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Fan's Guide to Baseball, Page 4 of 4: Baseball Glossary

Baseball player 1- History & Object of the Game
2- The Essentials (Offense & Defense, Scoring, etc.)
3- Field Diagram & Positions
4- Glossary of Baseball Terms


At-bat: A player’s turn batting while his team is on offense.

Ball: Pitch that travels outside the strike zone that the hitter does not swing at.

Bunt: A soft hit produced by holding the bat in a stationary position over home plate.

Count: Term used to describe a batter’s balls and strikes during an at-bat. The number of balls is first, followed by the number of strikes. “Three and two” is three balls and two strikes.

Double-play: A play in which the defense records two outs.

Error: Charged to a defensive player for mistakes that should have resulted in an out.

Fair: A ball that, when hit, lands between the two foul lines and stays in bounds past first or third base. A home run is also a fair ball.

Fly ball: Ball hit with a high, arcing trajectory.

Fly out: If a ball is caught by one of the nine fielders before it bounces, the batter is out. Base runners must tag-up during a fly-out.

Force out: After a batter hits the ball, he must advance to 1st base. The defense can get him out by throwing the fielded ball to 1st base before the runner reaches the base. Additionally, other base runners must advance if they are forced by a base runner behind them.

Foul: Ball hit outside the two foul lines. A ball hit behind the batter is a “foul tip.” Results in a strike. When a batter hits a foul ball with two strikes, the count remains the same and at bat continues, because a foul cannot cause a strikeout.

Ground ball: Ball hit with a low trajectory.

Ground-rule double: A ball that bounces in fair territory and travels over the outfield fence. The batter is awarded 2nd base, and all other runners on base advance two bases.

Hit: A batted ball that allows a batter to safely reach base. A single (advances to 1st base), double (advances to 2nd base), triple (advances to 3rd base), and home run are all types of hits. A ball’s trajectory is usually a ground ball, line-drive, or fly ball.

Hit and run: Base runner advances to the next base during the pitch, knowing that the batter is swinging at the pitch.

Home run: Fair ball hit over the outfield fence between the two foul poles. Batter and any runners on base are awarded home plate and each scores a run.

Lead off: Base runners attempt to gain an advantage when the pitcher is pitching the ball by starting several yards in the direction of the next base.

Line drive: Ball hit with a trajectory almost parallel to the ground.

Out: The defense must create three “outs,” by strikeout, force-out, fly-out, or tag-out, before they can switch to offense.

Pick off: Pitcher throws the ball to a base to catch a base runner that has a big lead off.

Run: Scored when an offensive player safely tags home plate.

Sacrifice: A batter strategically hits the ball into an out situation to advance or score a runner. Usually a “sacrifice bunt” or “sacrifice fly.”

Safe: Called when a player reaches a base without getting tagged out or avoids a force out.

Stolen base: A play during which a runner advances a base while the pitcher is pitching.

Strike: A ball that a batter swings at and misses, hits foul, or fails to swing at that crosses the strike zone. A batter strikes out after three strikes.

Strike out: Occurs during an at-bat when a batter accumulates three strikes, at which the at-bat ends and the player is called out.

Strike zone: The area above home plate between a batter’s knees and his armpits.

Tag out: A base runner that is not on a base when he is tagged by a player with the ball is out.

Tag up: A player waits for a fly ball to be caught before advancing to the next base or else the defense can throw the ball to the base that the runner was on before he can return to it and record another out.

Triple play: A play during which the defense records three outs.

Walk: Four balls from a pitcher results in the batter receiving a “walk,” and the batter automatically advances to 1st base. Players on successive bases who are “forced” to advance may move to the next base. Also called “base on balls.”


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