WORD LISTS

Baseball: A Lexicon

March 30, 2017
From spring training and opening day right up through the World Series, baseball (a.k.a. our national pastime) is a sport with rabid fans. It's also known for having plenty of downtime, so why not practice the language of the game during the many hours it'll take to wrap up all nine innings?
average
The result was a career-low .232 batting average and only 12 home runs and 50 RBIs, quite a dip from the previous season when he wound up as World Series MVP for the Chicago Cubs.
base
Base has several meanings, but in life and baseball, they often involve origins or home. A base can be the foundation of something, like a soup base that kickstarts the recipe. A military base is where soldiers are stationed. In baseball, the game is named for the four bases that create a diamond shape: first base, second base, third base, and home base, which would be a redundant term if not for the other bases. When a runner is on any base, they’re safe. Base is related to basics.
Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez was notorious last season for frequently visiting pitchers with runners on second base.
bunt
Let Chris Taylor hit away with runners on first and second in the sixth when the situation screamed sacrifice bunt?
designate
To designate is to give something or someone a specific name or status. In baseball, the designated hitter (DH) is someone whose job is only to hit. In Major League Baseball, the American League has a DH, but the National League does not. This is why pitchers, even though they’re usually not very good hitters, have to take their turn at bat in the National League.
The plan is to install him at the top of a six-man starting rotation, with three or four days a week spent as a designated hitter in their lineup.
steal
Stealing is, of course, taking something that doesn’t belong to you, which makes you a thief, a robber, and a scofflaw. But in baseball, stealing is encouraged, at least if you’re a fan of the team batting: base runners can steal bases. The idea is that a super-quick runner can make it to the next base before the pitcher realizes and tries to get him out. This is a risky move even if you’re Olympic-level fast, because no one is faster than a baseball, and pitchers are wise to these shenanigans.
Davis led the American League with 43 stolen bases for Cleveland in 2016.
signal
A signal is used to communicate: a white flag signals surrender, and a thumbs-up means everything is cool. In baseball, the manager uses signals — also called signs, like in sign language — to tell pitchers which type of pitch to throw, to let base runners know if they should steal or not, and maybe to inform the right fielder that the announcers noticed he was picking his nose. In 2017, the Boston Red Sox got in some trouble for stealing signals (cracking the code) against the New York Yankees.
Investigators for Major League Baseball determined that the Red Sox executed a scheme to illicitly steal hand signals from the Yankees’ catchers.
slug
Having turned down chances to slug for the Cardinals and Giants, the big-bopping Stanton got a trade he liked.
strike
To strike something is to hit it. When you’re mad, you might strike the wall, though I wouldn’t recommend it, since that’s bad for hands and walls. In baseball, a strike is kind of the opposite: when the pitcher fires the ball past the batter, who swings and misses, it’s a strike. Three strikes equals a strikeout, which means you’re out. From baseball, this has become a more general term for failure. In baseball or life, three strikes means you’re headed to the bench (or possibly prison).
And, his contact rate with pitches outside of the strike zone went down.
statistics
Statistics are used to judge the two because statistics mean everything in baseball.
rotation
Rotation refers to the process of turning: if a wheel is going around, it’s rotating. Metaphorically, we use the concept of rotation for situations where people take turns, and that’s important for baseball. The pitchers need time to rest their arms, so they have a rotation: an order they pitch in. When it’s your turn in the rotation, you pitch. When it’s not, you should probably avoid arm-wrestling contests, because that precious arm is your livelihood.
The plan is to install him at the top of a six-man starting rotation, with three or four days a week spent as a designated hitter in their lineup.
pastime
It is time to play fair, starting with our national pastime.
roster
The Dodgers and the Angels enter the three-game Freeway Series beginning Thursday in different states of readiness in terms of their opening-day rosters.
foul
A hit batter and a groundball single up the middle preceded Cruz’s go-ahead homer, which barely stayed inside the left field foul pole.
series
According to this metric, the Cubs will end their 0-year World Series drought, as they...
league
Oakland’s Rickey Henderson alone led the American League that year with 100 stolen bases while Montreal’s Ron LeFlore led the National League with 97.
pitch
Former starter and relief pitcher Jim Bouton, author of baseball’s all-time bestseller, Ball Four, thinks it’s ridiculous that relievers should be allowed eight warm-up pitches.
hustle
Hustle! Hustle! Hustle!” one child implored a teammate.
dugout
Both benches emptied briefly, but order was quickly restored and umpires warned both dugouts.
mound
The next batter worked the count to 3-0, at which point sophomore catcher Mark Kline began to approach the mound.
balk
“Personally, I don’t think I balked, but, umpire’s discretion, that’s his call.”

Rate this wordlist:

Do you have a comment?

Share it with the Visual Thesaurus community.

Your comments:

Sign in to post a comment!

We're sorry, you must be a subscriber to comment.

Click here to subscribe today.

Already a subscriber? Click here to login.

Create a new Word List