Appendix:Glossary of baseball jargon (P)

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The following is a glossary of baseball jargon (phrases, idioms and slang):

Appendix: Glossary of Baseball
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to paint[edit]
To throw pitches at the edges of the strike zone. A pitcher who can "paint" consistently can be said to paint the black or paint the corner.
To hit a home run. "He parked a three-run homer." Often mistaken to have derived from hitting the ball 'into the parking lot,' it actually references hitting the ball 'out of the park.'
park effects[edit]
See hitter's park and Batting Park Factor.
passed ball[edit]
A catcher is charged with a passed ball (abbreviated PB) when he fails to hold or control a legally pitched ball which, in the opinion of the official scorer, should have been held or controlled with ordinary effort, and which permits a runner or runners to advance at least one base; and/or permits the batter to advance to first base, if it's a third strike (with first base unoccupied and/or 2 out). A run that scores because of a passed ball is not scored as an earned run. Neither a passed ball nor a wild pitch is charged as an error. It is a separately-kept statistic.
patient hitter[edit]
Doesn't do a lot of first-pitch swinging, swing at pitches out of the strike zone, or swing even at strikes that he can't hit because of their location. Generally gets a lot of walks.
payoff pitch[edit]
A pitch thrown with a full count. The implication is that much effort has gone into reaching this point (this is at least the sixth pitch of the at-bat), and the pitch will either pay off for the pitcher (a strikeout) or the batter (a hit or a walk). However, a foul ball can extend the at-bat. The term is most often used when a hit will score a run and a strikeout will end the inning.
PCL (Pacific Coast League)[edit]
A AAA minor league.
A pitched ball thrown at high speed. "Clem can really fling that pea."
A hard line drive batted back at the pitcher.
A system for forecasting pitcher and hitter performance developed by Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus. A player's "PECOTA" may be the forecasted range of his performance on a variety of indicators for the current or future seasons.
The bullpen.
Pepper is a common pre-game exercise in baseball, where one player bunts brisk ground balls and line drives to a group of fielders who are standing close by. The fielders try to make a play on the ball, and throw it back as quickly as possible. The batter then attempts to hit the return throw, and so on.
perfect game[edit]
A special, very rare no-hitter where each batter is retired consecutively, allowing no baserunners via walks, errors, or any other means. A "perfect game" could involve multiple pitchers with one pitcher relieving another, but in the major leagues they all have been completed by a single pitcher. Often called a "no-no-no."
A commonly used acronym for Pitchers' Fielding Practice. A session in which pitchers practice fielding bunts and other ground balls, throwing to a base, and covering first base and home plate.
pick up the pitch[edit]
A batter's ability to see what kind of pitch is being thrown. "The Tigers are having a hard time picking up Saenz's slider." When they don't pick up the pitch, batters are likely to swing and miss.
A rundown.
A quick throw from the pitcher (or sometimes the catcher) to a fielder covering a base when the ball has not been hit into play. Normally done to catch a runner off-base, it may also keep the runner's lead in check. The pitcher must either first step off the pitching rubber with his push-off foot, or clearly step towards the base he is throwing at with his lifted leg in order for the move to not be ruled a balk.
When a substitute batter is brought in, especially at a crucial point in the game.
(idiomatic) To act as a substitute or stand-in for someone, especially in an emergency. IOED gives the first possible non-baseball use in 1931, and the first definitive non-sport use in 1957.[1]
"In April 2005, after Mr. Jennings took leave of World News Tonight, as the program was then known, to be treated for lung cancer, Mr. Gibson was one of several anchors (including Ms. Sawyer and Elizabeth Vargas) who pinch-hit for him until his death in August 2005, and then continued to rotate in and out of Mr. Jennings’s empty chair for four months." --Bill Carter and Jacques Steinberg.[2]
pinch hitter[edit]
A substitute batter. A batter brought in during a critical situation (a "pinch") to replace a weak batter (usually the pitcher, in the National League).
(idiomatic) Someone who substitutes for another in a job or task.
pinch runner[edit]
A substitute baserunner. Often brought in during a critical situation (as with a pinch hitter), typically to replace a slower runner in hopes of stealing a base.
pine tar[edit]
A sticky substance used by batters to improve their grip on the bat.
A baseball delivered by the pitcher from the pitcher's mound to the batter as defined by the Official Rules of Baseball, Rule 2.00 (Pitch) and Rule 8.01.
pitch around[edit]
Not throwing a batter a hittable pitch, but also not walking him intentionally and hoping to get him to chase bad pitches.
pitch count[edit]
The total number of pitches a pitcher has thrown in a given game. 100 is considered the point at which a starter who has been pitching well may start to lose his effectiveness, often dramatically. 100 pitches will get an effective starting pitcher through the 7th or 8th inning, a moderately effective one through five or six, and an ineffective one may use his hundredth pitch during the fourth inning or even earlier.
The fielder responsible for pitching the ball. Defensive position 1. The term "pitch" (which literally means "to place") comes from the early days when an underhand delivery was required, as with "pitching" horseshoes. The original rules specified that the ball was to be "pitched, not thrown to the bat." Overhand throwing by the pitcher has been legal since 1884, but the term pitcher and its variants remain in the language of the game.
pitcher of record[edit]
The pitchers who receive the win (W) and the loss (L) are the "pitchers of record." A starting pitcher who is neither the winner nor the loser "earns" a "no decision". The pitchers of record are designated by the official scorer in accordance with the scoring rules. Also see win.
pitcher's best friend[edit]
A double play, which helps to bail a pitcher out of a threatening situation. Headline and story: "PITCHER'S BEST FRIEND. The Twins on Sunday turned five double plays in a game for the first time since 1995."
pitcher's park[edit]
A park in which pitchers tend to perform better than they perform on average in all other parks. This in the inverse of being a hitter's park. See hitter's park and park factor for further information.
For example, when the wind is blowing "in" at Wrigley Field, it is typically rendered a "pitcher's park", and low scores for one or both teams are not unusual. Under those circumstances, no-hitters also become possible at a park many fans normally think of as a "hitter's park".
A defensive tactic used to pick off a baserunner, typically employed when the defense thinks that a stolen base play is planned. The pitch is thrown outside and the catcher catches it while standing, and can quickly throw to a base. A pitchout is typically always a called "ball" (unless the batter vainly tries to hit it) and if a stolen base is indeed "on", the runner is almost certainly going to be thrown out. If no steal is on, it's just another called ball. Obviously, a pitchout is not done when the batter already has a count of 3 balls.
PL or P.L.[edit]
Abbreviation for Players' League, a one-year (1890) major league.
  • "The plate" usually connotes home plate, though a baseball field also has a pitcher's plate, more commonly referred to as the rubber. Home plate has five sides, unlike the other bases, which are square. Also unlike the other bases, home plate is hard, usually a slightly flexible hard plastic with beveled edges that rises only slightly above ground level. Home plate is the last base that a runner must touch safely in order to score a run. Thus, his route around the bases both starts and ends "at home."
  • To plate a run is to score a run. "The pitcher started getting behind in the count and as a result the opponents were able to plate a couple."
plate appearance[edit]
Any turn at bat is considered a plate appearance for computing stats such as on base percentage, and for determining whether a batter has enough of them (minimum 3.1 X number of scheduled games) to qualify for the batting average championship. Plate appearances consist of standard at-bats plus situations where there is no at-bat charged, such as a base on balls or a sacrifice. However, if the batter is standing in the batter's box and the third out is made elsewhere (for example, by a caught-stealing or by an appeal play), then it does not count as an appearance, because that same batter will lead off the next inning.
Platinum Sombrero[edit]
A batter who strikes out five times in one game is said to have gotten the Platinum Sombrero. Alternatively, he may be awarded Olympic Rings.
The practice of assigning two players to the same defensive position during a season, normally to complement a batter who hits well against left-handed pitchers with one who hits well against righties. Individual players may also find themselves marked as a platoon player, based on their hitting against righties vs. against lefties. Casey Stengel brought some attention to the system by using it frequently during his New York Yankees' run of five consecutive World Series champions during 1949-1953.
The term "platooning" sometimes refers to the in-game strategic replacement of batters in the line-up based on the handedness of a newly inserted relief pitcher, or conversely the strategic insertion of a relief pitcher to face a batter of the same hand. This is the logic behind having a LOOGY on the roster, for example. The LOOGY is to pitching what a pinch-hitter is to batting: put into the line-up for short-term strategic advantage.
Home plate.
play ball[edit]
(idiomatic) To get going, or to start. Before every baseball game, the umpire traditionally shouts "play ball" in order to start the game.[3] [4] AHDI dates this usage to the late 1800s.[5] An alternate meaning, "to cooperate", is not explicitly connected to baseball by ADHI, but is so derived by the Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms.[6]
"'Eight U.S. attorneys who did not play ball with the political agenda of this administration were dropped from the team,' said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois." --Laurie Kellman.[7]
play by the book[edit]
To follow the conventional wisdom in game strategy and player use. For example, when to bunt or when to bring in the closer.
player to be named later[edit]
When two baseball clubs make a trade, part of the publicly announced deal may involve an unspecified "player to be named later" who is not one of the headline players in the deal. In some cases, the PTBNL is simply a financial payment equal to the annual salary of a base-level major league baseball player ($300,000 as of 2007).
players' manager[edit]
A manager who is close to his players and who the players may consider a peer and a friend. The knock on players' managers is that they tend not to be tough disciplinarians and that out of concern for losing the sympathy of the players they find it difficult to make tough decisions that are in the best interests of the team. Thus, the term is not especially complimentary. Most managers (in business in general, as well as baseball) find they must maintain some aloofness in order to be effective. Casey Stengel used to say that the secret to managing was "to keep the guys who are neutral about you away from the guys that hate your guts."
playing in[edit]
When the infield is shallower than normal in order to attempt to throw out a runner on third-base on a ground ball. This does not allow the infielders to cover as much ground however, and can turn a routine ground ball into a base hit.
playing back[edit]
The usual position depth taken by infielders when they're not anticipating a bunt or setting up for a double play.
Hit by a pitch.
plus player[edit]
A player with above-average major league skills. A term from baseball scouting and player evaluation. See tools.
The term has two usages that are of opposite meanings in terms of batting success and failure.
  • "Rondini popped it foul out of play" implies that Rondini hit a pop-up or pop-foul that went into the stands where a defender couldn't reach it.
  • Brendan C. Boyd and Fred C. Harris, in their impish commentary in The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book, discussed a player who was known for hitting sky-high popups and said that "he could have played his career in a stovepipe".[8]
  • The term "high pop" is short for "high pop-up".
  • However, a batter with "pop" has exceptional bat speed and power.
  • "Reggie popped one" implies that Reggie hit a home run.
There is the unrelated meaning of "pop" as a beverage sold in mass quantities at the ballpark on hot summer days; also known as "soda pop", "soda", "sodie", etc.[9]
A left-handed pitcher, so named because "port" refers to the left side of a ship. Synonym: southpaw
  • One of the nine defensive positions on a baseball team, consisting of (in scorekeepers' numerical order): (1) pitcher, (2) catcher, (3) first baseman, (4) second baseman, (5) third baseman, (6) shortstop, (7) left fielder, (8) center fielder, (9) right fielder. Positions 3 through 6 are normally called infield positions. Positions 7, 8, and 9 are outfield positions. The pitcher and catcher are the battery. However, for purposes of implementing the Infield Fly Rule, the pitcher and catcher are counted as infielders, and such a broader definition of infielders is commonly used, if only to differentiate them from outfielders. Players in positions 2 through 9 — all positions except the pitcher — are position players.
  • A defensive player also positions himself differently — sets up in a different location on the field while playing his position — depending on who is pitching, who is at bat, whether there men on base, the number of outs, and the score of the game.
position player[edit]
A non-pitcher.
pound the strike zone[edit]
See attack the strike zone.
power hitter[edit]
A powerful batter who hits many home runs and extra base hits, but who may not have a high batting average, due to an "all or nothing" hitting approach. See also slugger and slugging percentage.
pow wow[edit]
A meeting on the mound between a coach and players to discuss strategy.
  • To pull a pitcher is to take him out of the line-up and substitute a relief pitcher in his place. This is the same meaning as to yank a pitcher or use the hook.
  • To pull a hitter is to substitute a pinch hitter for the next at-bat.
  • To pull the ball is to hit the ball toward the side of the field that is usually associated with the batter taking a full swing and hitting the ball hard. A right-handed hitter pulls the ball toward the left-side of the diamond; a left-handed hitter pulls the ball toward the right side of the diamond. Some players are known as pull hitters. Others are spray hitters or opposite field hitters especially in opportune situations such as when a right-handed hitter hits the ball to the right side behind a runner who is on first or second base, making it easier for that runner to advance even on a ground ball.
pull hitter[edit]
A batter who often hits the ball ("pulls") towards the "natural" side of the field (e.g., a right-handed hitter hitting to left field).
pull the string[edit]
To throw a pitch that breaks sharply and perphaps late. A pitcher has only "pulled the string" if the batter is fooled into swinging where the pitch was going, not where it ends up, therefore striking him out. The image is of a marionette jerking to one direction as a string is pulled hard.
punch a hit[edit]
To hit the ball to the opposite field. The term implies that instead of taking a full swing, the hitter took a short swing at the ball. "With speedster Willy Taveras pinch running at first, Berkman punched a hit to right."
Punch and Judy hitter[edit]
A hitter with very little power. The first use of the term is attributed to former L.A. Dodgers manager Walter Alston who, when asked about a home run by Giants' slugger Willie McCovey, said: "When he belts a home run, he does it with such authority it seems like an act of God. You can't cry about it. He's not a Punch and Judy belter."
A strikeout.
purpose pitch[edit]
A brushback.


  1. ^ OED
  2. ^ Bill Carter and Jacques Steinberg, "With Anchors Still Settling In, NBC Feels Pressure at the Top", The New York Times, 1 March 2007
  3. ^ Note, however, that in Major League Baseball, the umpire is only obligated to call "Play."
  4. ^ “Official Rules: 4.00 Starting and Ending a Game”, in (Please provide the title of the work)[1], Major League Baseball, accessed 2007-06-05
  5. ^
  6. ^ The Free Dictionary
  7. ^ Laurie Kellman, "Gonzales losing Republican backing", The Toronto Star, 15 March 2007
  8. ^ Brendan C. Boyd and Fred C. Harris, Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book (Boston: Little, Brown, 1973).
  9. ^ On the geography of the terms soda, pop, and coke, see "Pop vs. Soda Page."[2]

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