Glossary of baseball (F) facts for kids
- The World Series — the championship series of Major League Baseball, in which the champion of the American League faces off against the champion of the National League. Typically, this series takes place in October, so playing in October is the goal of any major league team. Reggie Jackson's moniker "Mr. October" indicates that he played with great distinction in the World Series for the Yankees. Another Yankee, Derek Jeter, picked up the nickname "Mr. November" after he hit a walk-off home run in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series just after midnight local time on November 1. By comparison, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner's dubbing another of his players (Dave Winfield) "Mr. May" expressed his disappointment with that player's performance in the Fall Classic.
- The one time the Fall Classic was actually played in the summer was 1918, when the season was curtailed due to World War I and the Series was played in early September.
- The first time the Fall Classic extended in to November was in 2001. Jeter's walk-off homer was the first plate appearance in the month of November in MLB history; the 2001 season had been delayed for several days following 9/11, eventually pushing the start of the World Series into the last week of October – and the end of the Series in to November. The 2009, 2010, and 2015–17 World Series would subsequently have games in November.
fall off the table
- A pitch is said to "fall off the table" when it starts in the strike zone or appears hittable to the batter and ends low or in the dirt. This term is mainly used for change ups and split-fingered fastballs, and occasionally for an overhand curveball.
- When a fan or any person not associated with one of the teams alters play in progress (in the judgment of an umpire), it is fan interference. The ball becomes dead, and the umpire will award any bases or charge any outs that, in his judgment, would have occurred without the interference. This is one of several types of interference calls in baseball.
- If a fan touches a ball that is out of the field of play, such as a pop fly into the stands, it is not considered to be fan interference even if a defensive player might have fielded the ball successfully. So the infamous case in Game 6 of the NLCS in which a Chicago Cubs fan, Steve Bartman, attempted to catch a ball in foul territory thereby possibly preventing Cubs leftfielder Moisés Alou from making a circus catch, was not a case of fan interference.
- A fielder who puts an extra flourish on his movements while making a play in hopes of gaining the approval of the spectators. Wilbert Robinson was manager when Al López started out as a catcher in the majors. Robinson watched Lopez' style and finally hollered, "Tell that punk he got two hands to catch with! Never mind the Fancy Dan stuff." Lopez went on to eventually surpass Robinson's record of games behind the plate.
- A farm team is a team or club whose role it is to provide experience and training for young players, with an expectation that successful players will move to the big leagues at some point. Each Major League Baseball team's organization has a farm system of affiliated farm teams at different minor league baseball levels.
- A pitch that is thrown more for high velocity than for movement; it's the most common type of pitch. Also known as smoke, a bullet, a heater (you can feel the heat generated by the ball), or a hummer (the ball can't be seen, only heard).
- A count in which the pitcher would be ordinarily expected to throw a fastball, such as 3-1, 3-2, or 2-1, as fast ball are usually easiest to locate in the strike zone. Occasionally a pitcher will pull the string by throwing an off-speed pitch.
- When a pitcher relies too much on his fastball, perhaps because his other pitches are not working well for him during that game, he's said to be "fastball happy". This can get a pitcher into trouble if the batters can anticipate that the next pitch will be a fastball. "Andy is at his best when he trusts his breaking stuff and doesn't try to overpower guys. When he gets fastball happy he gets knocked around."
- A pitch that is located exactly where the hitter is expecting it. The ball may look bigger than it actually is, and the batter may hit it a long way.
- To throw the ball carefully to another fielder in a way that allows him to make an out. A first-baseman who has just fielded a ground ball will "feed the ball" to the pitcher who is running over from the mound to make the force out at first base. An infielder who has fielded a ground-ball will feed the ball to the player covering second base so the latter can step on the base and quickly throw to first base to complete a double play.
- A slugger.
- A baseball field or baseball diamond upon which the game of baseball is played.
- A ballfield, ballpark, or stadium (e.g., Dodger Stadium, Wrigley Field, Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome).
- To field the ball is to capture or make a play on a ground ball or to catch a fly ball.
- To take the field means the defensive players are going to their positions, while the other team is on the offense or at bat. "The Reds have taken the field, and Jose Reyes is leading off for the Mets."
- The head coach of a team is called the manager (more formally, the field manager). He controls team strategy on the field. He sets the line-up and starting pitcher before each game as well as making substitutions throughout the game. In modern baseball the field manager is normally subordinate to the team's general manager (or GM), who among other things is responsible for personnel decisions, including hiring and firing the field manager. However, the term manager used without qualification almost always refers to the field manager.
- A fielder's choice (FC) is the act of a fielder, upon fielding a batted ball, choosing to try to putout a baserunner and allow the batter-runner to advance to first base. Despite reaching first base safely after hitting the ball, the batter is not credited with a hit but would be charged with an at-bat.
fight off a pitch
- When a batter has two strikes on him and gets a pitch he cannot hit cleanly, he may be said to "fight off the pitch" by fouling it off. "Langerhans fought off one 3-2 pitch, then drove the next one to the gap in left-center to bring home the tying and winning runs."
find his bat
- When a batter has been in a slump perhaps for no evident reason, but then starts getting hits, he may be said to have "found his bat". "With the Tigers having found their bats for a night, they reset the series and put themselves in position to all but lock up the AL Central."
find his swing
- When a batter has experienced a slump, he may take extra practice or instruction to "find his swing". Perhaps he has a hitch in his swing, or his batting stance has changed. Having "lost his swing", now he must "find it". This phrase is also used in golf.
find the seats
- As if a ball leaving the bat is in search of a place to land, a ball that "finds the seats" is one that leaves the field of play and reaches the stands. It may either be a home run or a foul ball (out of the reach of the fielders).
- A pitcher who throws extremely high-velocity fastballs, in excess of 95 miles per hour. A flamethrower.
- A team's top relief pitcher who is often brought in to end an offensive rally and "put out the fire". The term has been attributed to New York Daily News cartoonist Bruce Stark, who in the 1970s first depicted relievers for the New York Mets and Yankees as firemen coming in to save their teams from danger.
- A player, often one of small stature, who is known for his energy, extroversion, and team spirit -- sometimes perhaps more than for his playing ability. "Morgan defied this mold by outworking everybody and employing his moderate athletic gifts to become one of the best all-around players of his era. He hit for power, he hit for average, he stole bases and manufactured runs and he was one of the toughest, smartest defensive second basemen the game has ever seen. He was a relentless fireplug, respected by opposing players and hated by opposing fans."
- A hitter who likes to hit the first pitch in an at bat, especially if the hitter often gets a hit on the first pitch.
five and dive
- A derogatory term referring to a starting pitcher who is unable to go beyond five innings before wearing out. In the current era in which managers are increasingly aware of the risk of injury to pitchers who have high pitch counts, and in which relief pitching has become a critical part of the game, starters achieve fewer and fewer complete games. Headline: "Vasquez Disputes Five-and-Dive Label".
five o'clock hitter
- A hitter who hits really well during batting practice, but not so well during games. These were formerly known as "ten o'clock hitters" or "two-o'clock hitters" back when there were no night games.
- A position player who has great skill in all the tools or basic skills: hitting for average, hitting for power, base running and speed, throwing, and fielding. See tools for how baseball scouts rate these skills.
FL or F.L.
- Abbreviation for Federal League, a major league that existed from 1914 to 1915. This would be the last "third Major League" to come into existence.
- To catch or knock down a line drive, as if flagging down a speeding train. "Cody Ross, who singled and moved to second on a ground-out, was stranded when Ramírez's scorched liner ... was flagged down by a diving Jones."
- A fireballer.
- A fly ball hit a short distance into the outfield. "Pudge hit a flare just out of the shortstop's reach."
flashing the leather
- Making an outstanding or difficult defensive play. A player who regularly makes difficult defensive plays may be described as a "leather flasher". See leather.
- The act of a fielder's softly tossing the ball to a teammate covering a base when the two are so close that making a regular overhand throw would waste time and/or unnecessarily risk an inaccurate throw.
- A game played in the bullpen by relief pitchers. There are multiple rules and strategies that can be used.
- A knuckleball. A pitch that may appear to the batter to float or bob up and down on its way to the plate.
- A base hit that results from a weakly batted ball or one that takes an odd bounce.
fly ball pitcher
- A pitcher who tends to induce more fly balls than ground balls. Those pitchers are disadvantageous in that they allow more home runs than any other pitcher.
- An out that results from an outfielder catching a fly ball.
- A batter whose fly ball is caught in the outfield is said to "fly out". "Rodriguez flew out to center fielder Suzuki." (Past tense "flied" is acceptable.)
- When a runner must advance to another base because the batter becomes a runner and, as such, must advance to first base. In this situation, the runner is out if a fielder with the ball touches the base the runner is being forced to; this is considered a "force out". A play when a fly ball is caught and a fielder touches a base prior to the runner tagging up is not a force play, but an appeal play.
- A type of split-finger fastball or splitter in which the fingers are spread out as far as possible. The ball drops sharply and typically out of the strike zone, maybe even into the dirt.
- A batted ball that has gone out of play.
- Two straight lines drawn on the ground from home plate to the outfield fence to indicate the boundary between fair territory and foul territory. These are called the left-field foul line and the right-field foul line. The foul poles on the outfield walls are vertical extensions of the foul lines.
- Despite their names, both the foul lines and the foul poles are in fair territory. Any fly ball that strikes the foul line (including the foul pole) beyond first or third base is a fair ball (and in the case of the foul pole, a home run).
- Note that while the foul lines in baseball are in fair territory, just like the side- and end-lines of a tennis court, in basketball or American football the sidelines are considered out of bounds. In other words, hitting the ball "on the line" is good for the offensive player in baseball and tennis, but stepping on the line is bad for the offensive player in basketball and American football. The situation is slightly different in association football (soccer): the sideline and the goal line are inbounds, and the ball is out of play when it has wholly crossed the side line (touch line) or the goal line, whether on the ground or in the air.
- Purposely batting a pitch foul with two strikes in order to keep the at-bat going, in part to tire the pitcher and in part to get another, different pitch that might be easier to hit. Luke Appling was said to be the king of "fouling them off". Such a hitter might also be said to be battling or working the pitcher.
- A pole located on each foul line on the outfield fence or wall. The left-field foul pole and right-field foul pole are used by umpires to determine whether a batted ball is a home run or a foul ball. The foul pole is a vertical extension of the foul line. The term "foul pole" is actually a misnomer, because the "foul pole" (like the foul line) is in fair territory and a fly ball that hits the foul pole is considered to be a fair ball (and a home run).
- A batted ball that is hit sharply and directly from the bat to the catcher's mitt and legally caught by the catcher. It is not a foul tip, as most announcers and journalists mistakenly use the term, if the ball is not caught by the catcher. In this case, it is simply a foul ball. It is also not considered a foul tip if it rebounds off something, like the ground, catcher's mask, the batter, etc. after being struck by the bat but before touching the catcher's mitt. A foul tip is considered in play, not a foul ball, and also counts as a strike, including the third strike (and is also considered a strikeout for the pitcher). It is signalled by the umpire putting his right hand flat in the air and brushing his left hand against it (imitating the ball glancing off the bat) and then using his standard strike call. If the out is not the third out then the ball is alive and in play (unlike on a foul) and runners are in jeopardy if they are trying to advance.
- An intentional base on balls, from the manager's signal to direct the pitcher to issue one, or to direct the umpire to award the batter first base.
- A standard fastball, which does not necessarily break though a good one will have movement as well as velocity and location that makes it difficult to hit. The batter sees the four parallel seams spin toward him. A four-seamer. See two-seamer.
- As a noun, a frame is half an inning (either the top or the bottom). Announcer: "Two hits, and two runs scored so far in this frame." Also a bowling term, as suggested by the resemblance of an inning-by-inning scoreboard to a bowling scoresheet.
- As a verb, framing [a pitch] refers to the positioning and/or movement of the catcher's mitt and body when he catches a pitch and the effect this has on the umpire calling a pitch a strike. The boundaries of the strike zone are clearly defined in the rules; however, with many major-league pitches traveling well in excess of 90 mph (140 km/h), or with "moving" pitches such as the curveball and the knuckleball, it is often difficult for an umpire to judge whether a ball went through the strike zone based solely on watching the ball, particularly at the boundaries of the strike zone. Consequently, umpires sometimes unofficially use the catcher's position and/or movement to help judge whether a pitch is a strike. Framing is a catcher's attempt to use this to his team's advantage. For example, on a pitch near the boundary of the strike zone, a catcher might move his mitt a short, subtle distance toward the strike zone within a split second after catching the ball, with the hope that the umpire will call a strike even if it did not go through the strike zone. Conversely, a pitch near the top of the strike zone might be called a ball if the catcher has to rise from his crouched position to catch it, even if it did go through the defined strike zone. Sabermetricians have developed metrics for how well catchers perform in framing pitches.
- Slang for extra innings. The fans get to see extra innings "for free".
- A base on balls. "Free" because the batter doesn't have to hit the ball to get on base. Also referred to as a "free ticket" and an Annie Oakley.
freeze the hitter
- To throw a strike that is so unexpected or in such a location that the batter doesn't swing at it. "As Cashman spoke, Pettitte fired a strike on the corner, which froze the hitter."
A nickname for Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.
- A hard-hit line drive. Also a strong throw from the outfield.
- A count of 3 balls and 2 strikes; another strike will result in a strikeout, while another ball will result in a walk. At that point, only a foul ball will extend the at-bat.
- Three of a kind (3 balls), and two of a kind (2 strikes): a full count. From the term used in poker. Sometimes called full boat. Instead of holding up fingers indicating the count, the umpire may hold up closed fists, implying "full".
- Capacity crowd; all seats filled in the stadium. From the theatrical term.
- A fly ball hit for fielders to practice catching. It is not part of the game, but is accomplished by a batter tossing the ball a short distance up in the air and then batting it himself.
- A lightweight bat with a long, skinny barrel used to hit fungoes. It is not a legal or safe bat to use in a game or even in practice with a live pitcher, because it is too light.
Images for kids
The right field foul line at Rogers Centre
Glossary of baseball (F) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.