A player who plays particularly hard (especially with a willingness to sacrifice his body for the play) and is prone to making the right play at the right time, often in big games. Also used to refer to an excellent piece of equipment, such as a glove or mitt.
The space between outfielders. Also alley. A ball hit in the gap is sometimes called a flapper or a gapper. "He's swinging the bat right now better than he has all year, and I'm hoping now some of them turns into gappers", Leyland said.
The gross ticket prices paid by all the customers who passed through the entrance gates for a game or a series. Also referred to simply as "the gate". "There's a big gate awaiting the champions. . . ."
When swinging a round bat at a round ball, the batter hopes to hit the ball solidly in the center. When he does, he's said to "get a good piece of the ball". "'When you hit in the middle of the order, those are the situations you want', said Cabrera, who leads the major leagues with 116 RBIs. 'He threw me a fastball, and I got a good piece of it'."
To break a scoreless, hitless, or winless streak (i.e., a schneid). According to the Dickson Baseball Dictionary, the term "schneid" comes to baseball via gin rummy, and in turn comes from German / Yiddish "schneider", one who cuts cloth, i.e., a tailor.
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, the rules forbid throwing the glove to "catch", slow down, or even touch a batted ball. 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. Note that it is only against the rules to actually touch the ball by a thrown glove or other equipment; there is no penalty if the ball is not touched.
A player who is very skilled at playing defense is said to have a good glove.
The run which puts a team which was behind or tied into the lead. Used particularly with runners on base (e.g., "The Phillies have Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino on base down 4–2; Victorino represents the tying run and Chase Utley is the go-ahead run at the plate.").
A starting pitcher who pitches past the 6th inning is said to "go deep into the game". "Against the White Sox on Thursday, Morrow's command wasn't there. He walked six batters in 52⁄3 innings, and despite coming one out shy of recording a quality start, he didn't prove yet he's able to pitch deep into games."
When the defending team allows no opponent on base in a half-inning, thereby retiring the side facing the minimum three batters, the batting team is said to have gone down in order, the defending team is said to have retired it in order.
When a team fails to mount a strong offense, such as going 1–2–3 in an inning, it may be said to have "gone quietly". "Outside of a walk to Mantle after Tresh's clout and a ninth-inning single by Pepitone, the Yankees went quietly the rest of the way."
A player who retires without a lot of fanfare or complaining may be said to "go quietly".
A ball hit over the wall, a home run. Announcer: "That ball is gone." That's a reduction of the timeless phrase, "Going . . . going . . . gone", and of the way famed Detroit Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell would say it: "That ball is loooong gone." It wasn't necessary to pronounce the words "home run". Long-time Cincinnati Reds TV announcer George Grande would exclaim as the ball went over the wall, "It's gonna be... gone!"
A hitter who has excellent awareness of the strike zone, and is able to lay off pitches that are barely out of the strike zone, is said to have a "good eye", "Ortiz and Ramirez are a constant threat, whether it's swinging the bats or taking pitches", Cleveland third baseman Casey Blake said. "They have a couple of the best swings in the game and a couple of the best eyes in the game. . . ."
An accolade given to a batter who does not swing at a pitch that is close to, but not in the strike zone. Most often, this accolade is given when the batter has two strikes and would be naturally tempted to swing at any pitch close to the strike zone.
A gopher ball (or gopher pitch) is a pitch that leads to a home run, one that the batter will "go for". Illustration from an on-line chat: "He was always that guy who'd go in and throw the gopher pitch in the first inning and he'd be two down." A game in which several home runs have been hit by both teams may also sometimes be described as "gopher ball".
When a pitcher throws a pitch down the middle of the plate ("the groove"). The result may be predictable. An example: "But in the third, with two out and a man at second and the Cards ahead 2–1, Verlander grooved a pitch that Pujols clobbered for a home run."
Under standard ground rules, there are conditions under which a batter is awarded second base automatically due to ground rules, such as it getting caught in the ivy at Wrigley Field. If a ball hit in fair territory bounces over a wall or fence without being touched by a fielder, it is likely to be declared an automatic double, often referred to as a ground rule double. If a ball hit into fair territory is touched by a fan, the batter will be awarded an extra base, typically leading to advancing that runner automatically to second base.
A type of curveball with a severe break. Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is said to throw a gyroball. It was designed by a couple of Japanese scientists to reduce arm fatigue in pitchers. The result was a way to throw the ball with an extreme break. Whether such a special pitch really exists remains the subject of great controversy among experts of various pedigrees.
^See Jeff Passan, "Searching for Baseball's Bigfoot", Yahoo Sports (March 13, 2006); Lucas Hanft, "In Search of the Magical Mystery Pitch", Boston Globe (August 27, 2006); and David Scheinin, "Thrown for a Loop:
Matsuzaka's Mystery Pitch, the Gyroball, Is an Enigma Wrapped in Horsehide", Washington Post (December 23, 2006).