Glossary of Baseball (S)
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Glossary of Baseball S



Sabermetrics is the analysis of baseball through objective evidence, especially baseball statistics. The term is derived from the SABR - the Society for American Baseball Research. The term was coined by Bill James, an enthusiastic proponent and its most notable figure.


  • Synonymous with bag -- 1st, 2nd, or 3rd base.
  • A player who plays a particular base might be called a sacker. Most often this is the second sacker (second baseman). Together the second sacker and the short-stop may be referred to as sackmates because they often coordinate or share the coverage or play at second base. See double play.

sacrifice bunt

A sacrifice bunt (also called a sacrifice hit or simply a "sacrifice") is the act of deliberately bunting the ball in a manner that allows a runner on base to advance to another base, while the batter is himself put out. If the sacrifice is successful, the batter is not charged with an at bat (AB). But he is credited with an SAC or S or SH.

sacrifice fly

When a batter hits a fly ball to the outfield which is caught for an out, but a runner scores from 3rd base after tagging up or touching the bag following the catch. The batter is credited with an RBI and is not charged with an at bat. Also referred to as "sac fly", abbreviated as SF.


A base hit or "base knock". Getting "safely on (first) base" after hitting the ball without the interposition of a fielding error.

safety squeeze

A squeeze play in which the runner on third waits for the batter to lay down a successful bunt before breaking for home. Contrast this with the suicide squeeze.


An easily handled pitch.


A grand slam.

Sally League

The South Atlantic League ("SAL"), a Class A minor baseball league with teams located mainly in the southeastern United States.

sandwich round

A round of drafts that occurs between the first and second rounds, and again between the second and the third, comprising solely compensatory drafts granted to teams that failed to sign their first or second round draft picks of the year before.


In baseball statistics, save (abbreviated SV, or sometimes, S) is the successful maintenance of a lead by a relief pitcher, usually the closer, until the end of the game. A save is credited to a pitcher who fulfills the following three conditions:
  1. The pitcher is the last pitcher in a game won by his team;
  2. The pitcher is not the winning pitcher (For instance, if a starting pitcher throws a complete game win or, alternatively, if the pitcher gets a blown save and then his team scores a winning run while he is the pitcher of record, sometimes known as a "vulture win".);
  3. The pitcher fulfills at least one of the following three conditions:
    1. He comes into the game with a lead of no more than three runs.
    2. He comes into the game with the potential tying run being either on base, at bat, or on deck.
    3. He pitches effectively for at least three innings after entering the game with a lead and finishes the game.
  • If the pitcher surrenders the lead at any point, he cannot get a save, even if his team comes back to win. No more than one save may be credited in each game.
  • If a relief pitcher satisfies all the criteria for a save, except he does not finish the game, he will often be credited with a hold.
  • The third rule can be contentious, as it is subject to the judgment of the official scorer.
  • The last criterion in that rule can lead to ludicrous results. On August 22, 2007, the Texas Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 30 to 3. The winning pitcher, Kason Gabbard, pitched six innings, and left the game with a 14-3 lead. The Rangers' relief pitcher, Wes Littleton, pitched three scoreless innings, while his team went on to score another 16 runs, including six runs in the 9th inning. In return for protecting his team's lead for the last three innings, Littleton was awarded a "save".[1]
  • Generally, a save situation is when a pitcher enters the game in the seventh inning or later with a lead of three runs or fewer, or with the potential tying run in the on-deck circle. Most of the time, the saving pitcher pitches one or more innings. Also called a save opportunity.

saw off

When a pitcher gets a batter to hit the ball on the handle, and the batter hits the ball weakly or even breaks his bat, the pitcher may be said to have sawed off the bat. "If the bat handles are getting "sawed off" in players' hands or shattering into splinters, it's because players are ordering bats too thin to withstand the impact of a 90 mile-per-hour fast ball."[2]

scoring position

A runner on 2nd or 3rd base is in scoring position, as he is presumed to have a good chance to score on a base hit to the outfield.

scratch hit

A weakly hit ground ball that eludes the infielders and leads to a base hit. A bleeder.

screaming line drive

Also a screamer. A line drive that is hit extremely hard, perhaps hard enough to knock the glove out of the hand of a fielder or to be so hard that the pitcher cannot get out of the way before he is hit by the ball. "I distinctly remember watching the game where Jon Matlack was hit in the head by a screaming line drive off the bat of Marty Perez and it bounced off his head. I also remember watching the night Cal Ripken hit a screamer right into Andy Pettitte's mouth. Both were a nauseating sight but this one must have been much worse. Baseball can be a dangerous game for the players and also the spectators."[3]


A pitch that curves to the same side as the side from which it was thrown. For a right-hand pitcher, the ball would break to the pitcher's right -- it would break "in" to a right-hand hitter. SYNONYMS: reverse curve, fadeaway, fader, screwgie, scroogie, reverse curveball.

seal the win

To finish off the opposing team and end the game. "Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon nearly blew the game with a walk and an error, so he had plenty to celebrate when he then whiffed the dangerous Tampa Bay trio of Carlos Peña, B. J. Upton and Carl Crawford to seal the win".[4] See also nailed and shuts the door.


  • two-seamer - a "two seam fastball" where the ball is held by the pitcher such that, when thrown, its rotation shows only two seams per revolution
  • four-seamer - like a two-seamer, but the rotation shows four seams per revolution.


The period from the first to the last scheduled game of a year. Typically, the major league baseball season runs from about April1 until the end of October, including the "regular season" 162 games that each team plays and the play-offs, including the World Series. Baseball team and player records are also kept on a "seasonal" basis. "Sandy Koufax ended his career with four of the best seasons in history".[5]
The post-season, including divisional and league series plus the World Series, is sometimes called the "Second Season."


The time-period when a struggling major-league player is temporarily sent down to the minors (most likely AAA) in the hope that the player can improve his skills enough to return to the major-league club. This can also refer more broadly to the time that a team keeps a young up-and-coming player in the minor-leagues, so as to give the player time to continue to develop their skills, before they are brought up to the major leagues.

secondary pitch

Any non-fastball pitch type.


Any hit that is hit so hard it barely has an arc on it. See rip. Also refers to any thrown ball with the same characteristic, typically in the infield.

seeing-eye ball

A batted ground ball that just eludes capture by an infielder, just out of infielder's range, as if it could "see" where it needed to go. Less commonly used for a ball that takes an unusual lateral bounce to elude an infielder. Sometimes called a seeing-eye single. See ground ball with eyes.

send a runner

If a coach signals for a runner to attempt to steal a base, he is "sending" a runner. Similarly, a third-base coach who signals to a runner who is approaching third base that he should turn toward home plate and attempt to score, the coach is "sending" the runner home.[6]

senior circuit

The National League, so-called because it is the older of the two major leagues, founded in 1876. As opposed to the Junior Circuit, the American League, which was founded in 1901.

sent down

A major league player may be sent down or demoted to a minor league team either before or during the season. When this occurs during the season, another player is usually called up or promoted from the minor leagues or placed on the active roster after being removed from the disabled list.

sent to the showers

When a pitcher is removed from the lineup, he is sometimes said to be "sent to the showers" because his work for the day is done. Theoretically it is possible for him to be removed as pitcher and kept in the lineup as a designated hitter or even as a position player. But this is a very rare occurrence in the professional game, and is more frequent in the amateur game, especially in NCAA competition.


  • A set of games between two teams. During the regular season, teams typically play 3- or 4-game series against one another, with all the games in each series played in the same park. The set of all games played between two teams during the regular season is referred to as the season series. For games played between teams in a single league, the regular season series includes an equal number of games in the home parks of each team. Its purpose is to minimize travel costs and disruptions in the very long major league baseball season.
  • In the playoffs, series involve games played in the home stadiums of both teams. Teams hope to gain from having a home field advantage by playing the first game(s) in their own ballpark.


To throw a pitch that gets hit hard, typically for a home run (as if the pitcher had intentionally "served up" an easy one).

set position

The posture a pitcher takes immediately before pitching. His hands are together in front of him and he is holding the ball in his pitching hand. His rear foot is on the rubber.

set the table

To get runners on base ahead of the power hitters in the lineup.

setup pitcher

A relief pitcher who is consistently used immediately before the closer.

seventh-inning stretch

The period between the top and bottom of the seventh inning, when the fans present traditionally stand up to stretch their legs. A sing-along of the song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" has become part of this tradition, a practice most associated with Chicago broadcaster Harry Caray. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, "God Bless America" is sometimes played in addition to, or in lieu of, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the attacks, especially at home games of the New York Yankees and New York Mets. This occurs on Opening Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, September 11th, Sundays and during the All-Star Game, and post-season including the World Series. In Milwaukee, fans often sing "Roll Out the Barrel" after the traditional song, while Boston fans sing "Sweet Caroline" and Baltimore fans sing along to "Thank God I'm a Country Boy". At Kaufmann Stadium, Royals fans sing "Friends in Low Places". "OK Blue Jays" is sung at Toronto Blue Jays home games.


A player (usually an outfielder) who positions himself slightly away from his normal spot in the field based on a prediction of where the batter might hit the ball he is said to "shade" toward right or left.


Catching fly balls in the outfield when not involved in actual baseball games. "While the other pitchers looked bored just shagging flies, he was busting a few dance moves to the music coming over the loudspeakers."[7]

shake off

  • A player, typically a pitcher, who has a bad game or series, may be said to be trying to shake off the experience and regain his usual performance level. Detroit News headline: "Miner Tries to Shake Off Poor Start".
  • A pitcher who disagrees with the catcher's call for the next pitch may shake off the sign by shaking his head "no", thereby telling the catcher to call for a different pitch. If the pitcher shakes off several signs in a row, the catcher may call time out and walk to the mound to talk to the pitcher.


A pitcher who is giving up numerous hits, especially extra-base hits, is said to be getting shelled - as if under siege by enemy artillery.


Where all infielders and/or outfielders position themselves clockwise or counter-clockwise from their usual position. This is to anticipate a batted ball from a batter who tends to hit to one side of the field. Also shade. In the case of some batters, especially with left-handed batters and the bases empty, managers have been known to shift fielders from the left side to the right side of the diamond. The most extreme case was the famous "Ted Williams shift" (also once called the "Lou Boudreau shift"). Cleveland Indians manager Boudreau moved six of seven fielders (including himself, the shortstop) to the right of second base, leaving just the leftfielder playing shallow, and daring Teddy Ballgame to single to left rather than trying to "hit it where they ain't" somewhere on the right side. Williams saw it as a challenge, a game within The Game, and seldom hit the ball to left on purpose in that circumstance.

shine ball

One way for a pitcher to doctor the ball is to rub one area of the ball hard to affect the ball's flight toward the plate.

shoestring catch

When a fielder, usually an outfielder, catches a ball just before it hits the ground ("off his shoetops"), and remains running while doing so.

short hop

A ball that bounces immediately in front of an infielder. If the batter is a fast runner, an infielder may intentionally "short hop the ball" (take the ball on the short hop) to hasten his throw to first base. Balls may be short-hopped to turn a double play, but it may backfire sometimes. For example, Carlos Guillén had a ground ball that bounced to him, and he short hopped it, however, it went off his glove and went high in the air.

short porch

When one of the outfield walls is closer to home plate than normal, the stadium may be said to have a short porch. For example, Yankee Stadium has long had a short porch in right field.

short rest

When a pitcher starts games with just a three- or four-day break, instead of the typical five between starts, he is said to have had a short rest. "The big story Tuesday night, by a long shot, was Dallas Keuchel pitching six shutout innings. In the Bronx. On short rest".[8]

shorten his swing

See "cut down on his swing".

shorten the game

A team that has a strong staff of relief pitchers is sometimes said to have the ability to shorten games: "The Tigers will be fearsome postseason opponents because of their bullpen's ability to shorten games."[9] If the team gets ahead in the first six innings, its bullpen can be counted on to hold the lead; thus the opponent needs to grab an early lead to still have a chance in the last few innings to win the game.


the show

The major leagues. Particularly "in the Show". Or in "the Bigs" (big leagues, major leagues).

show bunt

When a batter changes his stance so that he appears ready to bunt the ball, he's said to "show bunt". Sometimes this move is intended to make the infielders creep in toward home plate, but the hitter swings away instead. And sometimes it's intended to cause the pitcher to change his pitch. See also butcher boy.

show me

An easy-to-hit ball thrown by a pitcher to a batter who has fouled off many balls in that particular at-bat, so risking an excessive pitch count. While the likelihood of an extra-base hit is high, there is also a chance that the batter will strike out or put the ball in play where it can be fielded. Either way, a show-me pitch usually finishes the at-bat quickly.


According to the Dickson dictionary, the term derives from horseracing, in which a bettor arrives at the window too late to place a bet, due to the race already having started, so the bettor is said to be "shut out" (this specific usage was referenced in the film The Sting).
  • A team shuts out its opponent when it prevents them from scoring any runs in a given game.
  • "Santana shut out the Royals with a 3-hitter" means that the Royals went scoreless as Santana pitched a complete-game shutout. The pitcher or pitchers on the winning team thus get statistical credit for an individual shutout or a combined-to-pitch-shutout, respectively.

shuts the door

When a pitcher, generally the closer, finishes the ballgame with a save or makes the last out (or fails to do so): "No one from the Brandeis bullpen was able to shut the door in the top of the ninth in Tuesday's game." Also used more generally to refer to a victory: "Thomas, Halladay slam door shut on Dodgers."[10]

side retired

When the third out of an inning is called, the "side is retired" and the other team takes its turn at bat. A pitcher or a defensive team can be said to have "retired the side". The goal of any pitcher is to face just three batters and make three outs: to "retire the side in order", have a "one-two-three inning", or have "three up, three down".


A pitcher who throws with a sidearm motion, i.e., not a standard overhanded delivery.


Non-verbal gestures used by catchers and coaches to communicate team strategy:
  • A catcher is said to call the game by sending signs to the pitcher calling for a particular pitch. After he moves into his crouch, the catcher gives the sign by placing his non-glove hand between his legs and using his fist, fingers, wags, or taps against his inner thigh to tell the pitcher what type of pitch to throw (fastball, curve, etc.) as well as the location. A pitcher may shake off (shake his head "no" to) the initial sign or nod in agreement when he receives the sign that he wants before going into his windup. If there is a runner on second base, a catcher may change the location of his glove (from his knee to the ground, for example) to signal the pitcher that he is using an alternate set of signs so that the runner won't be able to steal the sign.
  • A coach sends signs to players on the field, typically using a sequence of hand movements. He may send signs to offensive players, including batters and runners, about what to do on the next pitch -- for example, to sacrifice bunt, to take or to swing away at the next pitch; to steal a base; or to execute a hit-and-run. He may send signs to the catcher to call for a pitchout or to intentionally walk the batter.


A one-base hit.


A pitch, typically a fastball, that breaks sharply downward as it crosses the plate. Also see drop ball.

sitting on a pitch

A batter who is waiting for a particular type of pitch before swinging at it. He may be sitting in wait for, say, a curveball or a change-up, or a pitch thrown in a certain location, and he won't swing at anything else even if it's down the middle of the plate. Sometimes hitters who know a pitcher's pattern of pitches, or what type of pitch he likes to throw in a given count, sit on that particular pitch. This approach stems from the advice Rogers Hornsby gave to Ted Williams, telling him that the secret to hitting was simply to "wait for a good pitch to hit".

situational hitting

When a batter changes his strategy depending on the game situation: the inning, number of outs, number of men on base, or the score. He may not swing for the fences or even try to get a base hit, but instead make a sacrifice bunt or try to get a sacrifice fly or make contact with the ball in some other way.


A team that is on the skids is having a losing streak, perhaps a severe one that threatens to ruin their chances at the playoffs or to drop them into the cellar. Headline: "Yankees Remain on the Skids".[11] Also used in the singular, skid, for a losing streak or hitless streak: "Peralta's single in the fourth ended an 0-for-26 skid."[12]


A manager. Taken from the boating term skipper, the captain or commanding officer of a ship.


Used as a verb: to hit a fly ball. "Sizemore skies one. . . .Caught by the right fielder."


A very high fly ball. Sometimes referred to as a "rainmaker" because it is so high it may touch the clouds.

slap hitter

A hitter who sacrifices power for batting average, trying to make contact with the ball and "hit it where they ain't". Prime examples: Willie Keeler, Ty Cobb, Tony Gwynn, Pete Rose, Rod Carew, and Ichiro Suzuki.

slash line

A representation of multiple baseball statistics separated by the slash, for example .330/.420/.505. The typical data represented are batting average / on-base percentage / slugging percentage.[13] Also known as a triple slash. Slash is used as a verb meaning to effect a given slash line.

slice foul

When a fly ball or line drive starts out over fair territory, then curves into foul territory due to aerodynamic force caused by spinning of the ball, imparted by the bat. A slice curves away from the batter (ie: it curves to the right for a right-handed batter and to the left for a left-handed batter).


  • When a runner drops to the ground when running toward a base to avoid a tag. Players also sometimes slide head-first into first base. If former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher and Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean had seen something like that, he'd probably have said the player never should have "slud into first".
  • A team having a losing streak is in a slide or on the skids.


A relatively fast pitch with a slight curve in the opposite direction of the throwing arm.


  • A slugger maintains a high slugging average. Just as a "perfect" batting average would be 1.000 (a thousand), a "perfect" slugging average would be 4.000 (four thousand).
  • A slugfest is an exceptionally high scoring game, perhaps with double digits for both teams; the opposite of a slugfest is a pitchers' duel.


An extended period when player or team is not performing well or up to expectations; a dry spell or drought.


A cross between a slider and a curveball.

small ball

A strategy by which teams attempt to score runs using station-to-station, bunting and sacrifice plays; usually used in a situation where one run will either tie or win the game; manufacturing runs; close kin to inside baseball. "It's important for us to think small ball and hit behind runners, and also score with base hits, doubles, sacrifices -- there are many ways to score", Alex Rodriguez said. "Later on, when it counts the most, it's hard only to score by home runs".[14]


  • To smoke a batter is to throw a smoker (an inside fastball) for a called strike.
  • A pitcher who throws smoke throws the ball so hard the batter sees only its (imaginary) vapor trail.

snap throw

A throw made by the catcher to either first or third base after a pitch in an attempt to pick off the runner.


A type of foul ball in which the batter grazes ("snicks") the ball with the bat. The ball continues toward the catcher, with a slightly modified trajectory, making it a difficult catch.[]

snow cone

A catch made with the ball barely caught in the tip of a glove's webbing. Sometimes referred to as an "ice cream cone".


An 8-run inning as it appears on the scoreboard, like two large balls of snow stacked on top of one another.

soft hands

A fielder's ability to cradle the ball well in his glove. Contrast hard hands. "I was teaching the players to field the ball out front and 'give in' with the ball and bring it up to a throwing position. The analogy I used was to pretend the ball is an egg and give in with it. I consider this to be 'soft' hands."[15]

soft toss

When a coach or teammate from a position adjacent the hitter throws a ball under-hand to allow the hitter to practice hitting into a net or fence.

soft tosser

A pitcher who doesn't have a really fast fastball. "Jones, a soft tosser when compared to the Tigers' other hard throwers, struck out Posada, retired Cano on a soft fly, and got Damon to fly out."[16]

solo home run

A home run hit when there are no runners on base, so the batter circles the bases solo.

sophomore jinx

The tendency for players to follow a good rookie season with a less-spectacular one. (This term is used outside the realm of baseball as well.) Two of the most notorious examples are Joe Charboneau and Mark Fidrych. The statistical term for the sophomore jinx is "regression to the mean".


Left-hander, especially a pitcher. Most baseball stadiums are built so that home plate is in the west and the outfield is in the east, so that when the sun sets it is not in the batter's eye. Because of this, a left-handed pitcher's arm is always facing south when he faces the plate. Thus he has a "southpaw".


  • To hit the ball, typically a line drive to the opposite field.
  • To win a game handily or decisively. Headline: "Tigers Spank KC 13-1. Did the Royals Wave the White Flag?"[17]


A fireplug. A player known for his aggressive, never-say-die attitude (though perhaps modest ability) who may help to spark his team into a rally or a win. "Versalles was the sparkplug that led the 1965 Twins to their first World Series."[18]

Spider Tack

A sticky paste product designed for strongman competitions that has been illegally used by some pitchers to enhance their grip on the ball. Illegal grip enhancers have been used by spitball pitchers before, but Spider Tack specifically made headlines during the 2021 pitch doctoring controversy.[19]

speed merchant

A fast player, often collecting stolen bases, bunt singles and/or infield hits.


A runner can "spike" an infielder by sliding into him and causing an injury with the spikes of his shoes.


A spitball pitch in which the ball has been altered by the application of spit, petroleum jelly, or some other foreign substance.


A fastball that breaks sharply toward the ground just before reaching the plate due to the pitcher's grip; his first two fingers are spread apart to put a downward spin on the ball. Also called a forkball, splitter or Mr. Splitee.


A player's splits are his performance statistics broken down or split into categories such as batting average against right-handed vs. left-handed pitchers, in home games vs. away games, or in day games vs. night games. When statistics are split in such a way they may reveal patterns that allow a manager to use (perhaps to platoon) a player strategically where he can be most effective. Sabermetricians may use such splits to investigate patterns that explain overall performance, including topics such as whether a pitcher may have doctored the ball during home games.[20]

spoil a pitch

When a pitcher throws a strike over the plate that at first seems good enough to strike the batter out but the batter fouls it off, the batter may be said to "spoil the pitch". The usage is similar to that of "fighting off a pitch".

spot starter

  • A pitcher who starts an occasional game (perhaps only one game) who is not a regular starter in the rotation. This is a pitcher who is already on a team's roster and usually works as a relief pitcher. In contrast to a spot starter, who is already on the roster, an emergency starter is typically a player who is brought up from the minor leagues on very short notice because a regular starter is injured. Sometimes, however, even a player who is already on the roster may be referred to as an emergency starter if his starting role arises because the regularly scheduled starter has been injured.
  • In recent years, the term "spot starter" has more commonly been used to describe a pitcher called up from the minors specifically to make one start before being optioned back down to the minors immediately following the game, particularly when the pitcher in question is the 26th man added to the active roster for a scheduled doubleheader.

spray hitter

A batter who hits line drives to all fields. Not a pull hitter.

Spring training

In Major League Baseball, spring training consists of work-outs and exhibition games that precede the regular season. It serves the purpose of both auditioning players for final roster spots and giving players practice prior to competitive play. The managers and coaches use spring training to set their opening-day 25-man roster.

square around

When a batter turns his stance from being sideways to the pitcher's mound to facing the pitcher's mound. This is typically done when a batter prepares to bunt a ball, in particular when he intends to do a sacrifice bunt. "Whether you square around or pivot, you want to make sure you are in a comfortable and athletic position to bunt the ball. Your knees should be bent and your bat should be held out in front of your body. The barrel of the bat should be at the same height as your eyes and at the top of the strike zone".[21]

square up

To get a good swing at the ball and hit it hard near the center of the ball. "It makes a big difference because you work hard to square a ball up, but they catch it or make a good play", Pierre said. "It takes the wind out of you a little bit and it makes him (Verlander) probably feel better, too".[22]

squeeze play

A tactic used to attempt to score a runner from third on a bunt. There are two types of squeeze plays: suicide squeeze and safety squeeze. In a suicide squeeze, the runner takes off towards home plate as soon as the pitcher begins his throw toward home plate. In a safety squeeze, the runner waits until the batter makes contact with the ball before committing himself to try to reach home.

squeeze the zone

When an umpire calls balls and strikes as if the strike zone is smaller than usual, he's said to "squeeze the zone".


A nubber. A batted ball that is either off the end of the bat or from a very late swing, which puts side spin on it as it rolls (typically toward the first or third baseman).


The pitching staff of a given team.

stand-up double or triple (or standing/standing up)

An extra-base hit in which the runner reaches base easily without needing to slide, i.e. remains standing up as he touches the bag. Also referred to simply as "standing" i.e. "the runner from 3rd base scores standing (up)."


  • When a hitter steps into the batter's box, he typically stands a few inches from home plate with one shoulder facing the pitcher's mound. His particular manner of bending his knees or holding his bat is referred to as the batter's stance or hitting stance.[23]
  • A catcher typically crouches or squats behind home plate, holding his glove up as a target for the pitcher. This is referred to as a catcher's stance.[24]
  • A pitcher's stance or pitching position involves how and where he stands on the mound, how his back foot toes the rubber, his windup, and his delivery.


An inning. "In that stanza, however, the Tigers . . . clawed their way back into the ballgame."[25]

starting pitcher

The "starter" is the first pitcher in the game for each team. (For a less frequently used strategy to start the game, see opener.)

starting rotation

Another term for rotation (the planned order of a team's starting pitchers).


A player's assigned defensive position.


Oddly enough, this term can mean completely different things. It can be referred to as a close relative of inside baseball, where hit-and-runs and base-stealing are frequent. It can also mean its exact opposite, where a team takes fewer chances of getting thrown out on the bases by cutting down on steal attempts and taking the extra base on a hit; therefore, the team will maximise the number of runs scored on a homer.


Statheads use statistical methods to analyze baseball game strategy as well as player and team performance. They use the tools of sabermetrics to analyze baseball.


Short for "statistics", the numbers generated by the game: runs, hits, errors, strikeouts, batting average, earned run average, fielding average, etc. Most of the numbers used by players and fans are not true mathematical statistics, but the term is in common usage.

stayed alive

When a batter who already has two strikes swings at but fouls off a pitch, he may be said to have "stayed alive". He (or his at bat) will live to see another pitch. Similarly, when a team that is facing elimination from the playoffs wins a game, it may be said to have "stayed alive" to play another game.[26]

steady diet

When a batter shows that it is easier to get him out with a certain type of pitch, he may receive a "steady diet" of that type of pitch thrown. Headline: "Phillies' Howard Gets a Steady Diet of Curveballs".[27]


RBIs. Derived from the common pronunciation of RBI as "ribbie", which was apparently once pronounced as Rib-eye.


See stolen base.

stealing signs

  • When a team that is at bat tries to see the sign the catcher is giving to the pitcher (indicating what type of pitch to throw), the team is said to be stealing signs. This may be done by a runner who is on base (typically second base) watching the catcher's signs to the pitcher and giving a signal of some kind to the batter. (To prevent this, the pitcher and catcher may change their signs when there is a runner on second base.) Sometimes a first-base or third-base coach might see a catcher's signs if the catcher isn't careful. In unusual cases, the signs may be read through binoculars by somebody sitting in the stands, perhaps in center field, and sending a signal to the hitter in some way.
  • When a hitter is suspected of peeking to see how a catcher is setting up behind the plate as a clue to what pitch might be coming or what the intended location is, then the pitcher will usually send the hitter a message: stick it in his ear.

stepping in the bucket

A phrase for an "open" batting stance, in which the hitter's leading foot is aligned away from the plate (toward left field for a right-handed batter). The stance reduces power in the swing and slows the hitter's exit toward first base; however, many players believe it allows them to see the pitch better, and more naturally drive the ball to the opposite field.

stick it in his ear

"Stick it in his ear!" is a cry that may come from fans in the stands, appealing to the home team pitcher to be aggressive (throw the ball at the opposing batter). The line is attributed originally, however, to Leo Durocher.

stick it in his pocket

Said of an infielder who secures a batted or thrown ball, but chooses to hold the ball rather than throwing to try for an out. For example, a shortstop might range in the hole to field a ground ball, but then elect to "stick it in his pocket" rather than attempting to throw to first base to put out the batter-runner, whether to avoid the possibility of a throwing error or to prevent another runner on base from advancing on the throw. Often happens on a ball hit so slowly that, by the time it's fielded, the runner(s) have already advanced so far that a throw and catch for a force out is unlikely or impossible.

sticky stuff

Layman's term for illegal grip-enhancing substances used by pitchers such as pine tar, petroleum jelly, human saliva, and some resin-based products.

stolen base

In baseball, a stolen base (or "steal") occurs when a baserunner successfully advances to the next base while the pitcher is delivering the ball to home plate. In baseball statistics, stolen bases are denoted by SB. If the catcher thwarts the stolen base by throwing the runner out, the event is recorded as caught stealing (CS). Also see uncontested steal.

stole first

A batter who reaches first base following an uncaught third strike has (unofficially) "stolen" it.

stone fingers

A fielder who misplays easy ground balls. Also see hard hands and tin glove.


  • A team's best starting pitcher, called upon to stop a losing streak.
  • A team's closer.


Another term for left on base.


  • A series of consecutive wins (a winning streak) or losses (a losing streak). Also, a string, especially if referring to a series of wins.
  • A series of games in which a batter gets a hit (hitting streak) or fails to get a hit (hitless streak), or accomplishes some other feat of interest (e.g, gets a stolen base or hits a home run).


  • To pitch from a stretch is to begin the pitching motion by facing sideways relative to home plate, raising one's arms at the elbow and bringing the glove hand and pitching hand together in a full stop, then hurling the ball toward the plate. This is the usual pitching motion when there are men on base, so that the pitcher can check on the runners before throwing home. Sometimes, however, pitchers use a stretch even when the bases are empty.
  • For other uses of the word "stretch", see stretch a hit, stretch run, down the stretch, and seventh inning stretch.

stretch a hit

To stretch a hit is to take an additional base on a hit, typically by aggressive running.

stretch the lineup

  • To stretch the lineup is to have strong hitters after the 3rd, 4th, and 5th places in the batting order, which are normally where the power hitters are found. "Victor goes out there every day and shows you why he is a professional hitter - he's never afraid to just take a base hit when that's what there for him", Leyland said. "Carlos lets us stretch our lineup with another professional hitter, and also a switch-hitter".[28]

stretch run

The last part of the regular baseball season when teams are competing to reach the playoffs or championship. Perhaps derived from the term "home stretch" in horse racing or car racing when the horse (or car) comes out of the final turn and is racing toward the finish line. Headline: "Tigers eyeing help for stretch run"[29] (The Tigers are seeking additional players as they approach the end of the season).


  • When a batter swings at a pitch, but fails to hit it, when a batter does not swing at a pitch that is thrown within the strike zone, when the ball is hit foul and the strike count is less than2 (a batter cannot strike out on a foul ball, however he can fly out), when a ball is bunted foul, regardless of the strike count, when the ball touches the batter as he swings at it, when the ball touches the batter in the strike zone, or when the ball is a foul tip.
  • A particularly hard, accurate throw by a fielder attempting to put out a baserunner (or a particularly hard, accurate pickoff attempt by the pitcher) is sometimes referred to as throwing a strike.

strike out

  • Of a pitcher, the throwing of three strikes in one plate appearance. This normally retires the batter, and counts as one out. However, it is possible for the hitter to strike out and still reach base, if the catcher drops the strikeout pitch.
  • Of a hitter, with a count of two strikes, to make a third strike by swinging at and missing a pitch, swinging at a pitch and tipping a foul ball directly into the catcher's mitt which is subsequently caught, taking a called strike, or bunting a ball foul.

strikeout pitch

  • The last pitch of a strikeout; the third strike.
  • The type of pitch (specific to each pitcher) that he or she prefers to use as the last pitch of a strikeout. This is almost always a breaking pitch - a pitch that moves out of the strike zone, increasing the chance that the batter will swing and miss.[30]

strikeout pitcher

A pitcher who strikes out hitters a lot.

strike 'em out/throw 'em out

A double play in which a batter strikes out and the catcher then immediately throws out a baserunner trying to steal. Sometimes this is called strikeout/double-play. Usually scored 2-6 or 2-4 for an out at second.

strike out the side

  • A pitcher is said to have "struck out the side" when he retires all three batters in one inning by striking them out.
  • "All three" may mean that only three batters came to the plate (and struck out), but the phrase could refer to the three batters who made outs (regardless what happened to the others).

strike zone

The imaginary prism over home plate used to "call" balls and strikes.


  • A series of consecutive wins. A winning streak.
  • Any other series of consecutive events, such as strike-outs or scoreless innings.

struck out looking

A batter called out on strikes without swinging on the third strike is said to have "struck out lookin'." Labeled with a backwards "K" by some scorecard keepers. Sports commentators have also been known to use the slang term "just browsing" when showing a batter that's "struck out looking" on SportsCenter or other related shows.

struck out swinging

A batter called out on strikes when swinging at the third strike is said to have "struck out swinging". Usually labeled with the traditional forward "K" on scorecards.

struck out bunting

A batter called out on strikes when the third strike resulted from a bunted ball that came to rest in foul territory.


  • A pitcher's "stuff" is an overall evaluation of how effective his pitches are: "good stuff" when they are hard to hit, and "just stuff" or "lousy stuff" when they are not. More specifically, it refers to the movement of the ball in air of a breaking ball pitcher, and/or the speed of a fastball pitcher.


A pitcher who throws with such a severe sidearm motion that the pitch comes from below his waist, sometimes near the ground. (A submariner does not throw underhanded, as in fastpitch softball.) See submarine.

subway series

When two teams from the same city or metropolitan area play a series of games, they are presumed to be so near to one another that they could take the subway to play at their opponent's stadium. Mets vs. Yankees would be (and is) called a subway series; a Cubs vs. White Sox series would be an "L" series; and a series between the Oakland A's and the San Francisco Giants would be (and was) the "BART" series. However, a series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels would not be a subway series, because there is no subway or other rail service between Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium of Anaheim (not even the fabled but fanciful line between "Anaheim, Azusa and Cuc... amonga").[31] Instead such a series is referred to as a freeway series.

Sunday Funday

After winning a weekend series in college baseball, the team will party Sunday night. This is because college teams play five nights a week and have no free time to party except on Sundays, because they can rest on their required Monday off day.

suicide squeeze

A squeeze play in which the runner on third breaks for home on the pitch, so that, if the batter does not lay down a bunt, then the runner is an easy out (unless he steals home). Contrast this with the safety squeeze.

summer classic

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the Mid-Summer Classic. These annual games pit the all-stars of the National League against the all-stars of the American League, a concept designed to acknowledge and showcase the achievements of the best players in each league.


To win all the games in a series between two teams, whether during the regular 162-game season or during the league championships or World Series. During the regular season, pairs of teams typically square off in several 3- or 4-game series at the home parks of each team. It is also thus possible for one team to sweep a 3- or 4-game series, the "home series" (all the games a team plays at its home field against another given team), the "road series", or the "season series" between two teams. ("Sweep" was also used to mean winning both games of a doubleheader. Sweeps are also used for a college baseball team who wins all three games of a weekend series.)

sweet spot

The meat of the bat.[32] "Batters know from experience that there is a sweet spot on the bat, about 17 centimetres (6.7 in) from the end of the barrel, where the shock of the impact, felt by the hands, is reduced to such an extent that the batter is almost unaware of the collision. At other impact points, the impact is usually felt as a sting or jarring of the hands and forearm, particularly if the impact occurs at a point well removed from the sweet spot".[33][34] " 'I was ready for a fastball early in the count, because I knew he would go to his other stuff later", Santiago said. "I got one, and I just wanted to hit it on the sweet spot' ".[35]


  • When a batter is following his coach's advice to not bunt (never mind those runners), he is said to "swing away".
  • "Swing for the downs" means swing mightily - all or nothing.
  • Attempting a home run is to "swing for the fences".
  • "Swing from the heels" means swinging very hard, hoping for an extra base hit.
  • A "swingman" is a pitcher with relatively good stamina who can function as either a long reliever or a starter, e.g. Justin Masterson during his time with the Red Sox.[36]

switch hitter

A switch hitter can hit from either side of the plate, i.e. bats both left-handed and right-handed.


  1. ^ "Rangers vs. Orioles - Box Score - August 22, 2007 - ESPN".
  2. ^ "Math & Baseball Most Difficult Act in All of Sports". Archived from the original on 2010-04-19. Retrieved .
  3. ^ "Yahoo". Yahoo.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-21. Retrieved .{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Pedro Martinez retires. Is he the best pitcher ever?". Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved .
  6. ^ See this usage of "send" in Nate Silver, "Send Alex Gordon", FiveThirtyEight, October 30, 2014.
  7. ^ "2001: Diary of a Season -".
  8. ^ Rob Neyer, "Don't Kill the Umpire", Just a Bit Outside, October 6, 2015.
  9. ^ Matt Crossman, "Zumaya Gives Boost to Tigers' Playoff Hopes", (September 14, 2006).
  10. ^ The Sports Network - Major League Baseball[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Boston Globe, June 27, 2007.
  12. ^ "Tigers vs. Indians - Game Recap - September 24, 2009 - ESPN".
  13. ^ "What is a "slash line"?". December 11, 2009.
  14. ^ Ben Shpigel, "Yanks Feast on Mets Pitching, Belting 4 Homers Off Capuano", The New York Times, 22 May 2011.
  15. ^ Baseball Corner - Baseball & Softball Equipment, Apparel, and Accessories
  16. ^ "Mets, Cards, Tigers Score Game 2 Playoff Wins". Fox News. December 1, 2011.
  17. ^ "Tigers spank KC 13-1. Did the Royals wave the white flag? | Baseball Digest". Archived from the original on 17 September 2011. Retrieved 2022.
  18. ^ Zoilo Versalles
  19. ^ Sawchik, Travis. "Baseball's dirty little secret is out. We decided to experiment". theScore. Retrieved 2022.
  20. ^ A recent example is in the analysis of Detroit Tigers pitcher Kenny Rogers' home- and away-game stats to see whether they are consistent with the suspicion that he may be doctoring the ball in home games. See Nate Silver, "Comforts of home; Rogers better at Comerica, but is the success legit?" (October 23, 2006)[1].
  21. ^, "Baseball Instruction - Bunting, Sacrifice". [retrieved 3 September 2011]
  22. ^ Mark Gonzales, "Sox Drop Opener of Crucial Series 8-1", Chicago Tribune, September 2, 2011.
  23. ^ See "Hitting Stance", at
  24. ^ See "Catcher's Stance" at
  25. ^ Offensive Explosion Leads Baseball Past Arch-Rival LSU, 16-9 :: Every Green Wave starter posts at least two hits as Tulane scores most runs against the Tigers since 1951
  26. ^ [2][dead link]
  27. ^, March 8, 2010. [Retrieved July 26, 2010].
  28. ^ "Carlos Guillén, Victor Martinez (4 RBIs) lead Tigers in romp",, July 30, 2011.
  29. ^ Tigers Eyeing Help for Stretch Run [retrieved October 12, 2012]
  30. ^ Glossary of Pitches |
  31. ^ See "Jack Benny's Anaheim - April 2001", City of Anaheim history.[3] Archived 2007-04-19 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ For a study of "sweet spots" on different types of baseball bat, see Daniel A. Russell, "Acoustics of Baseball Bats" Archived 2010-05-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  33. ^ "The physics of baseball".
  34. ^ Also see Brad Christopherson and Sam Preston, "Exploration into the Mechanics of a Baseball bat".
  35. ^ "Rays vs. Tigers - Game Recap - June 13, 2011 - ESPN".
  36. ^ "Red Sox's rotation could be as good as it gets". January 15, 2010.

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