Glossary of Baseball (R)
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Glossary of Baseball R


rabbit ears

Indicates a participant in the game who hears things perhaps too well for their own good. A player who becomes nervous or chokes when opposing players or fans yell at or razz them is said to have rabbit ears. Also, an umpire who picks up on every complaint hurled at them from the dugouts is described this way.

rag arm

A player, typically a pitcher, with a weak arm. "I hope the Cubs did not give up an actual Major League player for this rag-arm home-run machine."


To run into and knock over the catcher when running home from third base, or to run into a first-baseman when running from home to first. In either case, neither the catcher nor the first baseman may be able to duck out of the way because he must play the ball and stay in position in order to make an out.[1]

rain delay

Rain delay refers to situations when a game starts late due to rain or is temporarily suspended due to rain. A game that is suspended after it has begun may be resumed either the same day or at a later date. A game that never begins, or that is canceled after it begins, due to rain is a rainout and in most cases will be rescheduled for a later date - a make-up date. In the event of a non-tie game past the 5th inning with heavy inclement weather, the game may be called with the winner being the team that was ahead at the end of the last completed inning (except during the MLB postseason).


A curveball with a high arc in its path to the plate.


A rainout refers to a game that is canceled or stopped in progress due to rain. Generally, Major League Baseball teams will continue play in light to moderate rain but will suspend play if it is raining heavily or if there is standing water on the field. Games can also be delayed or canceled for other forms of inclement weather, or if the field is found to be unfit for play. If a game is rained out before play begins, a make-up game is rescheduled for a later date. If a game is called after play begins but before 4½ innings have been completed (if the home team is ahead) or five innings have been completed (if the visitors are ahead or the game is tied), the game is not an official game. The umpire declares "No Game", the game is played in its entirety at a later date, and statistics compiled during the game are not counted. Games that are stopped after they become official games count in the standings (unless the game is tied, in which case it is replayed from the beginning), and statistics compiled during the game are counted. In the MLB postseason, however, games that are called before 4+12 innings have been completed are treated as suspended games, and fans are usually given a rain check to attend another game.


To hit the ball really hard, and all over the park. When you're raking, you're hitting very well. "Mike Gosling allowed one run on five hits over 6+13 innings and Alex Terry raked Pawtucket pitching for 14 hits as the Bats defeated the Red Sox, 7-1, in an International League game Wednesday."[2]


To come back from a deficit. This typically occurs in the final innings of a game.

rally cap

A cap worn backwards, sideways, or inside-out by fans or players to bring a rally. Said to have originated by fans of the New York Mets during the 1985 baseball season, when the Mets captured several dramatic come-from-behind victories, and spread to the players themselves some time during the 1986 season. It rose to national awareness during the 1986 World Series. The Mets were down three games to two and losing the deciding game to the Red Sox, when in the seventh inning, television cameras showed some of the New York Mets players in the dugout wearing their caps inside-out. The team rallied to win the game and the series.


A fielder's ability to move from his position to field a ball in play.


  • An RBI or "run batted in" is a run scored as a result of a hit; a bases-filled walk or hit-by-pitch or awarding of first base due to interference; a sacrifice; or a single-out fielder's choice (not a double play).
  • Official credit to a batter for driving in a run.

RBI situation

Runners in scoring position.


Another term for catcher. Also backstop, signal caller.

regular season

  • The 162-game schedule that all Major League Baseball teams usually complete. However, if a special one-game playoff is required to determine which team goes to the league division championship series (the ALDS or the NLDS), this 163rd game is also counted as part of the regular season. All team and player statistics from this game are also counted as regular season statistics. For example, if a pitcher wins his 20th game in the 163rd game played in the one-game playoff, he would be a "20 game winner" for the season. Similarly, a batter's performance in that extra game might determine whether he wins the title for best batting average or most home runs in the season.
  • On occasion, teams do not complete every game of the regular season, as when playing a make-up game and the outcome of that game could not possibly help either team reach the playoffs.

regulation game

A standard baseball game lasts nine innings, although some leagues (such as high school baseball) use seven-inning games. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins. If the home team is ahead after eight-and-a-half innings have been played, it is declared the winner, and the last half-inning is not played. If the home team is trailing or tied in the last inning and they score to take the lead, the game ends as soon as the winning run touches home plate; however, if the last batter hits a home run to win the game, he and any runners on base are all permitted to score.
If both teams have scored the same number of runs at the end of a regular-length game, a tie is avoided by the addition of extra innings.[3] As many innings as necessary are played until one team has the lead at the end of an inning. Thus, the home team always has a chance to respond if the visiting team scores in the top half of the inning; this gives the home team a small tactical advantage. In theory, a baseball game could go on forever; in practice, however, they eventually end (although see Longest professional baseball game).

rehab assignment

When a Major League player recovering from injury or illness plays a short stint with one of the team's minor-league affiliates before coming off the disabled list. The particular affiliate may be chosen based on its proximity to the club's home town rather than the level of play. A rehab assignment does not carry the same stigma as being sent down to the minors for poor performance.


A defensive technique where the ball is thrown by an outfielder to an infielder who then throws to the final target. This is done because accurate throws are more difficult over long distances and the ball loses a considerable amount of speed the farther it must be thrown. Also cut-off. Also the second throw during a double play. As in "They were only able to get the lead runner because the relay was not in time."

relief pitcher

A relief pitcher or reliever is a pitcher brought in the game as a substitute for (i.e., "to relieve") another pitcher.


A relief pitcher or reliever is a baseball or softball pitcher who enters the game after the starting pitcher is removed due to injury, ineffectiveness, ejection from the game or fatigue.

replacement-level player

A player of common skills available for minimum cost to a major league baseball team. A team of replacement-level players would be expected to win a baseline minimum number of games, typically 40-50, per 162 game season.

replacement player

A player who is not a member of the Major League Baseball Players Association but plays during strikes or lockouts.

restricted list

A roster designation for players who are not available, ether because of a player's own action (such as declining to play or getting arrested)[4] or when "unusual circumstances exist."[5] Placing a player on the restricted list allows a team to remove the player from both their roster and their payroll indefinitely, while retaining their rights to the player.[5]

retire the batter

To get the batter out.

retire the runner

To throw the runner out at a base.

retire the side

See side retired.


An argument or fight in a baseball game. Hence, Rhubarb, a novel by H. Allen Smith. The term was popularized by famed baseball broadcaster Red Barber.

ribbie, ribeye

Slang for a run batted in (RBI).


  • A very strong arm. A cannon, a bazooka, a gun. Also used as a verb, "He rifled the ball home to catch the runner."
  • A batter can also be said to rifle a ball when he hits a hard line drive. "Griffey rifles the ball... foul, just outside first base."

right-handed bat

A baseball bat is symmetrical, thus there is no such thing as a right-handed or left-handed one. A player who bats right-handed may be referred to as a "right-handed bat" or "right-hand bat". Headline: "Can That Right Handed Bat Play Third Base?"[6]

right-handed hitter

Also "right-hand hitter". A batter who, paradoxically, bats from the left-side of home plate.

ring him up

A strikeout. The phrase is drawn by analogy from cashiers, and from the "cha-ching" motion of a plate umpire. "Outside corner, ring him up, strike three called!"


  • To hit a hard line drive, as in "He ripped a single through the right side."
  • A hard swing that misses the ball: "Reyes took a good rip at that pitch."


Acronym for Runners In Scoring Position. See Runner In Scoring Position.


Acronym for Runners Left in Scoring Position, typically seen in the box score of a game. This is the sum of the number of runners left occupying second and third bases (scoring position) when the batting side has been retired.

road game

A game played away from a baseball club's home stadium. When a team plays away from home, it's on a "road trip" and is the "visiting team" at the home stadium of another team.

road trip

A series of road games or away games occurs on a road trip, a term derived from the days when teams indeed traveled from one town to another by roadway or railroad.


  • When a fielder makes a spectacular play that denies a hit or a home run, the batter may be said to have "been robbed" by him. Headline: "A-Rod robbed of HR, Joba will join rotation".[7]
  • If an umpire has made a questionable call, the losing team or fans may complain they "were robbed". "Braves Robbed of a Win... was Beltran Out at 3rd in the 9th?"[8]

rocking chair

The position occupied by the third base umpire, likely because the third base umpire does not generally have to make as many calls as the other umpires. For example, "Jim Joyce is in the rocking chair at third base."[]


A slightly derogatory acronym for a right-handed relief specialist. "Righty One Out GuY".


Conventionally, rookie is a term for athletes in their first year of play in their sport. In Major League Baseball, special rules apply for eligibility for the Rookie of the Year award in each league. To be eligible, a player must have accumulated:

roll a pair

Reference to someone's saying the next play will be a double play. Also, "roll it".

room service

A ball hit directly to a fielder such that he hardly has to move to get it, or a pitch that is easy to hit.[9]

rooster tail

A ball rolling on wet grass, kicking up water behind it.[]


A hard line drive. Also see frozen rope. Sometimes used as a verb, "He roped one up the middle."


The official list of players who are eligible to play in a given game and to be included on the lineup card for that game. Major League Baseball limits the regular-season active roster to 25 players during most of the season, but additional players may be on the disabled list, and the roster can be expanded to as many as 40 active players after August 31st by bringing up players on the 40-man roster.


A starting pitcher in professional baseball usually rests three or four days after pitching a game before pitching another. Therefore, most professional baseball teams have four or five starting pitchers on their roster. These pitchers, and the sequence in which they pitch, are known as "the rotation" or "starting rotation". In modern baseball, a five-man rotation is most common.
Often a manager identifies pitchers by their order in the rotation, "number 1", "number 2", etc. "Discussions over whether Jason Schmidt or Brad Penny is more deserving to occupy the No.2 spot in the starting rotation behind Derek Lowe can cease, as least temporarily."[10]

roughed up

An offense has "roughed up" the opposing pitcher when it hits his pitches hard and scores several runs. Headline: "Hill Roughed Up in Loss to Pirates."[11]

roundhouse curveball

A curveball that instead of breaking sharply makes a more gradual loop. "One Boston writer in the late-'40s summed up Joe Dobson's roundhouse curveball this way: 'It started out somewhere around the dugout and would end up clipping the outside corner of the plate. There are curveballs, and there are curveballs.'"[12]


A home run. The analogy is to a commuter who buys a round-trip ticket from home plate to second base and back.


The rubber, formally the pitching plate, is a white rubber strip the front of which is exactly sixty feet six inches (18.4 m) from the rear point of home plate. A pitcher will push off the rubber with his foot in order to gain velocity toward home plate when pitching.

rubber arm

A pitcher is said to have a "rubber arm" if he can throw many pitches without tiring. Relief pitchers who have the ability to pitch consecutive days with the same effectiveness tend to be known as "rubber arms". Examples of these include Justin Verlander and Aroldis Chapman.

rubber game

A term used for the last game of a series or match when the two teams have evenly split the previous games. See also rubber bridge / best-of-three playoff. Another Name for a pitchers Duel.


  • A player who advances around all the bases to score is credited with a run; the team with the most runs wins the game.
  • A manager "runs his players" when he calls on them to steal bases and to be generally aggressive in trying to advance extra bases when the ball is in play.
  • A player or coach may be "run" by an umpire by being ejected from a game.

run on contact

See contact play.


A play in which a runner is stranded between two bases, and runs back and forth to try to avoid fielders with the ball. The fielders (usually basemen) toss the ball back and forth, to prevent the runner from getting to a base, and typically close in on him and tag him. Also called a hotbox or a pickle. Sometimes used as a baserunning strategy by a trailing runner, to distract the fielders and allow a leading runner to advance.

rung up

Being ejected from the game. Also, slang for having struck out looking.

runners at the corners

runners on 1st and 3rd, with 2nd base open.

runners in scoring position

Runners on 2nd or 3rd base are said to be in scoring position, i.e., a typical base hit should allow them to reach home. Batting average with runners in scoring position (RISP) is used as an approximation of clutch hitting. Game announcers are apt to put up and comment on the latter statistic during a broadcast to set the stage for an at bat.


Having the qualities of Babe Ruth, typically describing the flight of a long home run.


  1. ^ " - is for sale". Suunews. October 14, 2019. Retrieved 2019. {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  2. ^ Louisville 7, Pawtucket 1 -
  3. ^ As an exception, the Israel Baseball League plays 7-inning games, and if the teams are tied at the end of the 7th inning the tie is broken by use of a home run derby. See Nate Silver, "L'Chayim to the IBL", BaseballProspectus/Unfiltered July 2, 2007.
  4. ^ Jon Meoli (July 3, 2018). "Colby Rasmus tells Orioles he'd like to 'go home and discontinue playing,' is placed on restricted list". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ a b The Official Professional Baseball Rules Book (PDF). New York City: Office of the Commissioner of Baseball. 2019. pp. 93-96. Retrieved 2021 – via
  6. ^ Eric Seidman, "Can That Right Handed Bat Play Third Base?" BrotherGlove, July 18, 2011 Archived February 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Homepage". NBC Sports. August 23, 2015. Archived from the original on September 11, 2012. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 12, 2012. Retrieved 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Tyler Kepner, "Yanks Enjoy Room-Service Pitching", The New York Times, May 11, 2002.
  10. ^ Steve Henson, "Wolf Gets the No.2 Spot ahead of Schmidt, Penny", Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2007.
  11. ^ The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Major League Baseball News
  12. ^ "Baseball Historian - Part of the Sports Historian Network". Archived from the original on December 30, 2008.

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