Baseball Wikipedia Glossary

Terms in this set (1144)

Main article: appeal play
A play in which the defense has an opportunity to gain a favorable ruling from an umpire by addressing a mistake by the offense or seeking the input of another umpire. Some notable examples:
1. Since baserunners must touch all bases in order when advancing or in reverse order when retreating (tagging up), the defense may appeal if it appears a runner missed a base and continued on to the next one. This appeal must be made during a live ball and before the next pitch; typically, the pitcher will step off the rubber and throw the ball to a teammate, who will then touch the appropriate base and verbally notify the umpire of his appeal. If the umpire saw the runner miss the base, he will rule that runner out. Any errors made during this time will be considered "in play" and runners can advance at their own peril. The defense making a play or attempting to make a play on another runner will remove the possibility of an appeal.
2. Because runners may not advance on a fly ball until it is touched, an appeal may be made in the same manner as above if a runner leaves his base too early or fails to return to it.
3. If a player bats out of order, the opposing team may bring it to the attention of an umpire. If the improper batter is still at bat, the proper batter assumes the count and finishes the at bat. If the improper batter reaches base, the proper batter is called out and all action on the play is negated. The batting order resumes after the proper batter thus declared out.
4. If a batter "checks" (stops) his swing at a pitch which is called a ball by the home plate umpire, the defense may appeal to either the first base umpire (for a right-handed batter) or the third base umpire (for a left-handed batter). If the umpire feels that the batter "offered at the pitch," the pitch is ruled a strike. This is called an appeal, but is not an appeal "play."
Appeals involve the defense literally making an appeal to an umpire. At no time before the appeal do umpires announce that, for example, a runner failed to touch a base.
Not to be confused with Around The Horn.
The infielders' practice of throwing the ball to each other after recording an out (provided that there are no runners on base). The purpose is as much traditional as anything else, but it serves to keep the infielders' throwing arms active. Typically, if an out is made at first base, the first baseman will throw to the second baseman, who throws to the shortstop, who throws to the third baseman, who returns the ball to the pitcher. Patterns vary from team to team, but the third baseman is usually the last infielder to receive a throw, regardless of the pattern.

Throwing the ball around the horn is also done when there are no baserunners after a strikeout. The catcher will throw the ball to the third baseman, who then throws it to the second baseman, who throws it to the shortstop. The shortstop then throws the ball to the first baseman, who returns the ball to the pitcher. Some catchers, notably Ivan Rodriguez, prefer to throw the ball to the first baseman, who then begins the process in reverse. Some catchers determine whom they will throw to based on the handedness of the batter (to first for a right-handed batter because the line to the first baseman is not "blocked" and vice versa) or whether the team is in an overshift, when the third baseman would be playing close to where the shortstop normally plays and would require a harder throw to be reached.

An additional application of this term is when a 5-4-3 or 6-4-3 double play has occurred, which mimics the pattern of throwing the ball around the horn.
Main article: Baseball glove
▪ A baseball glove or mitt is a large padded leather glove that players on the defensive team wear to assist them in catching and fielding balls hit by a batter or thrown by a teammate. Different positions require different shapes and sizes of gloves. The term "mitt" is officially reserved to describe the catcher's mitt and the first-baseman's mitt. By rule, fielders other than the first-baseman and the catcher can only wear conventional gloves (with individual finger slots), not mitts. There is no rule requiring fielders to wear a glove or mitt, but the nature of the game normally renders it a necessity. A fielder may have to catch a ball bare-handed, if he loses his glove in pursuit of a ball, or otherwise finds himself at the wrong angle to use it. A video clip from 1989, that was included in several "amazing plays" videos, showed Kevin Mitchell of the San Francisco Giants catching a ball over-the-shoulder and barehanded.
Most batters nowadays wear leather batting gloves to improve their grip on the bat and provide a small amount of padding. This practice began in the 1960s when some batters began wearing golf gloves. Hawk Harrelson pioneered this practice. Additionally, some base-stealing artists, especially those who practice the head-first / hands-first slide, will wear specialized sliding gloves. All-time base-stealing record holder Rickey Henderson often used sliding gloves.
Players will generally keep batting and sliding gloves in their pants pockets when not in use, and set their fielding gloves on a shelf or other convenient place in the dugout. At one time, it was common practice to leave the fielding glove on the playing field. After that practice was outlawed due to risks to other fielders and possible interference with a live ball, players would sometimes carry their gloves in their pants pockets. That fact illustrates (1) how much larger and baggier the uniforms were at the time and (2) how much smaller the gloves were. The old adage "two hands while you're learning" was a necessity in the early years, when the glove was mostly used simply to absorb the shock of the hit or thrown ball. The glove has since evolved into a much more effective "trap", so the rules have very specific limitations on the size and shape of gloves. One-hand catches are now commonplace, although the occasional fielding gaffe by one-handers brings the old adage to mind.
Jokes used in movies and cartoons notwithstanding, throwing the glove to try to "catch" or slow down a batted ball is forbidden by the rules. When the umpire calls it, the batter is awarded an automatic triple (meaning that all runners ahead of him are allowed to score freely) and it is also a live ball, so the batter-runner has the option of trying for home if possible. Similarly, it is against the rules to take off one's cap to use it as an alternate "glove", as "All the Way Mae" (Madonna) was shown doing in A League of Their Own.
▪ A player who is very skilled at playing defense is said to have a good glove.
When a batter, after seeing that a ball that he's hit is about become a home run, slows from a run to a celebretory trot. "Well, I've been saying it all year, and it finally happened tonight: David Ortiz became the first player in the 2010 season to take more than 30-seconds to trot around the bases after a home run. With four of the top five slowest home run trots of the year already - all four of which were clocked in at 28.95 seconds or slower - it seemed inevitable that he would be the first to break the half-minute barrier".117
Sometimes a player mistakenly slows down, however, when the wind or a superb play by an outfielder, turns a homerun into a double or single off the outfield wall, or to a long out, or to another odd outcome, as the following case illustrates:
"Unfortunately for his personal power totals, Milledge was bamboozled into believing his liner in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night had cleared the left-field fence at PNC Park for his first career grand slam. Dead certain he had gone deep, Milledge raised his fist rounding first base, put his head down and went into a trot. Cool. Double-dog certain because the fireworks guy at PNC set off the pyrotechnics that explode every time a Bucs player goes deep. Music also began to blare. What a glorious moment for the Bucs! . . . Only, the ball had not cleared the fence. It hit the top and stayed in the field of play.
As Bucs announcer Bob Walk said, "Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, uh oh — we got a problem here". Milledge was not quite midway between second and third base when he realized the Cubs had him in a rundown. And, yeah, um, he was tagged out. Score that a two-run double and a big ol' base-running blunder".118
Main article: Save (baseball)
In baseball statistics the term save (abbreviated SV, or sometimes, S) is used to indicate the successful maintenance of a lead by a relief pitcher, usually the closer, until the end of the game. A save is credited to a pitcher who fulfills the following three conditions:
1. The pitcher is the last pitcher in a game won by his team;
2. The pitcher is not the winning pitcher (For instance, if a starting pitcher throws a complete game win or, alternatively, if the pitcher gets a blown save and then his team scores a winning run while he is the pitcher of record, sometimes known as a "vulture win.");
3. The pitcher fulfills at least one of the following three conditions:
1. He comes into the game with a lead of no more than three runs.
2. He comes into the game with the potential tying run being either on base, at bat, or on deck.
3. He pitches effectively for at least three innings after entering the game with a lead and finishes the game.
If the pitcher surrenders the lead at any point, he cannot get a save, even if his team comes back to win. No more than one save may be credited in each game.
If a relief pitcher satisfies all of the criteria for a save, except he does not finish the game, he will often be credited with a hold.
The third rule can be contentious, as it is subject to the judgment of the official scorer.
The last criterion in that rule can lead to ludicrous results. On August 22, 2007, the Texas Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 30 to 3. The winning pitcher, Kason Gabbard, pitched 6 innings, and left the game with a 14-3 lead. The Rangers' relief pitcher, Wes Littleton, pitched three scoreless innings, while his team went on to score another 16 runs, including 6 runs in the 9th inning. In return for protecting his team's lead for the last three innings, Littleton was awarded a "save."228
Main article: Strike zone
An imaginary box used to call strikes (see image here). The Rules Book definition is that the strike zone "is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The strike zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball." When, in the plate umpire's judgment, the ball passes through the strike zone and the batter does not swing, one strike is called (a called strike as opposed to a swinging strike).
The formal definition of the upper limit of the strike zone is sometimes reduced to "the letters", i.e., the area of the uniform shirt where the team's name usually appears; or, as some plain-speaking types say, "the nipple line". (Taking the anatomical comparisons further, the ever-earthy Ted Williams used to describe certain good pitches to hit as being "at cock level").
Despite the formal rules, umpires differ in the strike zones that they recognize.268 Major League Baseball has experimented in recent years with the QuesTec system, which uses laser light technology to standardize the zone and to measure umpires' personal strike zones. But balls and strikes are still called by umpires, not machines. Whether a pitch is a ball or a strike is typically the focal point of arguments during a game. The rules prohibit managers from leaving the dugout to protest ball-and-strike calls, the penalty for which is ejection.
When a pitcher is giving inadvertent signals to the hitters concerning what kind of pitch he's about to throw, he's said to be "tipping his pitches" or "telegraphing his pitches." It may be something in his position on the rubber, his body lean, how he holds or moves his glove when going into the stretch, whether he moves his index finger outside his glove, or some aspect of his pitching motion. Akin to what is called a tell in poker: a habit, behavior, or physical reaction that gives other players more information about your hand. A case in point: "Turns out Maine, who was 0-2 with an 8.24 ERA in September, had been tipping his pitches all month, subtly curling his glove as he went into his windup for a curveball."285
Coaches and as well as players on the bench make a habit of watching everything an opposing pitcher is doing, looking for information that will allow them to forecast what kind of pitch is coming. When pitchers go through a bad spell, they may become paranoid that they're tipping their pitches to the opposing batters. A pitcher and coaches are likely to spend a lot of time studying film of the games to learn what the pitcher might be doing that tips his pitches.
Pitchers will try to hide their grip even while delivering the ball. Rick Sutcliffe used to wind up in such a way that his body concealed the ball from the batter almost until the moment of release. In contrast, relief ace Dennis Eckersley, playing a psychological game, would hold the ball up in such a way that he purposely showed off the type of grip he had on it, essentially "daring" the batter to hit it.
Main article: Umpire (baseball)
Each umpire is a member of an umpiring crew, responsible for refereeing or officiating a game. Major League Baseball employs 17 4-man crews.297 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.