Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Baseball lingo to bat around

By Nancy M. Kendall / April 4, 2003



Have you ever had a close call? Eaten lunch on the fly? Do you call 'em as you see 'em? Baseball provides us with many popular expressions. See if you know what they mean - in everyday usage and in the sport.

Skip to next paragraph

1. To bat around (an idea)

2. To farm out

3. Fast out of the box

4. To have a lot of Moxie

5. Right up your alley

6. Screwball

7. Squeeze play

8. Sign 'em up!

9. Meal ticket

10. Charley horse

11. Change of pace

12. To come out of left field

ANSWERS

(1) to brainstorm an idea, as in practicing batting and fielding before a game; (2) to let for hire or subcontract, as in "to send a major leaguer to a minor league"; (3) to be a fast starter, as when a batter runs out of the batter's box toward first base after hitting the ball; (4) to have a lot of courage, or nerve, derived from the persistent cry of vendors of a popular soft drink in ballparks in the late 1800s; (5) something perfectly suited to you, as in that part of the outfield between the fielders, or "power alleys"; (6) an eccentric person, from a pitch invented by Carl Hubbell, that has the speed of a fastball but "runs away" from the batter; (7) pressure from both sides, as in a play that features a runner on third base breaking for home in anticipation of a bunt; (8) What a performance! From ballplayers who are put under contract after trying out; (9) a primary source of income, from the ticket that was once issued to ballplayers for a free meal at a restaurant; (10) a thigh cramp, from the nickname given to a broken-down horse that used to roll the dirt portion of the infield; (11) a change in routine, from a slow pitch thrown with the same motion as a preceding fast one; (12) to come from nowhere, after a sidearm pitch that comes in so wide that it seems to have originated in left field.

SOURCES: 'Sports Talk: A Dictionary of Sports Metaphors,' by Robert Palmatier and Harold Ray; The World Book Dictionary.

Permissions