Glossary of baseball (T)
- A pitch that has a little extra on it to make it fast.
- a player placed high in the batting order for his tendency to hit for average and steal bases is said to "set the table" for the power hitters behind him in the lineup.
- an unexpected event early in a ball game, such as a defensive error or a hit batsmen, can be called a "tablesetter" for the outcome of the game.
- To hit the ball hard, typically for an extra-base hit.
- A tag out. A runner is out if he is touched (while in jeopardy) by a fielder's hand (or glove) holding a live ball.
- When a batter hits a ball that is caught before touching the ground (he is out) every runner must retreat back to the base he just left. Once he has touched that base (tagged up), he may legally advance again. If he fails to tag up he can be called out on appeal.
- A catcher's butt. In the phrase "he didn't keep his tailgate down" an announcer means a pitched ball was very low or even hit the dirt and went between the catcher's legs.
take a pitch aka red lightEdit
- When a batter decides not to swing at a pitch, he "takes the pitch". He may do this following the instruction of a coach who has given him a take sign.
- The signal from a coach for the batter to not swing at the next pitch—to "take" it. Sometimes when a new pitcher or a reliever comes in, batters are given a general instruction to take the first pitch. Most often, they are told to take a pitch when the count is 3–0.
take something off the pitchEdit
- To throw an off-speed pitch or to throw a given pitch slower than the pitcher usually throws it.
take the bat out of his handsEdit
- To issue an intentional walk. By doing so, a pitcher reduces the potential damage from allowing the batter to swing at and hit a pitch. "Buck Showalter took the bat out of Barry Bonds' hands with an unheard-of strategy – a bases-loaded intentional walk. Amazingly, the Arizona Diamondbacks manager got away with it."
take the crownEdit
- To win the championship, i.e. remove the current champions from the throne.
take the fieldEdit
- When the defensive players arrive at their positions at the beginning of a half-inning, they have "taken the field". (The pitcher "takes the hill".)
- A slide performed for the purpose of hampering the play of the defense. A runner from first to second base will often try to "take out" the fielder at the base to disrupt his throw to first base and "break up the double play". Although the runner is supposed to stay within the base-paths, as long as he touches second base he has a lot of leeway to use his body. Runners in this situation usually need to slide in order to avoid being hit by the throw from second to first; but whether they do a "take-out slide" or come into the base with their spikes high in the air depends as much on their personal disposition as it does the situation. The title of a biography of Ty Cobb — "The Tiger Wore Spikes" — says something about how he ran the basepaths.
- To hit a slow or easy ground ball, typically to the pitcher: "Martinez tapped it back to the mound." A ball hit in this way is a tapper.
tape measure home runEdit
- An especially long home run. The term originated from a 1953 game in which Mickey Mantle hit a ball out of Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. The distance the ball flew was measured and the next day a picture of Mantle with a tape measure was published in the newspaper. A play-by-play announcer may also call a long home run a tape measure job. Although fans have always been interested in how far home runs may travel and in comparing the great home runs of the great and not-so-great home run hitters, the science of measuring home runs remains inexact.
- A home run. The term started to appear in the 1970s, specifically as "long tater". (The ball itself has been known as a "potato" or "tater" for generations.)
- To hit the ball very hard, figuratively to put a tattoo from the bat's trademark on the ball.
- A deep fly ball which has a chance to become a base hit or home run. Said of Brett Lawrie's inside-the-park home run on 25 June 2016 when the ball was still in the air with its fate not yet certain.
- Conference on the mound, involving more players than just the pitcher and catcher, and sometimes coaches and managers. Also a pow wow.
- Easily hittable pitches are likened to stationary baseballs sitting on batting tees (or possibly golf tees, since this term is also part of the lexicon of golf), and therefore batters hitting such pitches are said to be 'teeing off'.
- See tipping.
- A pitcher's "out pitch" (usually his best pitch); the one upon which he relies. Made famous by the movie Major League II.
- A Texas Leaguer (or Texas League single) is a weakly hit fly ball that drops in for a single between an infielder and an outfielder. This is now more commonly referred to as a flare, blooper, or "bloop single". It is most colorfully called a 'gork shot' or a 'duck snort.' See blooper.
- Outfielder Ollie Pickering is credited with giving baseball the term “Texas Leaguer,” a pejorative slang for a weak pop fly that lands unimpressively between an infielder and an outfielder for a base hit. According to the April 21, 1906, edition of The Sporting Life, John McCloskey, founder of the Texas League and then-manager of the Houston Mudcats – who would later go onto manage the St. Louis Cardinals – signed 22-year-old Pickering to play center field on the morning of May 21, 1892. That afternoon, Pickering turned in one of the most remarkable performances in the history of the Texas League, stringing together seven consecutive singles in one game, each a soft, looping fly ball that fell in no-man's land between either the first baseman and right fielder or the third baseman and left fielder. News of Pickering’s feat spread quickly throughout the nation and the term "Texas Leaguer" became ingrained in the baseball lexicon. Pickering’s seven consecutive singles in a game still stands as a Texas League record. Pickering would go onto play and manage for 30 years, with major league stops as an outfielder for the Louisville Colonels, Philadelphia A's, Cleveland Blues (now Indians), St. Louis Browns and Washington Senators.
third of an inningEdit
- A concept in statistics to account for when a pitcher retires only one or two of the [at least] three batters in a full inning, e.g. 3.1 and 5.2 (for convenience in print; those represent 3 1⁄3 and 5 2⁄3 respectively).
three-bagger or three-base hitEdit
- A triple.
three true outcomesEdit
- The three ways a plate appearance can end without fielders coming into play: walks, home runs, and strikeouts. Baseball Prospectus coined the term in homage to Rob Deer, who excelled at producing all three outcomes. The statistical result of the three true outcomes on a player's slash line is a low batting average, as well as an unusually high on-base percentage relative to the batting average. Traditionally, players with a high percentage of their plate appearances ending in one of the three true outcomes are underrated, as general managers often overestimate the harm in striking out, and underestimate the value of a walk.
three up, three downEdit
- To face just three batters in an inning. Having a "three up, three down inning" is the goal of any pitcher. Unlike in a 1-2-3 inning, batters are permitted to reach base so long as only three batters are faced by the pitcher. For instance, a single, then a strikeout, then a double play is a three up three down inning, but not a 1-2-3 inning. See also: side retired, 1-2-3 inning.
through the wicketsEdit
- When a batted ball passes through the legs of a player on the field (most commonly an infielder) it's often said, "That one went right through the wickets." The term refers to the metal arches (called wickets) used in the game of croquet through which balls are hit. Letting the ball through his legs makes a baseball player look (and feel) inept, and the official scorekeeper typically records the play as an error.
throw a clotheslineEdit
- When a fielder throws the ball so hard it appears to hardly arc at all, he has "thrown a clothesline". Akin to a line drive's being described as a rope or frozen rope.
throw him the chairEdit
- Striking out a batter, causing him to sit down in the dugout.
- A pitcher who throws the ball hard in the direction of home plate but without much accuracy or command. Distinguished from a "pitcher", who may or may not throw the ball as hard but who has command and is likely to be more successful in getting batters out.
throwing seeds/throwing the pill/throwing BBsEdit
- When a pitcher's fastball is so good it seems as though the baseball is the size of a seed (or pill or BB), and just about as hittable.
tie him upEdit
- Getting a pitch in on the hitter's hands, making it impossible for him to swing.
- A game. A face-off between competitors, as in a joust. Headline: "Myers, Phillies beat Mets in key NL East tilt".
- A run can be scored on the same play as the third out, but only if the third out is not a force out, and is not made by the batter before reaching first base. In order for the run to count, the runner must reach home plate before the third out is made elsewhere on the field, so the play is known as a "time play".
- A poor fielding (defensive) player is often said to have a "tin glove", as if his baseball mitt was made of inflexible metal. This is a sarcastic reference to the gold glove awarded for defensive excellence.
- When a pitcher inadvertently signals what type pitch is next, he is said to be "tipping" or "telegraphing" them. 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.
- Coaches 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.
toe the slabEdit
- To take the mound; to pitch. Sometimes expressed as "toe the rubber". Literally, to put the toe of his shoe on the rubber.
took the ball out of the catcher's gloveEdit
- When a batter swings a bit late, perhaps hitting the ball to the opposite field, a broadcaster may say he "took the ball out of the catcher's glove" (just before the catcher was able to catch it).
took the collarEdit
- Went hitless. See collar.
- To hit a high pitch, perhaps one that's out of the strike zone, so that the batter may appear to be swinging downwards as if his bat is a tomahawk. "Things started well for the Blue Jays in their first at-bat when Stairs tomahawked a Matsuzaka pitch on one bounce into the stands behind Fenway Park's famed Pesky's Pole for a ground-rule double."
- Kirby Puckett when asked by broadcaster Jim Kaat about his walk-off home run which won Game Six of the 1991 World Series, "I just tomahawked that ball, Kitty!"
Tommy John surgeryEdit
- A type of elbow surgery. Pitcher Tommy John was the first professional athlete to successfully undergo it.
- See 5-tool player.
tools of ignoranceEdit
- A catcher's gear.
- A player with lots of tools who hasn't matured yet.
- A tongue-in-cheek term for when a baserunner commits a blunder that leads to him being tagged or forced out. It stands for "Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop". It was created as part of an effort to determine what impact on-base outs had on a batter's on-base percentage.
top of the inningEdit
- The first half of an inning during which the visiting team bats; derived from its position in the line score.
top of the order batterEdit
- A batter who has speed and a propensity to get on base, and who thus may be suited to be the lead-off or second hitter in the line-up. "I think Brett Jackson looks a lot more like a top of the order guy right now than a middle of the order guy, and he seems like a viable leadoff hitter based on his performance as a professional."
- When a pitcher has reached a point where he's at risk of being pulled and replaced by another pitcher, the manager may be standing at the "top step" of the dugout, ready to go immediately to the mound after the next pitch.
tore the cover off the ballEdit
- Hit the ball so hard that the batter figuratively tore the cover off the ball. Also used in Ernest Thayer's famous "Casey at the Bat":
"But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball ..."
- When a player or manager is ordered by an umpire to leave a game, that player or manager is said to have been "tossed". Usually, this is the result of arguing with an umpire. Similar to being "red carded" in soccer. See ejected.
- The sum of the number of bases advanced by a batter/runner on his own safe hits over a specified period of time, where a single = 1, a double = 2, a triple = 3, and a home run = 4. The quotient of total bases divided by at-bats is slugging average, a measure of hitting power. (It can be argued that total bases would include walks and steals.)
touch all the basesEdit
- To "touch all the bases" or "touch 'em all" is to hit a home run. (If a player fails to literally "touch 'em all" – if he misses a base during his home run trot – he can be called out on appeal).
- A pitcher who gives up several hits may be said to have been "touched up".
- A seven-run difference, derived from six points for a touchdown plus the extra point in American football. For example, a team ahead 10-3 is said to be "up by a touchdown".
- Throws right; used in describing a player's statistics, e.g. John Doe (TR, BR, 6', 172 lbs.)
- To field a ball, typically a ground ball that a fielder has to travel some distance to stop or a fly ball that an outfielder has to run far to catch. "Mike Cameron, Milwaukee Brewers, can track down flies with the best centerfielders in baseball today."
- When a fielder attempts to catch a batted baseball in the air but the ball hits the ground just before it enters the fielder's glove, the fielder is said to have "trapped the ball". Sometimes it is difficult for the umpire to tell whether the ball was caught for an out or instead trapped. "Any outfielder worth his salt always makes the catch of the sinking line drive by rolling over and raising his glove triumphantly. It does not matter if he trapped the ball. It does not matter that the replay shows he trapped the ball. What is important is the success of the deception at that moment so that the umpire calls the batter out."
- A three-base hit.
- A batter who (at season's end) leads the league in three major categories: home runs, runs batted in, and batting average.
- A pitcher who (at season's end) leads the league in three major categories: earned run average, wins, and strikeouts.
- When three outs are made on one play. This is rare. While a typical game may have several double plays, a typical season has only a few triple plays. This is primarily because the circumstances are rather specific — that there be at least two runners, and no outs, and that typically one of these circumstances occurs: (1) the batter hits a sharp grounder to the third baseman, who touches the base, throws to second base to get the second out, and the second baseman or shortstop relays the ball to first quickly enough to get the batter-runner for the third out (also called a 5-4-3 or 5-6-3 triple play, respectively); OR (2) the runners are off on the pitch, in a hit-and-run play, but an infielder catches the ball on a line-drive out, and relays to the appropriate bases in time to get two other runners before they can retreat to their bases. The latter situation can also yield an extremely rare unassisted triple play, of which 14 have occurred in the entire history of major league baseball. A second baseman or shortstop will catch the ball, his momentum will carry him to second base to make the second out, and he will run and touch the runner from first before the runner can fully regain his momentum and turn around back to first.
- To execute a double play.
- A doubleheader.
- An old fashioned term for a pitcher. In the early years, pitchers would often twirl their arms in a circle one or more times before delivering the ball, literally using a "windup", in the belief it would reduce stress on their arms. The terms "twirler" and "twirling" faded along with that motion. The modern term "hurler" is effectively the substitute term.
two away or two downEdit
- When there are two outs in the inning.
two-bagger or two-base hitEdit
- A double.
- A fastball held in such a way that it breaks slightly downward, and most often away from the pitcher's arm, as it crosses the plate. A sinker. A two-seamer. Due to the grip, generally with or along the two straight seams, as opposed to a four seamer, which is gripped across the horseshoe, the batter sees only one pair of seams spinning instead of two.
- Many college athletes play two sports, but it is rare for someone to play two major league professional sports well or simultaneously. Sometimes players have brief major league trial periods in two professional sports but quickly drop one of them. Some "two-sport" players who played multiple major league baseball seasons have been Jim Thorpe, Brian Jordan, Gene Conley, Bo Jackson, Danny Ainge, Ron Reed, Deion Sanders and Mark Hendrickson. Although Michael Jordan tried to become a major league baseball player after his first retirement from the National Basketball Association, he didn't make the big leagues and did not try to play both baseball and basketball at the same time.
- A term borrowed from American football to describe either a player who can pitch and hit well, or a player who can pitch and play another defensive position well. The most famous Major League ballplayer who was truly a two-way player was Babe Ruth. He started his career as an outstanding pitcher and later played in the outfield—and was one of the greatest home run hitters of all-time.
- The term is sometimes used to describe a player who is good at both offense and defense: "Manager Jim Leyland said during the season that he believes Inge has the potential to become one of the league's best two-way players."
- "Walk on the wild side pays off for Showalter", Chicago Sun Times, May 30, 1998.
- John Dennis McCallum, The Tiger Wore Spikes: An Informal Biography of Ty Cobb, Barnes: 1956. (ASIN B0006AUHWK).
- "William J. Jenkinson. 1996. "Long Distance Home Runs."". Baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- "HitTracker—How Far It ''Really'' Went". Hittrackeronline.com. June 3, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- "Texas Leaguers". Sporting Life. April 21, 1906. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
- "Texas League Individual Records". Texasleague.com. May 21, 1892. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
- "Harvey, Mets beat Phillies in key NL East tilt", USA Today, September 6, 2008.
- "Rule review: 'Time plays' can be confusing", USA Today, May 28, 2010.
- Post, National (September 3, 2007). "Jays dig deep hole, can't get out of it". Canada.com. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- Scott Allen (July 31, 2014). "Bryce Harper leads the Nationals in TOOTBLANs this season". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
- Jun 29, foxsports; ET, 2015 at 9:03p (2015-06-29). "Appreciating TOOTBLAN & other new baseball lingo". FOX Sports. Retrieved 2019-12-18.
- "Casey at the Bat by Ernest Thayer on Baseball Almanac". Baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- "The Baseball Rap". Tcoletribalrugs.com. November 17, 2005. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- "Instant Replay: The End of Major League Baseball as We Know It", in Paul Soglin: Waxing America.com, June 14, 2008. [Retrieved July 19, 2010].