Appendix:Glossary of baseball jargon (D)

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

Appendix: Glossary of Baseball
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daisy cutter[edit]
Old-fashioned term for a hard-hit ground ball, close enough to the grass to theoretically be able to lop the tops off any daisies that might be growing on the field.
dark one[edit]
A pitch that is difficult to see, much less hit. "Throw him the dark one," is an encouragement to the pitcher, typically given with two strikes, to throw a strike past the batter.
dead ball[edit]
The ball becomes "dead" (i.e., the game's action is stopped) in cases of fan or player interference, umpire interference with a catcher, and several other specific situations. When the ball is dead, no runners may advance beyond bases they are entitled to, and no runners may be put out. The ball becomes "live" again when the umpire signals that play is to resume.
Dead Ball Era[edit]
The period between 1903 and 1918, just prior to the Live Ball Era, when the composition of the baseball along with other rules tended to limit the offense, and the primary batting strategy was the inside game. In this case the ball literally was "dead", relatively speaking. Hitting a home run over the fence was a notable achievement.
dead red[edit]
If a batter is "sitting/looking dead red" on a pitch, this means he was looking for a pitch (typically a fastball), and received it, usually hitting a home run or base hit. Also see shoot the cripple.
Delivery of a pitch, commonly used by play-by-play announcers as the pitcher releases the ball, e.g., "Smith deals to Jones".
Pitching effectively, e.g., "Smith is really dealing tonight".
A player trade, or exchange (a common term to all American team sports).
defensive indifference[edit]
When the defense allows a baserunner to advance one or more bases. The runner then does not get credit for a stolen base because the base was "given" not "stolen." The defense may allow this in the ninth inning with two outs, where the focus is on inducing the batter make the final out.
  • To deliver is to pitch. Announcer: "Koufax delivers. . . . Strike three!!!"
  • Delivery refers to the basic arm angles of pitchers, e.g., overhand delivery, sidearm delivery. This is in contrast to cricket, in which the term "delivery" is akin to type of pitch in baseball.
designated hitter[edit]
In the American League, the designated hitter (DH) is a player who permanently hits in the place of a defensive player (usually the pitcher) and whose only role in the game is to hit. The National League does not usually use designated hitters. However, in interleague play, when American League and National League teams face off against one another, the DH rule is used by both teams when the game is played in an American League ballpark, and by neither team when the game is played in a National League ballpark.
A curveball, because the catcher's sign is usually made by extending the first two fingers. From playing cards, where the "2" card is conventionally called the "deuce".
deuces wild[edit]
When a large quantity of the number "2" appears on the scoreboard at the same time: 2 baserunners, 2 outs, 2 balls and 2 strikes on the batter. Derived from poker term "deuces are wild". Often used by Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully.
dial long distance[edit]
To hit a home run. Headline: "Sox Sluggers Dial Long Distance — Ramirez, Ortiz Each Crank Two-Run Homers."[1] The phrase is sometimes stated as "Dial 9 for long distance."
The layout of the four bases in the infield. It's actually a square 90 feet (27 m) on each side, but from the stands it resembles a parallelogram or "diamond".
dig it out[edit]
To field a ball on or near the ground. Usually a first baseman taking a low throw from another infielder.
A home run.
disabled list[edit]
Major league teams may remove injured players from their active roster temporarily by placing them on the "disabled list." Another player can then be called up as a replacement during this time.
  • Home plate. "The catcher settles in behind the dish."
  • A pitch, particularly a good one. "Here comes the dish" (the pitch), or "He's really dishing it tonight" (pitching well).
The disabled list. Sometimes used as a verb, as in "Woods was DL'ed yesterday."
doctoring the ball[edit]
Applying a foreign substance to the ball or otherwise altering it in order to put an unnatural spin on a pitch. Examples: By applying Vaseline or saliva (a spitball), or scuffing with sandpaper, emery board (an emery ball), or by rubbing vigorously to create a shiny area of the ball (a shineball). All of these became illegal beginning in the 1920 season, helping to end the Dead Ball Era. ((Official Rules of Baseball, Rule 8.02(a)). In practice, there are ambiguities about what kinds of things a pitcher can legally do.[2]
A number of famous cases of doctoring the bat have also occurred in the Major Leagues. See corked bat.
A hit where the batter makes it safely to second base before the ball can be returned to the infield. Also a two-base hit.
double play[edit]
  • A play by the defense where two offensive players are put out as a result of continuous action resulting in two outs. A typical example is the 6-4-3 double play.
  • The double play combination (or DP combo) on a team consists of the shortstop and the second baseman, because these players are the key players in a 6-4-3 or 4-6-3 double play. They are also sometimes called sackmates, a reference to the fact that they play either side of second base (also known as second sack).
double play depth[edit]
A defensive tactic that positions the middle infielders to be better prepared for a double play at the expense of positioning for a hit to the third-base side.
double switch[edit]
The double switch is a type of player substitution. The double switch allows a manager to make a pitching substitution and defensive (fielding) substitution while at the same time improving the offensive (batting) lineup of a team. The double switch is usually used to avoid a plate appearance (at bat) by a newly introduced pitcher. The double switch is primarily used by the National League and Japan's Central League, which do not use the designated hitter rule.
When two games are played by the same two teams on the same day. When the games are played late in the day, they are referred to as a "twilight-night" or "twinight" doubleheader. When one game is played in the afternoon and one in the evening (typically with separate admission fees), it is referred to as a "day-night" doubleheader. In minor league baseball, doubleheader games are often scheduled for 7 innings rather than the 9 innings that is standard for a regulation game.
According to the Dickson dictionary, the term is thought to derive from a railroading term for using two joined engines (a "double header") to pull an exceptionally long train.
doubles hitter[edit]
A gap hitter
Put out. "One down" means one out has been made in the inning (two more to go in the inning). "One up (and) one down" means the first batter in the inning was out. "Two down" means two outs have been made in the inning (one more to go). "Two up (and) two down": the first two batters of the inning were retired (made outs). "Three up, three down": side retired in order.
down the line[edit]
On the field near the foul lines, often used to describe the location of batted balls.
down the middle[edit]
Over the middle portion of home plate, used to describe the location of pitches. Also referred to as down the pipe, down Main Street, down Broadway, and, in Atlanta, down Peachtree. Very different from up the middle.
DP combo[edit]
A slang term for a shortstop and second baseman combination, as primary executors of double plays. They are also occasionally referred to as sackmates. Generally speaking, only the best sets of middle infielders get called DP combos.
Hit by a pitch, plunked.
  • A line drive (noun).
  • To hit a line drive (verb). "Magglio drove the ball to center."
  • To make hits that produce RBI's. "Tejada drove him home from second." "Ramirez drove in three."
drop ball[edit]
drop off the table[edit]
Used to describe a pitched ball, usually a curveball, that breaks extremely sharply.
dropped third strike[edit]
A dropped third strike occurs when the catcher fails to cleanly catch a pitch which is a third strike (either because the batter swings and misses it or because the umpire calls it). The pitch is considered not cleanly caught if the ball touches the dirt before being caught, or if the ball is dropped after being caught. On a dropped third strike, the strike is called (and a pitcher gets credited with a strike-out), but the umpire indicates verbally that the ball was not caught, and does not call the batter out. If first base is not occupied at the time, the batter can then attempt to reach first base prior to being tagged or thrown out. Given this rule, it is possible for a pitcher to record more than three strike-outs in an inning.
duck snort[edit]
A softly hit ball that goes over the infielders and lands in the outfield for a hit. Originally called a "duck fart" because it was assumed that a duck's feathers would make its farts as soft (or quiet) as the hit. Changed to a "snort" for use in polite company.
ducks on the pond[edit]
runners at second and third, but especially when the bases are loaded. "He doesn't hit when there are ducks on the pond."
A batter is said to be "due" when he's been in a hitting slump.
The dugout is where a team's bench is located. With the exception of relief pitchers in the bullpen, active players who are not on the field watch the play from the dugout. The term dugout refers to the area being slightly depressed below field level, as is common in professional baseball. There is typically a boundary, often painted yellow, defining the edges of the dugout, to help the umpire make certain calls, such as whether an overthrown ball is considered to be "in the bench" or not. The rule book still uses the term bench, as there is no requirement that it be "dug out" or necessarily below field level. The original benches typically were at field level, with or without a little roof for shade. As ballpark design progressed, box seats were built closer to the field, lowering the height of the grandstand railing, and compelling the dugout approach to bench construction.
duster, dust-off pitch[edit]
A pitch, often a brush-back, thrown so far inside that the batter drops to the ground ("hits the dust") to avoid it. Somewhat contradictorily, on the same play the pitcher may be said to have "dusted off" the batter.
dying quail[edit]
A batted ball that drops in front of the outfielders for a hit, often unexpectedly (like a shot bird). Also known as a blooper, a chinker, a bleeder.


  1. ^ Ian Browne, (July 14, 2004)[1]
  2. ^ Daniel Engber, "How To Throw the Goopball: The physics of baseball's most popular illegal pitches," Slate (October 23, 2006).[2]

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