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Glossary of Baseball D
Old-fashioned term for a hard-hit ground ball, close enough to the grass to theoretically lop the tops off any daisies that might be growing on the field.
The erratic movement of a well-thrown knuckleball. "Hopefully his knuckler doesn't dance, and hangs a little, or we're in trouble."
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.
When a normally effective or dominant pitcher seems unable to throw as hard as he usually does, he may be said to have a "dead arm". "If you have watched the radar gun when Carlos Zambrano has pitched this month, you know something's not right. The problem, the Cubs right-hander said Saturday, is that he's going through a 'dead arm' phase."
The ball becomes "dead" (i.e., the game's action is stopped) after a foul ball and 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.
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. Hitting a home run over the fence was a notable achievement.
dead pull hitter
A pull hitter is a batter who generally hits the ball to the same side as which he bats. That is, for a right-handed batter, who bats from the left side of the plate, will hit the ball to left field. Hitters are often referred to as dead pull if they rarely do anything other than pull the ball. A contemporary example of a dead pull hitter is Jason Giambi.
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.
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."
decided in the last at bat
A team's games "decided in the last at bat" are those with a winning team scoring the go-ahead or winning run in its last offensive inning. In this case, "at bat" is the team's time at the plate, constituting three outs (not to be confused with an individual at bat).
deep in the count
Whenever a third ball has been called, (3-0, 3-1, or 3-2 count), the situation favors the batter. "In his fourth start after missing two months following elbow surgery, Robertson (2-2) went deep in the count against many hitters but allowed just five hits and two earned runs in five innings."
defensive efficiency rating
A sabermetric concept: the rate at which balls put into play are converted into outs by a team's defense. An analogous concept is used in the analysis of other team sports, including basketball and football. It is figured this way in baseball: 1-(((H+ROE)-HR)/(PA-(SO+HBP+HR))) where H=Hits allowed, ROE=opposing team's reached base on error, HR=home runs allowed, PA=opposing team's number of plate appearances, SO=team's pitching strikeouts, and HBP=pitcher's hit-by-pitch.
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 a large lead, where the focus is on inducing the final batters to make outs.
To deliver is to pitch. Announcer: "Koufax delivers... Strike three!!!"
Delivery is 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 for assignment
A process that allows a player to be removed from his team's 40-man roster.
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 pitch, particularly a good one. "Here comes the dish (the pitch)", or "He's really dishing it (pitching well) tonight."
diving over the plate
When a batter tends to lean in toward the plate so he can more easily hit a ball that is on the outside of the strike zone, he is said to be "diving over the plate" or "diving for the pitch". To protect the strike zone, a pitcher may respond to this by pitching the ball inside, perhaps with a "purpose pitch". "Now Glavine has an equalizer with his cutter. He can bore it into the hands of righthanders to keep them from diving over the plate with impunity at his sinker and changeup."
The disabled list. Sometimes used as a verb, as in "Wood was DL'ed yesterday."
doctoring the ball
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.
A number of famous cases of doctoring the bat have also occurred in the Major Leagues. See corked bat.
A bench-clearing fight on the field.
A slang term for the pitcher hitting the batter with a pitched ball (knockdown pitch), either intentionally or accidentally. If a player "shows up" a pitcher (taking a long time to circle the bases or having an excessive celebration after a home run), if an important player on a team is struck by a pitch, or a player violates of one of baseballs unwritten rules, the offending player can expect to get "dotted" the next time he is at bat as a form of intimidation or correction of the perceived offense. Another of the "unwritten rules" is the "dotting" done by the pitcher should be below chest level on the batter to minimize risk of injury as a higher pitch risks injuries to the hands or even the head. Pitching higher is known as "head hunting" or "buzzing the tower", and puts the pitcher at risk of actual violence by the other team.
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.
When a fielder - usually an infielder or a catcher - draws his arm back twice before throwing he's said to "double clutch". This hesitation often leads to a delayed or late throw, allowing runners to advance a base. The term is borrowed from a method of shifting gears on an automotive vehicle.
A pitcher who is getting a lot of quick outs. Implies that he has parked his car illegally and is trying to get back to it and avoid a ticket, and this is why he is keen to get outs quickly.
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 because they play either side of second base (also known as second sack).
'Roll a bump' is a colloquial east coast slang for turning a 1-6-3 double play or a 1-4-3 double play.
Two runners attempt to simultaneously steal a base. Typically this is seen when runners who are on first and second make an attempt to steal second and third. Another common example is when a runner on first steals second, enticing the catcher to throw down to second so the runner on third can then steal home.
The double switch is a type of player substitution that allows a manager to make a pitching substitution and defensive (fielding) substitution while at the same time improving the team's offensive (batting) lineup. This is most effectively used when a pitcher needs to be replaced while his team is on defense, and his turn to bat is coming up in his team's next offensive try. Rather than replace the pitcher with another pitcher, a position player (one who recently batted in his team's last offensive try) is replaced with a new pitcher, and the outgoing pitcher is replaced by a player able to play the position of the outgoing position player. The two subs then trade to their natural defensive roles but keep the batting order positions of those they replaced so that when the team next comes up to bat, it is the newly subbed position player who hits during the turn of the vacated pitcher, and the new pitcher does not have to hit until the outgoing position player's turn comes again. The double switch is primarily used by the National League and Japan's Central League, which do not use designated hitters.
When a runner becomes the second out in a double play, he may be said to have been doubled up (or doubled off). This could be a batter who has hit into a double play or a runner who is caught off base when a fielder catches a ball and throws behind the runner to a fielder who touches the base to complete a double play (hence "doubling up" the runner).
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. A doubleheader can also be referred to as a Twinbill. In minor league and college baseball, doubleheader games are often scheduled for seven innings rather than the standard nine 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.
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.
Over the middle portion of home plate, often refers to the location of pitches. Also referred to as down the pipe, down the pike, down Main Street, down Broadway, and, in Atlanta, down Peachtree. Very different from up the middle.
down the stretch
When a team is approaching the end of the season in pursuit of the pennant or championship, it is heading down the stretch. Perhaps this derives from horse racing or automobile racing in which competitors come out of the final turn of the track and are heading down the home stretch toward the finish line. "Detroit provided more than enough offense for Fister, who was terrific down the stretch after the Tigers acquired him in a trade with Seattle shortly before the July 31 deadline."
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.
A bunt in which a left-handed hitter lays down a bunt out of the reach of the pitcher and toward the right side of the infield, in hopes that he will safely reach first base. Often such a bunt has an element of surprise to take advantage of the batter's speed and the fact that the first baseman and second baseman are playing their positions back. The batter may even take a stride toward first base as he bunts the ball, thereby appearing to drag the ball with him as he runs toward first base.
A batter who gets called balls is sometimes said to have "drawn a ball" or "drawn a walk". "After a brief pause to put specially marked baseballs in play, Bonds drew ball one and ball two - with boos raining down on VandenHurk - before a called first strike. Then, the 96 mph fastball was gone - a drive estimated at 420 feet."
When the outfield plays closer to the infield to prevent fly balls from dropping between them and the infielders, they are said to be "drawn in". This typically happens when the game is close in the final inning, and with less than two outs, and the defensive team wants to prevent the offense from getting base hits that might score the winning run (while conceding that a long fly ball might score a run even if the ball is caught in the outfield).
The infield may also be drawn in if there is a runner on third base with less than two outs, so that the infielders may field a ground ball and attempt to throw out the runner at the plate.
A single infielder, typically the third baseman or the first baseman may also play "in" when it's anticipated that a batter may attempt to make a sacrifice bunt.
A poorly hit grounder that gains little distance and consists of several hops; sometimes used synonymously with tapper
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 (or, with two outs, even with first base occupied), 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.
A softly hit ball that goes over the infielders and lands in the outfield for a hit. Originally called a "duck fart", the term was popularized by White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson to make it more family friendly.
ducks on the pond
Runners on second or third base, but especially when the bases are loaded. "His batting average is .350 when there are ducks on the pond."
A batter is said to be "due" when he's been in a hitting slump, but he usually hits for a fair or better average. Example: "Paul Konerko is 0-for-3 today, he's due for a hit." This is a baseball version of the Gambler's fallacy.
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. A dugout is 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.
A player who bunts the ball may be said to dump a bunt. "Polanco dumped a bunt down the third base line." See also lay down. A right handed hitter dumps a bunt to third and pushes the bunt to first. A left handed hitter drags the ball to first and pushes the bunt to third
duster, dust-off pitch
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.