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Baseball Terms Glossary
(Starting with "D")

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_baseball






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This is an alphabetical list of selected unofficial and specialized terms, phrases, and other jargon used in baseball, and their definitions, including illustrative examples for many entries.

0-9 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

D

daisy cutter

Old-fashioned term for a hard-hit ground ball, close enough to the grass to theoretically be able to lop the tops off any daisies that might be growing on the field.

dance

The term used to describe the erratic movement that defines a well-thrown knuckleball. eg: "Hopefully his knuckler doesn't dance and hangs a little, or we're in trouble."

dark one

A pitch that is difficult to see, much less hit. "Throw him the dark one," is an encouragement to the pitcher, typically given with two strikes, to throw a strike past the batter.

dead arm

When a normally effective or dominant pitcher seems unable to throw as hard as he usually does, he may be said to have a "dead arm". "If you have watched the radar gun when Carlos Zambrano has pitched this month, you know something's not right. The problem, the Cubs right-hander said Saturday, is that he's going through a 'dead arm' phase."

dead ball

The ball becomes "dead" (i.e., the game's action is stopped) after a foul ball and in cases of fan or player interference, umpire interference with a catcher, and several other specific situations. When the ball is dead, no runners may advance beyond bases they are entitled to, and no runners may be put out. The ball becomes "live" again when the umpire signals that play is to resume.

Dead Ball Era

The period between 1903 and 1918, just prior to the Live Ball Era, when the composition of the baseball along with other rules tended to limit the offense, and the primary batting strategy was the inside game. In this case the ball literally was "dead", relatively speaking. Hitting a home run over the fence was a notable achievement.

dead pull hitter

A pull hitter is a batter who generally hits the ball to the same side as which he bats. That is, for a right-handed batter, who bats from the left side of the plate, will hit the ball to left field. Hitters are often referred to as dead pull if they rarely do anything other than pull the ball. A contemporary example of a dead pull hitter is Jason Giambi.

dead red

If a batter is "sitting/looking dead red" on a pitch, this means he was looking for a pitch (typically a fastball), and received it, usually hitting a home run or base hit. Also see shoot the cripple.

deal

  • Delivery of a pitch, commonly used by play-by-play announcers as the pitcher releases the ball, e.g., "Smith deals to Jones".
  • Pitching effectively, e.g., "Smith is really dealing tonight".
  • A player trade, or exchange (a common term to all American team sports). Also sometimes used as a verb: "The Yankees dealt Sheffield to the Tigers."

deep in the count

When a pitcher gets to a 3 balls-0 strike, 3 balls-1 strike, or 3 balls-2 strike count with a batter, a situation that tends to favor the batter. "In his fourth start after missing two months following elbow surgery, Robertson (2-2) went deep in the count against many hitters but allowed just five hits and two earned runs in five innings."

defensive indifference

When the defense allows a baserunner to advance one or more bases. The runner then does not get credit for a stolen base because the base was "given" not "stolen." The defense may allow this in the ninth inning with a large lead, where the focus is on inducing the final batters to make outs.

deliver

  • To deliver is to pitch. Announcer: "Koufax delivers. . . . Strike three!!!"
  • Delivery refers to the basic arm angles of pitchers, e.g., overhand delivery, sidearm delivery. This is in contrast to cricket, in which the term "delivery" is akin to type of pitch in baseball.

designated hitter

In the American League, the designated hitter (DH) is a player who permanently hits in the place of a defensive player (usually the pitcher) and whose only role in the game is to hit. The National League does not usually use designated hitters. However, in interleague play, when American League and National League teams face off against one another, the DH rule is used by both teams when the game is played in an American League ballpark, and by neither team when the game is played in a National League ballpark.

deuce

  • A curveball, because the catcher's sign is usually made by extending the first two fingers.
  • A double play.
From playing cards, where the "2" card is conventionally called the "deuce".

deuces wild

When a large quantity of the number "2" appears on the scoreboard at the same time: 2 baserunners, 2 outs, 2 balls and 2 strikes on the batter. Derived from poker term "deuces are wild". Often used by Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully.

DFA

An abbreviation of the term "designated for assignment".

dial long distance

To hit a home run. Headline: "Sox Sluggers Dial Long Distance — Ramirez, Ortiz Each Crank Two-Run Homers." The phrase is sometimes stated as "Dial 9 for long distance."

diamond

The layout of the four bases in the infield. It's actually a square 90 feet (27 m) on each side, but from the stands it resembles a parallelogram or "diamond".

didn't mean to

When a batter tries not to swing at a pitch (to "hold up on his swing") but the ball hits the bat and rebounds into fair territory, he makes a "didn't mean to" swing, perhaps even a "didn't mean to hit." Mark Grace will also refer to this as an "Oooops" or excuse me swing.

dig it out

  • To field a ball on or near the ground. Usually a first baseman taking a low throw from another infielder. To "dig it out of the dirt."
  • To run hard through first base on a close ground ball play in an attempt to beat the throw.

dinger

A home run.

ding dong

Another term for home run.

dirt-nap

To trip or fall in the outfield or on the base paths. A blown save may also be referred to as a dirt-nap.

disabled list

Major league teams may remove injured players from their active roster temporarily by placing them on the "disabled list." Another player can then be called up as a replacement during this time.

discipline

A batter shows "plate discipline" by not swinging at pitches that are out of the strike zone or at pitches that are in the strike zone but not located where he can get the bat on the ball. Such a batter might be described as a patient hitter.

dish

  • Home plate. "The catcher settles in behind the dish."
  • A pitch, particularly a good one. "Here comes the dish" (the pitch), or "He's really dishing it tonight" (pitching well).

diving over the plate

When a batter tends to lean in toward the plate so that he can more easily hit a ball that's on the outside of the strike zone, he's said to be "diving over the plate" or "diving for the pitch." To protect the strike zone, a pitcher may respond to this by pitching the ball inside, perhaps with a "purpose pitch". "Now Glavine has an equalizer with his cutter. He can bore it into the hands of righthanders to keep them from diving over the plate with impunity at his sinker and changeup."

DL

The disabled list. Sometimes used as a verb, as in "Wood was DL'ed yesterday."

doctoring the ball

Applying a foreign substance to the ball or otherwise altering it in order to put an unnatural spin on a pitch. Examples: By applying Vaseline or saliva (a spitball), or scuffing with sandpaper, emery board (an emery ball), or by rubbing vigorously to create a shiny area of the ball (a shineball). All of these became illegal beginning in the 1920 season, helping to end the Dead Ball Era. ((Official Rules of Baseball, Rule 8.02(a)). In practice, there are ambiguities about what kinds of things a pitcher can legally do.
A number of famous cases of doctoring the bat have also occurred in the Major Leagues. See corked bat.

double

A hit where the batter makes it safely to second base before the ball can be returned to the infield. Also a two-base hit.

double clutch

When a fielder – usually an infielder or a catcher – draws his arm back twice before throwing he's said to "double clutch." This hesitation often leads to a delayed or late throw, allowing runners to advance a base. A term borrowed from a method of shifting gears on an automotive vehicle.

double parked

A pitcher who is getting a lot of quick outs. Implies that he has parked his car illegally and is trying to get back to it and avoid a ticket, and this is why he is keen to get outs quickly.

double play

  • A play by the defense where two offensive players are put out as a result of continuous action resulting in two outs. A typical example is the 6-4-3 double play.
  • The double play combination (or DP combo) on a team consists of the shortstop and the second baseman, because these players are the key players in a 6-4-3 or 4-6-3 double play. They are also sometimes called sackmates, a reference to the fact that they play either side of second base (also known as second sack).

double play depth

A defensive tactic that positions the middle infielders to be better prepared for a double play at the expense of positioning for a hit to the third-base side.

double steal

Two runners attempt to simultaneously steal a base. Typically this is seen when runners who are on first and second make an attempt to steal second and third.

or on first and third, the runner on first steals second and trys to get the catcher to throw down to second so that the runner on third can steal home.

double switch

The double switch is a type of player substitution that allows a manager to make a pitching substitution and defensive (fielding) substitution while at the same time improving the offensive (batting) lineup of a team. This is most effectively used when a pitcher needs to be replaced while his team in on defense, and his turn to bat is coming up in his team's next offensive try. Rather than replace the pitcher with another pitcher, a position player (one who recently batted in his team's last offensive try) is replaced with a new pitcher, and the outgoing pitcher is replaced by a player able to play the position of the outgoing position player. The two subs then trade to their natural defensive roles, but keep the batting order positions of those they replaced, so when the team next comes up to bat, it is the newly subbed position player who hits during the turn of the vacated pitcher, and the new pitcher does not have to hit until the old position player's turn comes up again. The double switch is primarily used by the National League and Japan's Central League, which do not use the designated hitter rule.

double up

  • When a runner becomes the second out in a double play, he may be said to have been doubled up (or doubled off). This could be a batter who has hit into a double play or a runner who is caught off base when an outfielder catches a fly ball and throws behind the runner to a fielder who touches the base to complete a double play (hence "doubling up" the runner).
  • A team that wins a doubleheader may be described as doubling up the opponent: "Royals double up Blue Jays".

doubleheader

When two games are played by the same two teams on the same day. When the games are played late in the day, they are referred to as a "twilight-night" or "twinight" doubleheader. When one game is played in the afternoon and one in the evening (typically with separate admission fees), it is referred to as a "day-night" doubleheader. A doubleheader can also be referred to as a Twinbill. In minor league baseball, doubleheader games are often scheduled for 7 innings rather than the 9 innings that is standard for a regulation game.
According to the Dickson dictionary, the term is thought to derive from a railroading term for using two joined engines (a "double header") to pull an exceptionally long train.

doubles hitter

A gap hitter.

"down"

Put out. "One down" means one out has been made in the inning (two more to go in the inning). "One up (and) one down" means the first batter in the inning was out. "Two down" means two outs have been made in the inning (one more to go). "Two up (and) two down": the first two batters of the inning were retired (made outs). "Three up, three down": side retired in order.

down the line

On the field near the foul lines, often used to describe the location of batted balls.

down the middle

Over the middle portion of home plate, used to describe the location of pitches. Also referred to as down the pipe, down Main Street, down Broadway, and, in Atlanta, down Peachtree. Very different from up the middle.

DP combo

A slang term for a shortstop and second baseman combination, as primary executors of double plays. They are also occasionally referred to as sackmates. Generally speaking, only the best sets of middle infielders get called DP combos.

drag bunt

A bunt in which a left-handed hitter lays down a bunt out of the reach of the pitcher and toward the right side of the infield, in hopes that he will safely reach first base. Often such a bunt has an element of surprise to take advantage of the batter's speed and the fact that the first baseman and second basemen are playing their positions back. The batter may even take a stride toward first base as he bunts the ball, thereby appearing to drag the ball with him as he runs toward first base.

draw

A batter who gets called balls is sometimes said to have "drawn a ball" or "drawn a walk." The term may derive from card games, in which a player draws a card from the deck. "After a brief pause to put specially marked baseballs in play, Bonds drew ball one and ball two – with boos raining down on VandenHurk - before a called first strike. Then, the 96 mph fastball was gone – a drive estimated at 420 feet."

drawn in

  • When the outfield plays closer to the infield to prevent fly balls from dropping between them and the infielders, they are said to be "drawn in." This typically happens when the game is close in the final inning, and with less than two outs, and the defensive team wants to prevent the offense from getting base hits that might score the winning run (while conceding that a long fly ball might score a run even if the ball is caught in the outfield).
  • The infield may also be drawn in if there is a runner on third base with less than two outs, so that the infielders may field a ground ball and attempt to throw out the runner at the plate.
  • A single infielder, typically the third baseman or the first baseman may also play "in" when it's anticipated that a batter may attempt to make a sacrifice bunt.

drilled

Hit by a pitch, plunked.

drive

  • A line drive (noun).
  • To hit a line drive (verb). "Magglio drove the ball to center."
  • To make hits that produce RBIs. "Tejada drove him home from second." "Ramirez drove in three."

drop

  • To lose a game. "Tigers drop fourth in a row in loss to Blue Jays".
  • To beat another team is also to drop them. Headline: "Dodgers one win from clinching playoff berth after dropping Nationals".

drop ball

  • A sinkerball. Also known as a dropper or el droppo.
  • Some extreme 12-to-6 curveballs are also referred to as "drop balls," since they start high and dive as they reach the plate.

drop off the table

Used to describe a pitched ball, usually a curveball, that breaks extremely sharply.

dropped third strike

A dropped third strike occurs when the catcher fails to cleanly catch a pitch which is a third strike (either because the batter swings and misses it or because the umpire calls it). The pitch is considered not cleanly caught if the ball touches the dirt before being caught, or if the ball is dropped after being caught. On a dropped third strike, the strike is called (and a pitcher gets credited with a strike-out), but the umpire indicates verbally that the ball was not caught, and does not call the batter out. If first base is not occupied at the time (or, with two outs, even with first base occupied), the batter can then attempt to reach first base prior to being tagged or thrown out. Given this rule, it is possible for a pitcher to record more than three strike-outs in an inning.

drought

  • A long string or streak of at bats or games in which a batter goes hitless; or a string of starts in which a pitcher goes winless.
  • Any other streak when a team goes winless or fails to reach the playoffs or win a World Series. "The Red Sox drought of eighty-six years was often attributed to the Curse of the Bambino" (see 1918 World Series).

duck snort

A softly hit ball that goes over the infielders and lands in the outfield for a hit. Originally called a "duck fart," the term was popularized by White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson to make it more family friendly.

ducks on the pond

Runners on base, but especially when the bases are loaded. "His batting average is .350 when there are ducks on the pond."

due

A batter is said to be "due" when he's been in a hitting slump, but he usually hits for a fair or better average. Example: "Joe Mauer is 0-for-3 today, he's due for a hit." This is a baseball version of the Gambler's fallacy.

dugout

The dugout is where a team's bench is located. With the exception of relief pitchers in the bullpen, active players who are not on the field watch the play from the dugout. The term dugout refers to the area being slightly depressed below field level, as is common in professional baseball. There is typically a boundary, often painted yellow, defining the edges of the dugout, to help the umpire make certain calls, such as whether an overthrown ball is considered to be "in the bench" or not. The rule book still uses the term bench, as there is no requirement that it be "dug out" or necessarily below field level. The original benches typically were at field level, with or without a little roof for shade. As ballpark design progressed, box seats were built closer to the field, lowering the height of the grandstand railing, and compelling the dugout approach to bench construction.

dump

A player who bunts the ball may be said to dump a bunt. "Polanco dumped a bunt down the third base line." See also lay down.

duster, dust-off pitch

A pitch, often a brush-back, thrown so far inside that the batter drops to the ground ("hits the dust") to avoid it. Somewhat contradictorily, on the same play the pitcher may be said to have "dusted off" the batter.

dying quail

A batted ball that drops in front of the outfielders for a hit, often unexpectedly (like a shot bird). Also known as a blooper, a chinker, a bleeder, or a gork.


0-9 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z






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Published - February 2011







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