Baseball is a great sport. It truly is America’s Game. Baseball coaches and players know and love the game. They even have their own language, lingo or jargon. This article takes a look at 12 strange baseball terms and phases and their meaning. You will enjoy this inside look at the game and the lingo that is spoken.
Baseball Coaches and Players have many “sayings” and jargon that may seem extremely strange to a lay person that is not familiar to the game.
Here Are A Dozen Examples of Strange Baseball Jargon
1. Air Mail – Used to refer a fielder’s wild throw that is thrown high over the player to whom he is throwing the ball to. For example, if the shortstop were to throw the ball over the first baseman’s head and into the dugout, he is said to have “air mailed” the throw.
2. Aspirin Tablet – Slang for a fastball that is especially hard to hit due to its velocity and/or movement. When a batter is in a slump the ball appears much smaller. Means the opposite of the saying that “I am seeing the ball so well that every pitch looks like a grapefruit or beach ball”.
3. Baltimore Chop – A technique of hitting that utilizes a short downward swing. The purpose is to make the ball bounce off home plate or the packed dirt in front of the plate. The goal is to produce a bounce high enough so that, even if the ball can be fielded by an infielder the batter will reach first for a base hit.
4. Banjo Hitter – A batter who lacks power. The name is said to come from the twanging sound of the bat at contact, like that of a banjo. A banjo hitter usually hits blooper singles, often just past the infield dirt, and would have a low slugging percentage.
5. Bread and Butter – Refers to what a player does best or what the players relies on to be successful. A player’s greatest or most reliable skill. For example: “The slider is a pitcher’s bread and butter pitch.”
6. Bush League – Used to describe play, actions or behavior that is considered to be of poor quality or unprofessional quality. The “bush” refers to occurrences in rural small towns and communities.
7. Can of Corn – A fly ball that is easily caught. It is believed that the phrase came from the act of a general store clerk reaching up, tipping and catching cans from a shelf to fill a customer order. The reason a can of corn was considered the easiest “catch” because in those days the can of corn was the most popular vegetable sold in a can so the cans of corn were heavily stocked on the lowest shelves.
8. Cement Mixer – A pitch fails to break and ends up hanging in the strike zone; an unintentional slow fastball with side spin resembling a fixed-axis spinning cement mixer, which does not translate. It is a pitch thrown with the intent of breaking it out of the strike zone but it failed to do so.
9. Climbing the Ladder – A technique or strategy by which a pitcher throws several pitches back-to-back out of the strike zone, each higher than the last, in an attempt to get the batter to “chase” or swing at a pitch “in his eyes.”
10. Daisy Cutter – Refers to a hard-hit ground ball that stays just above the grass and close enough to the grass to theoretically be able to cut the tops off daisies that might be growing on the field.
11. Humpback Liner – Used to describe a ball hit deep in the infield that has a trajectory in between that of a fly ball and a line drive. While not the hardest hit, these types of balls can be hard for infielders to get to if they are not in double-play depth. These type balls often fall in for hits, but the extra topspin on the ball makes them take a dive before they can get to the outfield.
12. Went Fishing – The batter reaches across the plate in an attempt to hit an outside pitch. He chased a pitch that was so far outside that he could not reach it. It is often said that batter “went fishing”.
As you can see from reading the examples above sometimes baseball people speak a different language. I hope that you enjoyed this article and found it to be informative. You can find more articles like it at the Baseball Coaching Digest and the Baseball Coaching Digest Blog. Thanks for reading my article. Have a great day, Nick.