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An essential guide to baseball slang for newbies to the sport

Just now tuning in? Knowing your baseball lingo can help you hold your own during the playoffs and World Series.

October 15, 2013|Chris Erskine
  • A couple Dodgers fans take in batting practice before the start of Game 4 of the NLCS on Tuesday. Knowing the slang of the game is part of being a die-hard baseball fan.
A couple Dodgers fans take in batting practice before the start of Game 4… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)

A guide to baseball's odd and endearing nomenclature, for those who watch the game only in October:

Pitchers' duel: Low-scoring game where pitchers are so dominant that it renders the other players (and fans) inconsequential. Considered by many to be the highest form of baseball.

Slugfest: Opposite of pitchers' duel, where lots of runs are scored.

Snoozefest: See "pitchers' duel."

Seventh-inning stretch: Point at which fans attempt to stand after consuming too much oink. The game's approximate midpoint, because of the endless pitching changes soon to follow.

Oink: Ballpark meat, usually pork.

Can of corn: Easy pop fly. In Kansas City, a restroom, or a popular dessert.

Chew: Tobacco taken orally. Also, Tommy Lasorda's favorite verb.

Southpaw: Leftie, liberal, nonconformist. Throws with opposite hand from normal people. Thinks with opposite side of brain.

Northpaw: A pitcher for the Minnesota Twins.

Taxes: Where Astros and Rangers play.

Taxes Leaguer: Bloop single.

Heater: A day game at Dodger Stadium. Also, a scorching fastball. Usage: "Bring the heat."

High cheese: A ball up in the strike zone. Usage: "Lay off the high cheese, you idiot." Also, a Packers fan after the second quarter. Usage: "Lay off the schnapps, you cheesehead."

Sliders: Tiny burgers. Best served with high cheese.

Pitcher: The best way to buy beer.

Short Stop: The best baseball bar in L.A.

Sandy Koufax: Legendary Dodger ace. Also, a great name for an L.A. beach (someday).

Infield fly rule: Batter is automatically out — and runners advance at their own risk — after a routine popup to the infield, with less than two outs, and runners on first and second, or first, second and third, on alternate Tuesdays in July.

Dropped third strike: Batter may advance to first base after a strikeout when ... oh, who cares? — it never works.

Deuces wild: Scullyism for two balls, two strikes, two outs.

Little nubber: Scullyism for weak rolling hit. Also, players' pet name for Fox reporter Ken Rosenthal.

Refill: Something snack bars never give.

Re-Phil: What Manager Ryne Sandberg will do next season in Philadelphia.

Strained oblique: Strained stomach (see "oink").

Tommy John surgery: Procedure to repair an elbow ligament, usually in a pitcher.

Farmer John surgery: Procedure for making a Dodger Dog edible, usually involving a quart of mustard and extra relish.

The wave: Antiquated but beloved expression of fan boredom or joy, mimicking the swirling action seen in stadium toilets. Detested by purists.

Beach balls: See "the wave."

Purists: People who detest things real people love.

Balk: Mistake in pitching motion with runner(s) on base. Penalty: Runner(s) advance one base.

Beer balk: When the dude in front of you doesn't decide what he wants till he reaches the snack counter despite having waited in line 20 minutes. Penalty: Ejection.

Squeeze: Something teenagers do to keep warm. Archaic, a bunt with a runner on third (rarely seen today).

Garlic fries: After baseball, God's greatest work.

Twitter: @erskinetimes

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