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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.
To hit the ball very hard, typically a line drive. "Monroe laced it to left field."
An acronym for League Average Inning Muncher. A LAIM is generally a starting pitcher who can provide around 200 innings over the course of a season with an ERA (Earned Run Average) near the league average. A LAIM is counted on to consume innings, keeping his team in the game but not necessarily shutting down the opposition. The term was coined by baseball blogger Travis Nelson, but is used by other writers as well.
The seventh, eighth and ninth innings of a regulation nine-inning game.
A game in which one team gets a large lead, perhaps early in the game, and it appears that the other team has no chance at all of catching up. With nothing to worry about, the manager and team can relax. An easy win; a romp; a blowout.
To hit a long fly ball, as if launching a rocket. "Orso, who recently signed with Alabama Southern to play college baseball next season, launched several rocket shots and by far hit the furthest home runs of anyone in the competition. . . ."
A term for a ballpark in which many home runs are hit.
A (rare) 1-2-3 double play ("...and a one, ana 2, ana 3"). A reference to pop orchestra director Lawrence Welk.
A player who bunts the ball is said to lay down a bunt. Also see dump.
If a batter decides not to swing at a pitch, especially if he deliberately avoids swinging at certain types of pitches, he may be said to "lay off" a pitch. Pitchers tempt hitters to swing at pitches that they cannot hit; batters try to lay off such pitches. "Batters can’t seem to lay off his slider, just as his parents can’t seem to lay off his carrot cake — they’re nearly addicted to it."
A baserunner is said to be "caught leaning" or "leaning the wrong way" when he is picked off a base while shifting his weight toward the next base.
left on base
Baserunners that are still on base when the third out is made. The total number for a team and a player is usually published in the box score. Abbreviation: LOB.
A left-handed relief pitcher specializing in getting one out, often in critical situations. See also LOOGY.
To run hard to get safely on base or to advance a base: "Podsednik legged out an infield hit, stole second and scored when Everett legged out a double."
A letter-high pitch is one that crosses the plate at the height of the letters on the batter's chest. Also see at the letters. Equivalent term: "chest high." "Dietrich fouled off a couple of pitches before Porcello put him away with a letter-high fastball at 94."
To remove a player from the lineup in the middle of a game. "Casey was lifted for a pinch runner."
A pitcher who so dominates the hitters that the game is effectively over once he takes the mound — so they can turn out the lights and go home. The pitcher retires the batters in order without allowing a single run. "Putz pitched lights-out baseball once he took over the job for good from Guardado."
The batting order, which also lists each player's defensive position. An announcer reading the starting lineup for a game will typically begin something like this: "Batting first, playing second base. . . ."
A strong arm, usually describing a pitcher who has a great deal of velocity on his pitches. "That pitcher has a live arm."
Live Ball Era
The time since 1919 or 1920 when several rule changes favored the strategy of the power game over the time-honored inside game, ending the Dead Ball Era.
lively fastball/life on the ball
A fastball that seems to be not just fast but also hard to hit because it may have some movement on it or it may appear to speed up as it gets closer to the plate. "'His fastball has got more life to it,' Jays cacther Rod Barajas said. 'It's finishing. What I mean by that is the last 10 feet [to home plate], it seems that it picks up speed.' According to Barajas, that has particularly helped Ryan against right-handed hitters. 'They end up being late, because that last 10 feet, it seems like it picks us a couple miles per hour, Barajas said".
load the bases
A succession of plays that results in base runners on first, second, and third bases. See also bases loaded or bases full.
Abbreviation for left on base.
A pitcher's command is reflected in his ability to locate the ball – to throw it to an intended spot. A pitcher with "good location" not only has command but makes the right choices about where to throw the ball against particular batters.
lock him up
A soft, straight pitch with a lot of arc.
A home run. A team is said to "win by the long ball" after a walk off home run or the team hits several home runs to win. Headline: "Phillies Use the Longball To Take Game 1 from the Dodgers".
Home runs. "He ravaged Pacific Coast League pitching for seven more long ones before being recalled by the Reds later the same month."
A ball that's hit deeply into the outfield and is caught by the fielder is a "long out."
A type of relief pitcher. Long relievers enter early in a game (generally before the 5th inning) when the starting pitcher cannot continue, whether due to ineffective pitching, lack of endurance, rain delay, or injury.
A foul ball which finishes particularly close to being fair, often where a fair ball would have been a home run. So named as despite the good effort of the hitter, the result is a strike against him.
A mildly derogatory nickname for a left-handed specialist. An acronym for "Lefty One Out GuY," a left-handed pitcher who may be brought into the game to pitch against just one or two left-handed batters to take extreme advantage of platoon effects.
look the runner back
A softly hit Texas leaguer that drops in between the infielders and outfielders. Also blooper. A fielder may make a superior defensive play, however, and turn a looper into an out. "Sacramento’s Lloyd Turner ended the fourth with a sprinting, sliding snag of Alvin Colina’s looping liner to left that sent the stands into a frenzy."
A slang term for a "12-to-6" curveball. Similar to Uncle Charlie.
lose a hitter
When a pitcher gives up a walk, especially when he gets ahead in the count or has a full count but gives up a walk, he is said to have "lost the hitter."
During the regular season, the team lost more games than it won. For a modern Major League team, this means a team lost at least 82 games out of 162 games played in what is called the losing season.
A series of consecutive losses.
An entire team receives a "loss" on its record if it scores fewer runs than the opposing team. The pitcher gets pinned with the loss (an L) on his record is the pitcher that allowed the base-runner whom eventually scored the ultimate lead. See win.
lost his swing
See find his swing.
lost the ball in the sun
When a player attempting to catch a fly ball is temporarily blinded by the glare of the sun in his eyes, he may "lose the flyball in the sun."
When a batter hits a long fly ball that is caught in the outfield, perhaps when a crowd reacts loudly thinking it will be a HR, the announcer may say the batter made a "loud out." "Home runs are already overrated. A home run in one park is a loud out in another." "Long, loud out as Garciaparra takes Green to the warning track. But the former Dodger makes the catch easily and we’re in the bottom of the third."
A baseball bat. Sometimes used in reference to a powerful offensive showing, "The Yankees busted out the lumber tonight with a 10-0 victory." Also timber.
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Published - February 2011
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