Time to talk some baseball

sports@macon.comMarch 31, 2014 

APTOPIX Rangers Phillies Baseball

Vintage planes from the Cavanaugh Flight Museum flyover Globe Life Park during opening day ceremonies before a baseball game between the Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies in Arlington, Texas, Monday, March 31, 2014.

LOUIS DELUCA — AP/The Dallas Morning News

Home cooking, can of corn, high cheese, hot potato, meat, goose egg, grand salami, mustard, bread and butter and a cup of coffee. Sounds like a bad menu, but in actuality it’s baseball speak. Those are all terms related to America’s pastime, but if you are a baseball fan, you probably already know that.

With the baseball season now underway, I thought it was time for a refresher course on diamond language.

This is a baseball vocabulary lesson.

Home cooking: a home team player who gets a favorable call by the official scorer.

Can of corn: a fly ball, resulting in an easy out.

High cheese: a fast ball thrown high in the strike zone.

Hot potato: hard-hit ball.

Meat: means either a rookie, usually a pitcher who is easy to hit, or the meat of the batting order, the 3-4-5 hitters in the lineup.

Goose egg: zero on the scoreboard.

Grand salami: grand slam.

Mustard: extra effort by a pitcher on a thrown fastball.

Bread and butter: a player’s most reliable skill, usually refers to a pitcher’s best pitch.

Cup of coffee: a minor leaguer who spends a little time in the major leagues and then is sent back to the minors.

The language of baseball is a world of its own, and I have some favorites from the hundreds that are associated with the sport and share them here. If you watch baseball on television or listen to it on the radio, you most likely have heard all of these.

Five-tool player: exceptional running and fielding skills, has a strong throwing arm and can hit for power and average.

Ride the pine: sitting on the bench.

Punch and Judy hitter: singles hitter.

Mendoza line: when a player has a batting average below .200.

Chin music: a pitch that’s thrown around the head of the batter.

Tools of ignorance: a catcher’s protective equipment, which includes a mask, chest protector, shin guards and a mitt.

Texas leaguer: weakly hit fly ball that falls in for a single between the infield and outfield.

Baltimore chop: a ground ball off or near home plate.

Around the horn: double play from third to second to first.

Juiced: double meaning here, either the bases are loaded or a player who is believed to have used performance-enhancing drugs.

Buck and change: a player who is hitting between .100 and .199.

Five o’clock hitter: a player who hits well during batting practice but not in the actual game.

Wheelhouse: a player’s power zone, usually a pitch that is waist high and right over the heart of the plate.

Uecker seats: spectator seats that have a very poor view of the playing field, popularized by Milwaukee Brewers announcer Bob Uecker in a beer commercial in the 1990s.

Baseball references in casual conversation, but have nothing to do with the sport, are used every day. How about “He couldn’t get to first base with her,” “You are out in left field,” “He has two strikes against him,” “You are way off base,” “He struck out with her,” “That’s bush league,” “He was caught off base,” “Be sure to touch base,” “He stepped up to the plate,” “He knocked it out of the park,” and “It’s a whole new ball game.”

All sports have words or expressions that are unique to their particular game, but baseball has the most by far.

Bobby Pope is the executive director of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Email him at bobbypope428@gmail.com

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service