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Baseball Terms Glossary
(Starting with "U")

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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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UA or U.A.

Abbreviation for Union Association, a one-year (1884) major league.

Uecker seats

Spectator seating offering a very poor view of the playing field. Usually located in a stadium's upper decks. Named in honor of longtime Milwaukee Brewers announcer Bob Uecker, in reference to one of his Miller Lite Beer TV ads in which he is removed from the box seats and learns that his tickets actually put him in the back row of the right field upper deck at the stadium.

ugly finder

A foul ball hit into a dugout, presumably destined to "find" someone who is ugly, or to render him that way if he fails to dodge the ball.

ultimate grand slam

A grand slam that is hit by a member of the home team when his team is behind by exactly 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, extra inning, or other scheduled final inning. The grand slam causes the home team to overcome the 3-run deficit and take the lead, thereby ending the game. See also walk-off home run.


Each umpire is a member of an umpiring crew, responsible for refereeing or officiating a game. Major League Baseball employs 17 4-man crews. The umpires officiate the game, including beginning, suspending, and ending the game; enforcing the rules of the game; calling balls and strikes; making judgment calls on plays; and meting out discipline such as ejecting players or coaches from the game.

Umpires are sometimes addressed as Blue or abbreviated as ump. Fans and players alike have a rich vocabulary for describing umps.

Each umpiring crew has a crew chief. Each game has an umpire in chief for that game, with the umpires within a crew rotating responsibilities from one game to the next. A typical Major League game during the season uses four umpires: the home plate umpire and three base umpires, stationed near each base. The home plate umpire is the umpire in chief for the game and declares when game action is to begin or end, calls balls and strikes, and whether runners are safe or out on plays at the plate. The base umpires are responsible for declaring whether runners are safe or out on plays at any base, whether balls hit to the outfield are fair or foul, whether a ball is caught for an out, whether fly balls are home runs, whether there is fan interference on a play (or other conditions that require application of a ground rule. In playoff games, the umpiring crews are expanded to six, to include umpires for left and right field, who monitor the foul lines as well as calling plays on other balls hit to the outfield.

The umpiring crew works as a team, and on some occasions consult with one another before an official ruling is made, such as on appeal plays, whether a fly ball actually was a home run, when a particular umpire had an obstructed view of a play, or when one umpire has moved from his initial position and is not the one who is closest to a play and thus able to make a call.

unassisted play

A play that a fielder single-handedly completes for an out that is more often completed by multiple fielders. For example, with a runner on first base, a ground ball is hit to the shortstop who then steps on second base, completing a force out. Variations are: the unassisted double play (rare) and the unassisted triple play (very, very rare).

Uncle Charlie

A slang term used to describe a curveball.

uncontested steal, undefended steal

If a base runner successfully advances to the next base while the pitcher is delivering the ball to home plate but the catcher does not attempt to throw him out, then the steal may be scored as an uncontested or undefended steal. In the game's statistics, the runner would not be credited with a stolen base. Also called defensive indifference. See also stolen base, fielder's choice.


"Up" has many and diverse uses in baseball. For example:

  • "Batter up!": the umpire's cry starting an inning.
  • At bat, at the plate. A player who is at bat is "up" or "up at bat."
  • Three up, three down: three batters came to the plate, and all three are out.
  • A team in the lead is "up" by some number of runs.
  • The batter got under the ball and popped it up.
  • The pitcher got the pitch "up", and the batter popped it over the fence for a homer.
  • Called up means a player has been promoted from the minors to the majors.

up and in

Same as high and tight.

upper decker

A home run that lands in the stadium's upper deck of seating. Also refers to a dip that is placed in the upper lip as opposed to the lower lip.


When instead of being horizontal or level, a batter's swing moves in an upward direction as the bat moves forward. "The looping or uppercut swing is most common when the hitter 'loads up his swing' in order to hit with more power."


a pitched ball that is high, and usually outside the strike zone

up the elevator shaft

a pop-up that travels straight upwards off the bat, very easy to catch

up the middle

On the field very close to second base, used to describe the location of batted balls. Also, in a more general sense, the area of the field on the imaginary line running from home plate through the pitcher's mound, second base, and center field. General managers typically build teams "up the middle"; that is, with strong defense in mind at catcher, second base, shortstop, and center field.

utility player

A player (usually a bench player) who can play several different positions.

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Published - February 2011

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