style of a bat is easier to swing and your best bet if you’re looking for a bat to increase your bat speed. >>> Shop Balanced Bats

Balk - if the pitcher doesn't pitch after starting his pitching motion. This results in runners being awarded an extra base.

Ball - a pitch outside of the strike zone that the hitter doesn't swing at.

Base on Balls (BB) – Another term for a walk.

Base Coaches - the coaches located by first and third bases when their team is hitting.

Base Hit - a hit that allows the batter to reach first, second, or third base.

Baseman - the fielders assigned to defend bases at first, second, and third.

Base on Balls -  if the pitcher throws four balls before recording an out or three strikes, the hitter is awarded a free "walk" to first base.

Base Paths - the areas between the bases are marked out with dirt. A runner cannot run outside the base paths to avoid a tag.

Bases Loaded - when runners are on first, second, and third bases.

Batting Around - an inning in which all nine hitters in the lineup appear at the plate without three outs being recorded.

Bat Boy / Bat Girl - a person employed to retrieve a hitter's bat after they're done with it.

Batter - the member of the hitting team currently at the plate.

Batter's Box - the two boxes on either side of the home plate. The batter has to stand in one when they try to hit the baseball.

Batting Order - the order in which the hitters take their turn to come up and bat.

BBCOR - Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution is the standard currently governing adult baseball bats used in High School and Collegiate play.

Beanball - a pitch thrown at the hitter's head. An illegal pitch usually resulting in an ejection.

Benches Clearing - when players from both sides leave their respective bench/dugout.

Big Leagues / The Bigs - often used to describe Major League Baseball.

Bleachers - the seats beyond the outfield.

Bloop - a softly hit, accidental hit, or fly ball that goes over the infield, but out of reach of the outfielders for a base hit (ex. "a bloop single").

Boot - an error by a fielder when instead of collecting the ball, the fielder kicks it away with their actual foot or part of their glove.

Bottom Half Of The Inning - the half-inning when the home team is batting.

Breaking Ball - a pitch that moves into, away from, or suddenly drops as it reaches the hitter (ex., curveball).

Breaking Up A Double Play - a runner who slides hard into second (or third base) and, in doing so, ruins the chance of their teammate being called out at a different base.

Broken Bat - a bat that shatters when the ball is hit. Broken bats are bad; new bats are good.

Brush Back Pitch - a pitch thrown "inside" to a hitter, because the hitter is close to the plate.

Bullpen - the area where relief pitchers wait and prepare to enter the game.

Bunt - an attempt to move runners and/or get on base by using the bat to drop the ball away from fielders in the infield.


Called Game - a game ended via umpire decision (ex., because of rain).

Called Strike - a strike to the batter called by the umpire, opposite of a Swinging Strike.

Caught Looking -  a third strike where the hitter doesn't even swing.

Change Up - a type of pitch that is thrown with the same action as a fastball, but considerably slower.

Centerfield - the middle area of the outfield beyond second base.

Check Swing - a hitter's attempt to start a swing and then stop it before it crosses a certain point where it can be called a swinging strike.

Chopper - a ball hit hard into the ground.

Clean-Up - the fourth batter in the lineup. Named this because their job is to 'clean up' the bases and drive in all runners on base.

Climbing the Ladder - a pitcher throwing successive fastballs higher and higher in the strike zone.

Closer - the relief pitcher responsible for collecting the final few outs in a game.

Coaches - ranging from bench to pitching, this is the stuff that helps the manager make key decisions and help players improve.

Corked Bat - a bat that has been hollowed out and filled with cork in order to make the bat hit home runs easier. Illegal in all leagues.

Count - the number of balls and strikes against a hitter in an at-bat.

Curveball - an off-speed breaking ball pitch that sharply drops at the plate.

Cut-Off Man - an infielder who takes the outfielder's throw and relays it to the appropriate base.


Dead Ball - a temporary break in play, usually indicated by the umpire.

Delivery - the steps a pitcher takes to throw to a hitter.

Designated Hitter -  a hitter who does not play a defensive position, but hits for the pitcher in certain Leagues.

Diamond - the name for the infield, since it's marked by four bases in the shape of an actual diamond.

Dinger - a home run.

Disabled List (DL) - when a player is unable to play due to injury, they are placed on this list. Once a player is placed on this list, they cannot return for a certain number of days.

Doctoring the Ball - when a pitcher places illegal substances on a ball in order to make it move more.

Double Header - when two games are played on the same day.

Double Steal - when two runners attempt to steal bases at the same time.

Double - a base hit where the hitter ends up on second base.

Double Play (DP) - a fielding play where two players on offense are out.

Down the Pipe - a pitch thrown in the middle of the strike zone.

Drive-In a Run - a hit by a batter that brings in a run.

Dugout - the area where players, the manager, and coaches are when they're not in the field.


Earned Run - a run given up by a pitcher that was not the result of a defensive error.

Earned Run Average (ERA) - the number of earned runs allowed by a pitcher averaged over nine innings.

Error - a fielding mistake officially charged against the fielder who made the mistake.

Extra Innings - when a score is tied after the completion of nine innings, then the innings it takes to break the tie and determine the winner are extra.


Fair - a ball hit by the batter that stays inside the foul lines.

Fastball - a hard-thrown pitch.

Fighting Off a Pitch - when a batter purposefully hits a pitch foul to keep their at-bat alive.

Fielder - a player on defense.

Fielder's Choice - when the fielder allows the hitter to reach first base, in order to record an out at another base.

Fielding Average - a statistic used to demonstrate a fielder's efficiency.

Fly Ball - a ball hit into the air.

Force Out - an out where the runner is put out because they needed to run to a specific base.

Fork Ball - a split-finger fastball pitch. Usually thrown with no wrist motion and drops at the hitter's feet.

Foul - a ball hit outside of the fair territory.

Foul Lines - the lines that extend from homeplate, down the first base line and third base line, and all the way to the outfield wall.

Foul Poles - the vertical poles that show where the foul lines meet the outfield wall.

Foul Tip - a pitch that tips the bat and lands in the catcher's mitt. This counts as a strike.

Full Count - when the batter's count is three balls and two strikes.

Fungo - long, skinny bats used by coaches for practice drills and pre-game defensive warm-ups.


Gapper - a ball hit between outfielders and rolls all the way to the wall.

Glove - the glove fielders wear on their non-throwing hand to catch and field the baseball.

Going Around - an umpire's ruling that a batter did not check their swing and a strike should be called.

Gopher Ball - a bad pitch that results in a homerun.

Grand Slam - a homerun that is hit with the bases loaded.

Ground Ball / Grounder - a ball hit on the ground rather than in the air.

Ground Out - a recorded out that doesn't leave the infield when the ball has struck the ground at some point.

Ground Rule Double - When the ball lands fair and bounces out of play, the hitter is automatically awarded second base or not allowed to pass second base.

Gunned Down - a runner was thrown out at a base. Usually happens when a runner attempts to steal a base.


Heater / High Heat - a fastball.

Hill - the pitcher's mound; the area where a pitcher throws.

Hit and Run - a play where the runner starts to run to the next base while the hitter swings at the pitch no matter what.

Hitting For Average - a hitter who records a lot of hits.

Hitting For Power -  a hitter who records more extra-base hits and home runs.

Hitting For the Cycle -  a batter that collects a single, a double, a triple, and a home run in the same game.

Hold - when a relief pitcher inherits the lead and keeps the lead when they leave the game.

Holding the Runner - when an infielder stands close to a base to prevent a runner from taking too big of a lead away from the base.

Home Plate - the base located in front of the catcher that a runner must touch in order for a run to count.

Home Plate Umpire -  the umpire behind the catcher who calls balls and strikes.

Homerun - a hit over the outfield wall or a hit that allows the hitter to reach home plate. Also called a homer.

Home Stand - a series of consecutive games played at a home ballpark.

Hop - the bounce of the ball.

Hanging Pitch - a pitch intended to have movement, but doesn't. Thus, making it easier for the hitter to hit.


In the Hole -  often difficult to field, the area a shortstop defends.

ISA -  Independent Softball Association.

Infield - the area of the field inside the bases and base paths.

Infield Fly Rule - the rule that prevents the fielding side from purposefully dropping an easy catch when there are runners on base.

Infielder - a defensive player who fields in an around the infield. First base, second base, shortstop, and third base are considered infielders.

Innings - Games are divided into innings, nine to be exact. A single inning is when both teams have batted.

Inning Ending Play - any play which results in the third out, thus ending the inning.

Inside - a pitch is thrown on the same side of the plate as the hitter.

Inside-the-Park Homerun - a hit where the batter reaches homeplate without the ball going over the outfield wall.

Intentional Walk - a base on balls when the pitcher purposefully pitches four balls outside for strategic purposes.

ISF - International Softball Federation.


Juiced - a baseball that has been doctored to give the hitter an advantage. Also, a player that has used steroids.

Junking a Game - a game a team has stopped trying to win in an effort to converse assets/players for the next game.


K - a strikeout.

Knuckleball / Knuckler - a pitch thrown with no spin that wobbles as it approaches the hitter; usually very slow.


LCS - League Championship Series.

LDS - League Divisional Series.

LLWS - Little League World Series.

Late Movement - a pitch that deviates away or toward the hitter as it reaches the plate.

Lead Off Batter - the very first batter in an inning. Also refers to the batter at the top of a lineup.

Leftfield - the side of the outfield behind shortstop toward third base.

Left On Base - a runner(s) still on base when the third out of an inning is recorded.

Line Drive - a batted ball hit low and fast in the air.

Lineup - the batting order.

Lit Up - when a pitcher is giving up a lot of runs and, seemingly, cannot record an out.

Long Ball - a homerun.

Long Relief - a pitcher who enters a game early because the starting pitcher was ineffective.


Major Leagues / Majors - The professional teams and players that makeup Major League Baseball rosters.

Manager -  the coach in charge of the daily duties and in-game decisions of their team.

Middle Relief - a relief pitcher who follows the starting pitcher and pitches in the middle innings of a game.

Minor Leagues / Minors -  the teams and players that makeup Major League team farm systems; lower ranked.

Mitt - a more heavily padded glove that has four fingers combined into one unit; used primarily by catchers and first basemen.


NSA - National Softball Association.

Night Cap - the second game of a doubleheader.

No Hitter - a game where the pitcher or a team does not allow a single base hit.

Nubber - an accidentally hit baseball that doesn't travel far.

Bat Assurance


Off the Fists - a pitch that hits high up on the bat near the hitter's hands.

Off the Hook - when a pitcher expects a loss, but whose team scores enough runs to tie the game or take the lead. Thus, allowing the pitcher not to take a loss.

Official Scorer -  a statistician who records, determines and decides the scoring and numbers (including errors) of each game.

On Base Percentage -  a hitter's walks and hits divided by their plate appearances.

On Deck - the hitter who follows the batter is currently at the plate. Usually seen in the "On Deck Circle".

One Hopper - a baseball that bounces a single time before being fielded.

Open Base - a base with no runner on it.

Out - when a player on offense is removed from play due to being tagged, forced, struck, or thrown out.

Outfield Wall / Outfield Fence - the wall or fence beyond the outfielders that marks the outer boundary of the field.

Outfielder - a fielder who patrols the outfield; usually three outfielders.

Outside - a pitch is thrown away from the side of the hitter.


Painting the Corners - a pitcher that locates their pitches at the edge of the strike zone.

Passed Ball - a pitch not caught by the catcher.

Pen - a name for the bullpen, where the relief pitchers are during the game.

Pennant - the winner of Major League Baseball's League Championship Series.

Perfect Game - a game where the pitcher or team does not allow a single hit or single runner on base the whole game.

Pick Off - when a pitcher or catcher catch a runner trying to lead off of a base and tag them out before a base hit or the runner steals a base.

Pinch Hitter - a hitter who substitutes for another batter during the game.

Pinch Runner - a runner who substitutes for another batter during the game.

Pitch - the throw made by a pitcher to the hitter.

Pitcher's Mound - the mound in the center of the infield where a pitcher pitches to batters.

Pitcher's Plate - the plate in the middle of the pitcher's mound that a pitcher is required to be in contact with while they pitch to hitters.

Pitchout - a pitch purposefully thrown away from the plate so the hitter can't hit it that allows the catcher a better chance of throwing out a runner.

Plate - the base at home that a catcher defends and a pitch must throw over.

Play at the Plate - a throw to homeplate that will arrive roughly around the same time as a runner trying to score.

Play Ball - the call made by the homeplate umpire to start play.

Pop Up / Pop Fly - a fly ball, usually in the infield.

Power Alleys - the spaces between the outfielders. Hitters attempt to hit in those areas for extra-base hits.

Power Pitcher - a pitcher who throws a lot of fastballs.

Put Out -  when a fielder records an out.


Rain Delay - when rain causes the game to be temporarily postponed.

Rain Out - when rain causes the game to be canceled.

RBI (Runs Batted In) - when a hitter does something to allow a teammate to score a run, the hitter is credited with an RBI.

Reliever - any pitcher that enters the game after the starting pitcher.

Retire the Side - recording three outs to end an inning.

Retire in Order - when three outs are recorded consecutively in an inning.

Rightfield - the side of the outfield behind the second baseman.

Road Trip - a series of consecutive games played away from your home ballpark.

Rookie - a player in their very first season.

Rubber - the pitcher's plate.

Rubber Match - the deciding game of a three-game series if the first two games have been split.

Rundown - when a runner is caught between bases and is being chased down by fielders to make a tag.

Runners on the Corners - when baserunners are at first base and third base.


Sacrifice - when a hitter bunts or purposefully records an out in order to advance a teammate to the next base.

Sacrifice Fly - when a hitter hits a fly ball (usually to the outfield) that allows their teammate at third base to score a run.

Safe - when a runner reaches base without being tagged.

Save - when the final pitcher of a game inherits a close lead and finishes the game without the other team tying the game or taking the lead.

Scoring Position - when a base runner is on second or third base. Usually, a base hit or sacrifice fly can score the runner.

Screwball - like a curveball, except the pitch moves toward the hitter.

Setup Man - a pitcher who comes in to pitch before the closer.

Seventh Inning Stretch - between the top and bottom halves of the seventh inning, the ceremony where all fans are invited to stand up and stretch.

Show / The Show - Major League Baseball.

Shutout - when a pitcher or team does not allow the other team to score any runs.

Single - a base hit that allows the hitter to reach first base.

Slide - an attempt to get on base where the runner goes in feet first or head first; usually attempted when stealing a base.

Slider - a pitch that drops away from the hitter while simultaneously moving away from the hitter.

Slugger - a hitter who collects a lot of extra-base hits and/or home runs.

Slugging Percentage - a statistic that measures a batter's effectiveness at hitting for power.

Slump - when a batter struggles to hit over consecutive games.

Solo - a homerun hit with no one on base.

Southpaw - a left-handed pitcher.

Split Fingered Fastball - a pitch that looks like a fastball, but slowly dips when it reaches the batter.

Squeeze Play - when a hitter bunts and the runner at third attempts to score the run.

SSUSA - Senior Softball USA

Steal - when a runner attempts to move from one base to the next without the hitter hitting the baseball.

Stopper - a starting pitcher tabbed with ending a team's losing streak.

Stretch - the pitcher's set position for delivering the pitch to the homeplate.

Strike - a pitch the umpire decides is in the strike zone or the hitter swings at and misses.

Strike Zone - the area an umpire uses to call balls and strikes. Varies between umpires, but usually above the hitter's knees and below the mid-point of a hitter's waist and shoulders. And, of course, over the homeplate.

Strike Out - when a pitcher records an out with three strikes to a hitter.

Striking Out the Side - an inning where the pitcher strikes out all three batters faced.

Swinging Bunt - a hit where, despite taking a full swing, the batter only hits it a few feet, essentially, having the same effect as a bunt.

Swinging Strike - a strike where the hitter swings and misses.


Tag - when an out is recorded via a fielder catching the runner and placing their hand or glove with a ball on the runner.

Tagging Up - when a runner waits for a fly ball to legally be caught before taking off.

Taking a Lead - when a runner inches away from a base to make a stolen base attempt easier.

Taking a Pitch - when a hitter doesn't swing at a pitch hoping the umpire will call it a ball.

Thrown Away - a relay throw from a fielder which misses its target.

Top Half of the Inning - the half-inning when the visiting team hits.

Triple - a base hit where the batter reaches third base.


Unearned Run - a run that only scores because of an error; a run that is not the pitcher's fault.

USSSA - United States Speciality Sports Association.


Walk - when a hitter goes to first base, because "base on balls".

Walk Off - when the home team scores the winning run in the last inning.

Warning Track - the track in front of the outfield wall that allows outfielders to know when the wall is close.

Whiff - when a hitter swings and misses a pitch.

Wild Pitch - when the pitcher throws a pitch the catcher cannot handle.

Wind Up - the motion a pitcher takes when throwing to homeplate.


Those are a few of our favorite baseball terms to know. If you have any questions or would like some assistance with your next baseball bat or softball bat purchase, please contact our team of Bat Experts today. Until next time, we’re JustBats, and we’re with you from Click to Hit!

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