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Baseball Terms Glossary
(Starting with "N")

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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.

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NA or N.A.

National Association. This may refer to the

  • (NABBP) - the 1857-1870 first governing body of baseball, the National Association of Base Ball Players
  • (NA) - the 1871-1875 first professional league (in any sport), the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players
  • (NAPBL) - the 1901-to-date trade association of minor leagues, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues — officially renamed Minor League Baseball in 1999.

    The second meaning for "NA" is most common by far, as suggested by the nonexistence of the more complete abbreviation "NAPBBP" outside the Wikipedia. There are two reasons why the 1871-1875 league is most common. First, in that sense NA is a league abbreviation akin to NL and AL, and there is far more baseball writing and talk about leagues than about higher associations. Second, the league is included in most major league baseball encyclopedias, digital and print, despite that MLB does not recognize the NA as a major league.


A close game. Nervous fans may be biting their nails.


  • Hit by a pitch, drilled, plunked.
  • The last pitches or last play of a winning game nail down the win or put the nails in the coffin of the opposing team.
  • To throw a runner out. "Sizemore nailed him at the plate."


A relief pitcher who is as "tough as nails" or very effective at nailing down a win is sometimes said to be "nails." "As the season has progressed, you can see that he looks forward to that 9th inning and he has been nails lately." "'This guy has been nails for us'," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said". Phillies and Mets center fielder Lenny Dykstra was known as "Nails" for his all-out style of play.

next batter's box

The official name of either of the two on-deck circles. Each team has its own circular area, 5 feet (1.5 m) in diameter, which is designated for unencumbered use by the on-deck batter (the next batter due to bat after the current batter); the on-deck batter may wish to stretch, run in place, or take practice swings immediately prior to taking his turn in the batter's box (which actually is rectangular in shape). Especially during finals and semifinals, each circle is typically painted with the corresponding team logo. The location of the next batter's box is specifically defined in MLB rules, and the most common method to locate it was granted a patent.

nickel curve

A slider. Also used to mean an average or possibly "hanging" slider. Hitters look at the spin on a ball when it is released by the pitcher, so the "dot" (circle which is created from the pitcher's rotation on the ball that the batter sees to identify a pitch as a slider out of the pitcher's hand) is said to be "nickel sized." Also, it could be used to mean a pitch with more lateral movement (closer to a slurve than to a slider) rather than velocity.


The second game of a doubleheader.


To strike out a batter on three pitches. Alternatively, to strike out on three pitches.

NL or N.L.

Abbreviation for National League, the older of the two major leagues.

NLCS or N.L.C.S.

Abbreviation for National League Championship Series: the final, best 4 out of 7, playoff series to determine the National League champion. The winners of the National League Division Series play in this series. The winner of the NLCS is the winner of the National League pennant and advances to the World Series against the pennant winner from the American League.

NLDS or N.L.D.S.

Abbreviation for National League Division Series: the first round of the league playoffs, to determine which two teams advance to the National League Championship Series (NLCS). This round pits the winners of each of the three league divisions plus the winner of the wild-card slot (the team that wins the most games in the regular season without winning a division) in two pairings, each of which plays a best 3 out of 5 game series to determine who advances to the NLCS.

no decision

Any starting pitcher who earns neither a win (W) nor a loss (L) is said to have a "no decision." A "no decision" has no special meaning in official baseball statistics. But regardless whether a pitcher earns a W, a L, or a "no decision," it has become conventional in recent years to note how well a starting pitcher performed by recording whether he made a quality start.


A game in which one team does not get any hits, a rare feat for a pitcher, especially at the major league level. Also given the childlike nickname "No-No". If no batter reaches base safely by any means (walk, error, etc.) the pitcher is said to have pitched a perfect game, which is much rarer than a "normal" no-hitter.

It is a superstition that when a pitcher is working on a no-hitter (or perfect game), his teammates stay far away from him (sometimes even a whole bench length) and will not say anything to anyone about the no-hitter. Some play-by-play on-air announcers will also avoid mentioning the no-hitter until either an opposing batter gets a hit or the no-hitter is completed; others however will mention one in progress and are sometimes blamed for jinxing no-hitters.

no man's land

  • The area of the outfield between the middle infielders and outfielders, where a flyball can fall for a hit (a Texas leaguer).
  • A baserunner caught in a pickle is said to be in "no man's land".
  • The portion of a ballpark's spectator area, usually the front row of seats, where a fielder may legally reach into to catch a fly ball, while a spectator or other personnel may legally touch same fly ball even if it interferes with the fielder's attempt to catch it. A ball touched by a spectator in this manner is not spectator interference.

no room at the inn

Sometimes said by a play-by-play announcer when the bases are loaded and the pitcher cannot afford to walk the batter. All the spaces are taken.


A no-hitter and a shut-out. Thus no hits, no runs. Headline: "Start of something good: Verlander's no-no may foreshadow future greatness."


A right-handed pitcher. See southpaw.


A Non-Roster Invitee (NRI) is a player invited to Spring training who is not yet on a Major League team's 40-man roster. He may be a young prospect, a veteran who has been released from or retired from a previous contract with a team, perhaps someone who left baseball after an injury. If he performs well, he has a chance to be placed on the roster and assigned to a minor league team or even join the major league team.

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Published - February 2011

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