Baseball

MLB History: A Language of Its Own

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Throughout MLB history, when the player interviews occur, fans get a sneak peek at all of the baseball slang that is used day in and day out. The game of baseball beats to its own rhythm, and so do the players. With all the nuances of both the game and its players throughout MLB history, all the terminology can be tough to decipher.

MLB History: Baseball Slang 101

As time progresses and fans and players are around the game for a longer amount of time, this baseball slang can be easier to understand.

Going from A-Z, some of the best baseball slang terms will be highlighted and defined.

Aspirin

When referring to aspirin throughout MLB history, baseball players are not talking about the pain reliever that every pitcher knows and loves. But rather a fastball that is at a high speed. The ball is moving so fast that it looks as small as an aspirin tablet.

Bush

Short for ‘Bush League’, bush means that the opposing team or player is engaging in amateur level play that can be seen as inappropriate from fans.

Cheese or High Cheese

Similar to aspirin, cheese refers to a good fastball. High cheese is a fastball up in the zone with intentions for the hitter to chase after it.

Ducks on the Pond

Runners are in scoring position, ready to score on a hit.

Excuse-Me Swing

The batter has a check swing that goes around the plate, and is ruled as a strike.

Frozen Rope

Frozen ropes occur when a hitter squares up the baseball and a hard line drive is hit off the bat.

Ground Ball with Eyes

One of the weirder terms in MLB history, a ground ball with eyes refers to a soft ground ball that finds a hole in the infield for a hit.

The Hook

A hook can refer to two different occurrences in a baseball game. As if baseball slang could not get any harder to decipher, a term with two definitions. One is a solid curveball, where the other is when the manager switches pitchers.

Insurance Run

In late innings, getting an insurance run means creating a safety blanket for your closer. Instead of being up by one run, an insurance run creates a bigger lead, thus creating some insurance for the back end of the bullpen.

Jam Sandwich

No, nobody is eating any jam sandwiches at the ballpark. A hitter is jammed when a pitcher gets a ball inside on the hitters’ hands. So a common term when a hitter is jammed, is a jam sandwich.

Knee-Buckler

Any hard-breaking ball that bends over the plate and fools the hitter, causing him to buckle his knees.

Lollygaggers

Lazy baseball players. See Bull Durham clip.

Mendoza Line

A .200 batting average. This is only baseball slang term named after a former player.

Nibble

A pitcher throwing balls right at the edge of the strike zone is ‘nibbling’ at the zone.

On The Screws

A batter that hit the baseball off the barrel.

Punch and Judy Hitter

A hitter with no power.

Shelled

When a pitcher is giving up many hits to the opposition, he is getting ‘shelled with enemy ammunition’.

Twin Killing

Another baseball slang term that can refer to two different definitions. It can refer to a double play or winning both games in a doubleheader.

Uncle Charlie

No famous player is taking the name of Charlie, Uncle Charlie refers to a curveball. Do not ask why, it just is.

Vulture

The reliever that comes in and takes a win away from the starter is none as a vulture because he ‘vultures’ away from a win from the starting pitcher.

Window Shopping

A batter strikes out looking is referred to as window shopping.

These 21 terms are just scratching the surface of the vast language that is baseball slang. With the vast language in MLB history, there could be 400 terms easily, but focusing on some of the key terms can set a base for learning this new language!


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