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Glossary of baseball (M) facts for kids

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Colloquial term for a game in which the pitcher throws a complete game shutout, on 99 or fewer pitches. Named after Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux, who threw 13 such shutouts in his career.

Magic number

A number that indicates how close a front-running team is to clinching a division or season title. It represents the total of additional wins by the front-running team or additional losses by the rival team after which it is mathematically impossible for the rival team to capture the title.

magic words

Specific words directed towards an umpire that are almost certain to cause immediate ejection from the game.

make a statement

When a player does something to catch the attention or make an impression on the other team, he may be said to "make a statement". Perhaps he makes a spectacular fielding play, hits a home run, slides hard into second base, or throws a brushback pitch. This phrase is also used in other sports when a team seeks to show up or to demonstrate its power against an opponent. "There were a lot of times where we could have given up, but no one gave up. We made a statement here tonight".

make the pitcher work

When an offensive team tries to make the opposing pitcher throw a lot of pitches and tire them out by working the count, or taking pitches or fouling off pitches, it is said to be making the pitcher work. "We've got a lot of good hitters up and down this lineup, but the key is to make the pitchers work", Laird said. "Tonight we made Saunders work. Then we got to their bullpen and were able to string some key hits together."

make-up call

When an umpire makes a bad call on a pitch, he may implicitly acknowledge it on a later pitch by making another bad call to "make up" for the first. For example, say an umpire mistakenly calls a strike on a pitch that is out of the strike zone; he may later call a ball on a pitch that is in the strike zone so the hitter gets back what was initially taken away. Umpires typically, and understandably, deny there is any such thing as a "make-up call".

make-up game

When a game is canceled because of a rainout or some other reason, a make-up game is usually scheduled later in the season. Late in the regular season if the outcome of that game would not affect which teams would reach the play-offs, then the game might not be made up.


See field manager. Different from the general manager.

manufacturing runs

Producing runs one at a time, piece by piece, component by component by means of patience at the plate, contact hitting, advancing runners, taking advantage of errors, alert baserunning including stealing a base or advancing on an out or a mistake by a fielder. In other words: small ball.


A home run hitter. See crush the ball.


A string of ones on the scoreboard, indicating successive innings in which exactly one run was scored. Also referred to as a picket fence.


  • On the barrel (fat end) of the bat, but not the very end, is the "meat" of the bat where a hitter tries to make contact with the ball.
  • The "meat (of the order)" is the middle of the lineup, usually the strongest hitters.
  • A rookie, popularized by the baseball movie, Bull Durham; implies more brawn than brain.
  • An easy out, typically evident during a strikeout.
  • A baserunner easily thrown out at a base.
  • Throwing hand, typically meaning a pitcher's. "Glavine started to reach for the ball with his meat hand but then thought better of it."


An easy pitch to hit — down the middle of the plate.

men in blue

The umpires.

metal bat swing

A long swing that does not protect the inside part of the plate. Generally used to describe college players adjusting to professional ball and wooden bats.

middle infielders

The second baseman and shortstop.

middle innings

The fourth, fifth and sixth innings of a regulation nine-inning game.

middle of the inning

The time between the top half and bottom half of an inning when the visiting team takes the field and the home team prepares to bat. No gameplay occurs during this period and television and radio broadcasts typically run advertisements. See also seventh-inning stretch.

middle of the order hitter

A batter who hits with power, and who thus may be suited to be in the third, fourth, or fifth slot in the batting order. "I think Brett Jackson looks a lot more like a top of the order guy right now than a middle of the order guy, and he seems like a viable leadoff hitter based on his performance as a professional".

middle reliever

A relief pitcher who is brought in typically during the middle-innings (4, 5, and 6). Since they are typically in the game because the starting pitcher allowed the opponents a lot of runs, the middle reliever is expected to hold down the opponents' scoring for an inning or two in hopes that their own team can close the gap.


Used during the early days of racial integration to refer to any African-American player.


An error. A word from billiards, when the cue stick slips or just brushes the cue ball thereby leading to a missed shot.

miss some bats

A pitcher who excels at getting batters to swing but miss is said to "miss some bats". A relief pitcher who is good at missing bats may be brought into a game when the other team already has runners in scoring position.

miss some spots

A pitcher who does not have good command of their pitches and is not able to throw the ball where they intend to is said to "miss some spots". "Angels Manager Mike Scioscia agreed. 'He missed some spots on a couple of hitters', Scioscia said, 'and they didn't miss their pitches'."


  • A "mistake" is poor execution, as distinguished from an error. It could be throwing to the wrong base, missing the cut-off, running into an obvious out, or throwing a pitch into the batter's "hot zone" instead of where the catcher set up for it.
  • There may be such a thing as a mistake hitter (a mediocre hitter who occasionally gets a pitch he can drive), but a "mistake pitcher" does not last long in the big leagues.
  • When asked how the mighty Yankees lost the 1960 World Series, Yogi Berra remarked, "We made too many wrong mistakes."


"Mitt" (derived from "mitten") can refer to any type of baseball glove, though the term is officially reserved to describe the catcher's mitt and the first-baseman's mitt. Those mitts (like a mitten) have a slot for the thumb and a single sheath covering all the fingers, rather than the individual finger slots that gloves have. By rule, mitts are allowed to be worn only by the catcher and the first baseman. See the entry on glove.

mix up pitches

To be successful, most pitchers have to use a variety of pitches, and to mix them up tactically (not randomly) to keep hitters off balance. "Jackson was overwhelming. 'I was just trying to come out and be aggressive and mix my pitches up', he said. 'I've seen them in the past and I know what they can do. You have to mix it up to keep them honest'."


Commonly-used abbreviation for Major League Baseball, the organization that operates the two North American major professional baseball leagues, the American League and the National League.

money pitch

A pitcher's best pitch, or the one he throws at the most critical time. They are said to earn their pay – their money – with that pitch. Headline: "The Outlawed Spitball Was My Money Pitch".

money player

A man who is good in the clutch. Someone you can count on (or bet on) when it really matters. Sometimes the term used is simply "money", as in "Alex has really been money these last few games".


An often misused term. It refers to Michael Lewis's 2002 book. "Moneyball player" most often refers to one who has a high on-base percentage, and does not steal a lot of bases. However, the essence of the book is about running an organization effectively by identifying inefficiencies and finding undervalued assets in a given market. As an example, the so-called Moneyball teams have shifted their focus to defense and speed instead of OBP which is no longer undervalued. "Moneyball" is often seen as the antithesis of "smallball", where teams take chances on the basepaths in an attempt to "manufacture" runs. In more traditional baseball circles, evoking Moneyball to describe a player or team can be a term of derision.


A home run that is hit very high. When the Brooklyn Dodgers relocated to Los Angeles and played in the L.A. Coliseum, Wally Moon took advantage of the short distance to the left-field fence—251 feet (77 m) from home plate down the left-field line, compared to 440 feet (130 m) to the right-field fence—to hit high home runs. The ball had to be hit high in order to clear the 42-foot (13 m) high fence. For comparison, Fenway Park's famous Green Monster is 37 feet (11 m) tall. Dodgers broadcaster Jerry Doggett seems to have coined the phrase in 1959, and the rest of the media picked it up.

mop up

A mop-up pitcher or "mop-up man" is usually the bullpen's least effective reliever who comes in after the outcome of the game is almost certain. Sometimes other position players also come in to mop up in the last inning in order to gain playing experience as well as give the regulars a rest. "La Russa said Hancock's final outing was typical of a reliever whose role frequently called for mop-up duty."


  • A player who gets an extra-base hit, or who is on base when a teammate gets one, is sometimes said to "motor" for an additional base – to continue running without hesitation. "This allowed Loehrke to score, and then a miscue by Ranger right fielder Drew Orbergfell allowed Lounsbury to motor to third base".
  • "Pinch runner Brandon Varnell used his blazing speed to motor down the third base line on the fielding error by Memorial reliever Garrett Hill and slide head first into home plate to tie the game at 5-5".


The pitcher's mound is a raised section in the middle of the diamond where the pitcher stands when throwing the pitch. In Major League Baseball, a regulation mound is 18 feet (5.5 m) in diameter, with the center 59 feet (18 m) from the rear point of home plate, on the line between home plate and second base. The front edge of the pitcher's plate or rubber is 18 inches (46 cm) behind the center of the mound, making it 60 feet 6 inches (18.44 m) from the rear point of home plate. Six inches (15.2 cm) in front of the pitcher's rubber the mound begins to slope downward. The top of the rubber is to be no higher than 10 inches (25 cm) above home plate. From 1903 through 1968 this height limit was set at 15 inches, but was often slightly higher, especially for teams that emphasized pitching, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were reputed to have the highest mound in the majors.


A pitcher.


Deviations from the expected flight of a pitch that make the ball harder to hit. Can be used to refer to both fastballs and breaking balls.

mow 'em down

A pitcher who dominates the opposing hitters, allowing few if any to get on base, is said to have "mowed them down" as if they were just so much hay being cut down by a mower.


To make an error, typically on an easy play. "He muffed it. The ball went right through his legs."


Refers to a high amount of velocity on a throw or pitch. A player may be exhorted to "put some (extra) mustard on it", with "it" usually referring to a pitcher's fastball or fielder's throw.


Abbreviation for Most Valuable Player. At the end of every season, the Baseball Writers' Association of America chooses an MVP from each Major League. Typically an MVP is also chosen for each major play-off series, the World Series, and the All-Star Game.

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