Baseball Idioms

Baseball is the most popular sport in the United States. Some call it the national sport. "Major League" baseball teams have the best professional players and more "fans" or people who watch the games. A baseball team has nine people: the pitcher, the catcher, first, second and third basemen, the shortstop, the left, middle and right fielders. Baseball is played on four bases, first, second, third and home, on a diamond shaped field. The pitcher, the catcher, the basemen and the shortstop play in the infield. The fielders play in the "outfield" or the area around the infield. The pitcher throws (pitches) a ball to a "batter" on the opposing team, who tries to hit this ball with a "bat" and run around the bases.

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He gets a "hit"unless 1) the ball is caught before it hits the ground; 2) he is "tagged" with the ball when he is not on a base or 3) the ball is thrown and caught at first base, and in some circumstances at other bases, before he gets there. The batter is allowed three "strikes" and then he "strikes' out. A strike is any ball which crosses the plate between the top of the batter's shoulders and his knees and is not hit by the batter. A "ball" is any pitched ball which is outside this strike zone and is not swung at by the batter. The batter is allowed to "walk" to first base if the pitcher throws four or more "balls". Players make an "error" if they make a mistake on a "play" that should have resulted in an out.

Each team bats until it makes thee outs. An "inning" has been played when both teams have made three outs. A game is nine innings unless the score is "tied" at the end of nine innings. Then the game is played extra innings until one team has more "runs" at the end of the extra innings. A run is scored when a player runs around all the bases and touches the last or "home" plate or base. The team with the most "runs" win

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IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
a change in circumstances in the ball game, ie the game is tied after one team was ahead.
Sentence 1
The Dodgers scored four runs and it was a new ball game
Meaning 2
a new set of circumstances
Sentence 2
Now that we have the financing, it's a new ball game.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
the runner or player has taken a position away from the base he has touched previously in the game
Sentence 1
The runner was thrown out, because he was off base.
Meaning 2
a person or project is not where it should be
Sentence 2
She is off base when she talks about religion during working hours.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to be safe from being tagged out by having a foot on base
Sentence 1
The bases are loaded; three runners are on base.
Meaning 2
One is doing the job correctly and according to what is expected.
Sentence 2
He's doing a good job with that case. He's on base in his approach to the jury.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
To follow the previous batter, to be next.
Sentence 1
Mike Trout is on deck as the next batter for the Los Angeles Angels.
Meaning 2
To succeed your predecessor (the person before you).
Sentence 2
Samantha is on deck to follow George in the negotiations.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to be out in the left field of the baseball park
Sentence 1
Hank Aaron was a outfielder. He played out in left field.
Meaning 2
to be away from the action, from what's happening
Sentence 2
He's out in left field. He won't be used on this mediation team.

Derivation

"Out in left field" does not have a negative connotation in the literal sense. Some of the U.S.' best ball players have been leftfielders. However, in the derrivative form it does.

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to substitute for someone
Sentence 1
We need a run. John, will you pinch hit for the pitcher?
Meaning 2
to substitute for someone
Sentence 2
Mary, will you please pinchhit for John on this account, while he is on vacation?

Derivation

A batter who is not in the lineup for a particular date can pinch hit for another batter.

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
a substitute for another batter in the team lineup
Sentence 1
The substitute is used depending on the situation, tactical or other reasons.
Meaning 2
a substitute
Sentence 2
"I need a pinch-hitter for the meeting tomorrow as I have been called for jury duty."
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
a throw or toss
Sentence 1
The pitcher made a fast pitch to the batter.
Meaning 2
a presentation, support
Sentence 2
He made a pitch for the Republican party at last nights' dinner.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to pitch a curve ball to the batter in baseball
Sentence 1
A curve ball moves away from the batter and is difficult to hit.
Meaning 2
to surprise someone unpleasantly
Sentence 2
I am sorry I couldn't answer the question. He threw a curve when he asked me about last years figures.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to throw or toss
Sentence 1
She pitched a fast one to the batter and he struck out.
Meaning 2
to make a presentation
Sentence 2
Pitch the project to the graphic artist to finish.

Derivation

Cricket was a popular sport before baseball developed in the nineteenth century. A thrown ball in cricket is a "pitch" and the cricket playing field is known as the "pitch". It may be that the word "pitch" came into baseball terminology from cricket.