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Fun Facts

The National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum is located in Cooperstown, New York. It was created in 1935 to celebrate baseball’s 100th anniversary. 

Pittsburgh and Boston played the first World Series in 1903. Boston won the nine-game series 5-3. 

Baseballs are stitched by hand with two straight needles – 108 stitches each! 

Years ago, American League baseballs were stitched with red and blue thread and the National League baseballs were stitched with red and black thread. 

Some say that the expression “southpaw” for lefties may have originated with baseball because a left-handed pitcher would end up facing south as he finished throwing the ball.  

Baltimore Oriole’s shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. didn’t miss a game in 16 years – he played in 2,632 games from 1982 to 1998.

If you are interested in the more serious aspects of baseball,
a great reference book is The Physics of Baseball by Robert K. Adler.

Baseball Terms

ACE A team's best starting pitcher.ALLEY The section of the outfield between the outfielders. Also called the gap.

AROUND THE HORN A double play going from third base to second base to first base.

ASSIST Help from a fielder in putting an offensive player out. A fielder is credited with an assist when he throws a baserunner or hitter out at a base.

AT BAT The offensive team’s turn to bat the ball and score. Each player takes a turn at bat until three outs are made. Each Batter’s opportunity at the plate is scored as an "at bat" for him

BACKDOOR SLIDER A pitch that appears to be out of the strike zone, but then breaks over the plate.

BAG A base.

BALTIMORE CHOP A ground ball that hits in front of home plate (or off of it) and takes a large hop over the infielder's head.

BATTERY Term referring to the pitcher and catcher combination.

BOX SCORE
The progression of the game as written in a series of boxes indicating hits, runs, errors and player substitutions of each inning played.

BREAKING BALL An off-speed pitch that curves.

BRONX CHEER When the crowd boos.

BRUSHBACK A pitch that nearly hits the batter.

CALLED GAME A game suspended or ended by the umpire.

CAN OF CORN An easy catch by the fielder.

CAUGHT LOOKING When a batter is called out on strikes.

CELLAR  The team in last place is considered “in the cellar”

CHANGE UP A slow-pitch thrown with the exact arm action as a fastball, designed to disrupt the timing of the hitter.

CHECKED SWING A partial swing. If the swing has gone more than halfway around, the umpire can rule it a full swing, or strike.

CHEESE A good fastball.

CHIN MUSIC A pitch that is high and inside.

CIRCUS CATCH An outstanding catch by a fielder.

CLEAN-UP HITTER Player who hits fourth in the batting order.

CLOSER Relief pitcher who specializes in pitching the last few outs of a game.  

COMPLETE GAME Statistical credit to a starting pitcher for pitching the entire game.

COUNT The number of called balls and strikes on a hitter.

CURVE Pitch that moves down, across, or down and across, depending upon the rotation of the ball.

CUTTER (CUT FASTBALL) A fastball with a late break on it.

CYCLE When a batter hits a single, double, triple and homerun in the same game.

DESIGNATED HITTER Player who bats in the pitcher’s spot in the line-up. The DH does not have a fielding position.

DINGER A homerun.

DONUT Circular shaped weight that slides over the bat. The weight is used when a player is loosening up in the on deck circle.

DOUBLE A hit that enables a batter to reach second base.

DOUBLEHEADER Two games played back to back by the same teams.

DOUBLE PLAY Any defensive play that results in two base runners being called out.

EARNED RUN A run scored on a hit, walk or steal, without benefit from a defensive error on the play.

ERROR Defensive mistake that allows a batter to stay at the plate or reach first base, or that advances a base runner.

FAST BALL A straight pitch thrown by the pitcher as hard as possible.

FAIR TERRITORY Part of the playing field within, and including the first base and third base lines, from home base to the bottom of the playing field fence and perpendicular upwards. All foul lines are in the fair territory.

FIELDER’S CHOICE Term used when a fielder can chose among base runners or throw or tag out.

FIREMAN A team's closer.

FLY BALL Batted ball that goes high in the air in flights.

FORCE OUT An out created when a runner is forced to advance because there is another runner behind them, although they will be thrown or tagged out. The defensive player needs only to touch the base being approached by the runner with the ball in hand to record the out.

FORKBALL A pitch thrown by placing the ball between the first two fingers, usually resulting in a sinking ball.

FOUL BALL A ball that lands outside the first or third base foul lines.

FOUL LINE Lines extending from home plate through 1st and 3rd base to the outfield fence and perpendicularly upwards. These lines are considered in play.

FOUL TERRITORY Part of the playing field outside the first and third base lines extended to the fence and perpendicularly upwards.

FUNGO A ball hit to a fielder during practice.

GAP The section of the outfield between the outfielders. Also called alley.

GOPHER A ball hit for a homerun.

GRAND SLAM A home run that is hit with a runner on every base. This hit scores 4 runs.

GREEN LIGHT Signal from the coach to hit the next good pitch, or a signal to a base runner that gives the runner the authority to decide when to attempt a steal.

HEAT (HEATER) A good fastball.

HIT AND RUN Play-action situation in which the batter must swing at the pitch while the base runner attempts to steal the base.

HOME RUN A ball hit out of the playing field in fair territory. A home run scores the batter and any base runners.

HOT CORNER Third base.

INTENTIONAL WALK Four balls thrown on purpose to a batter advancing the hitter to first base. Generally, executed when 1st base is empty to set-up a force play.

KNUCKLE BALL A pitch thrown by gripping one of the seams on a ball with fingernails and/or knuckles of the forefinger and middle finger with the thumb another fingers underneath the ball. The ball is pushed out of the hand by the two fingers to keep the ball from rotating, causing the ball to move in an unpredictable manner.

LINE DRIVE A ball hit in the air at a low projectory directly to a fielder or through the infield.

LINE-UP A team’s batting order and fielding positions

MENDOZA LINE A batting average of around .200. Named after Pirate shortstop Mario Mendoza.

MOUND Hill the pitcher stands on while pitching.

NO HITTER A game in which a pitcher does not allow the opposing team to reach a base via a safe hit.

ON DECK A term used to refer to the next batter up in the inning. This person stands in a designated circular area and warms up before batting.

OUT IN ORDER Retiring the first 3 batters in an inning.

OUTFIELD Area between the back edge of the infield and home run fence.

OUTFIELDER A fielder who occupies a position in the outfield, which is the playing field most distance from home base.

PASSED BALL A pitched ball missed by the catcher, allowing a runner to advance.

PERFECT GAME A game in which a pitcher does not allow any batter of the opposing team to reach base.

PICK OFF An attempt by the pitcher to get a base runner out by throwing to the base from the stretch position.

PINCH HITTER A hitter who substitutes in the line-up for a starting player. The original batter can’t return to the game, so the pinch hitter or a third person takes over the defensive position as well.

PINCH RUNNER A player entering the game to run for someone already on base.

PITCHOUT When a pitch is thrown wide of the strike zone on purpose. A catcher will signal for a pitchout if they think that a runner is trying to steal.

PITCHING ROTATION The order in which the starting pitchers take turns starting games, usually with three or four days rest between starts.

PULL HITTER A batter that generally hits to the same side of the field that he bats. (eg, righthanded pull hitter hits to the left side of the field).

PUTOUT In scoring, a fielder is credited with a putout if he receives the ball to put out a baserunner or a hitter.

RELIEF PITCHER The pitcher replacing the starting pitcher. The relief pitcher can win, lose, save, or not be involved in the game’s final score.

RUBBER A the pitching plate on the mound. The pitcher must have one foot connected to the plate while pitching to the batter. The rubber is located 60’ 6" (19.5 meters) from home plate.

RUN Score obtained when a base runner safely crosses home plate.

RUN DOWN A played used by fielders to tag out a runner caught between bases.

RUN BATTER IN (RBI) Statistics which shows how often a player has made it possible for his/her team mates to score while at bat. A player who has 30 RBI’s has caused 30 runs to be score. A batter is not credited with an RBI if he hits into a double play or if the run is scored because of an error.

RUNNER An offensive player who is advancing toward, touching, or returning to any base.

SACRIFICE BUNT A bunt designed to advance a runner although the batter will be thrown out.

SACRIFICE FLY Fly ball out that scores a runner from third base.

SAVE A relief pitcher can be credited with a save if they can keep the team’s lead while the opponent’s tying or winning runs are on base, or if they pitch 3 or more innings without allowing the opponents to tie the game.

SCORING POSITION Runner on second or third base.

SHORTSTOP Defensive player positioned between second and third bases.

SHUT OUT A game in which one team doesn’t score any runs.

SINKER A fast pitch that breaks downward as it reaches.

SLIDER A pitcher that appears to the batter as a fastball until it reaches the plate, then breaks sharply on a level plane. The ball is held similarly to the curveball, but the wrist is kept straight, like a fastball, and broken downward.

SPIT BALL Illegal pitch which a foreign substance (most commonly spit or grease) is applied to the ball causing it to react in an unpredictable manner.

STARTER The pitcher who beings the game and pitches until he wins the game or is replaced by a relief pitcher.

STEAL Attempting to advance a base between pitches without the batter hitting the ball or getting a base on balls.

STOLEN BASE Successfully advancing a base between pitches without the batter hitting the ball or getting a base on balls.

STRIKE ZONE The area over home plate between the batter’s armpits and knees when the batter is positioned to swing. Any pitch that is delivered through this area is called a strike.

SUICIDE SQUEEZE PLAY A play in which a runner on third breaks toward home on the pitch and the batter’s responsibility is to bunt the ball allowing the runner to score.

SWITCH-HITTER Player who is able to bat left-handed or right-handed. A switch-hitter will bat from the opposite side in which the pitchers throws.

TAG 1. An action runners must perform before they can advance on a fly ball. Runners must touch the base they occupy after the ball is caught before they can try to advance. Runners can leave their base before a ball it hit, but must return and touch the base if the ball is caught. 2. An action executed when a defensive player touches a runner with the ball in an attempt to get them out.

TATER A homerun.

TEXAS LEAGUER A bloop hit that drops between the infielder and outfielder.

TRIPLE PLAY A defensive play that records 3 outs.

UNCLE CHARLIE A curve ball

UTILITY PLAYER A player who fills in in many positions.

WHEELHOUSE A hitters power zone.

WHIFF A strike out.

WILD PITCH A pitch so far from the strike zone that the catcher cannot catch or block it, permitting any base runner to advance a base.

YAKKER A curve ball.


 

Throwing

The objective of any throw is to hit the target provided. Generally, on a force play or cut-off throw the goal is to make the throw to the chest area of your target. On a tag play, the throw should be made roughly (6 inches) above the dirt on the side of the base the tag is to be made.

If the throws consistently hit the mark, the throwing mechanics are most probably very good. However, if missing the mark is a regular occurrence, then mechanics most likely need correcting.

Factors to consider in having good throwing mechanics are:
1 - Grip;
2 - Stance;
3 - Arm Action and Follow-through.

With reference to grip, assuming the hands are big enough, the index and middle fingers should be on top of the ball roughly (.5-.75 inches) apart at the tips of the fingers. The thumb should be located underneath the ball positioned between the index and middle finger. In terms of depth, the ball should be held on the finger tips so that a pocket of air exists between the palm and the ball. Finally, the ball should be held with a four seem grip (top fingers should be positioned perpendicular to the horse shoe formation of the seams). The four seam grip promotes the straightest flight for the ball, thereby, increasing the probability of an accurate throw. A two seam grip (holding the ball along two seams) promotes lateral ball movement and makes it more difficult to throw a straight ball.

With respect to stance, other than having the feet roughly shoulder-width apart and the weight on the balls of your feet, the most important factor is to point the glove shoulder at the target, in much the same manner a quarterback would. Therefore, a right-handed thrower would point his/her left shoulder at the target.

It is difficult to discuss arm action and follow through simply through words and images. There are numerous variables to consider. The two most important components, however, are throwing elbow positioning and follow-through path.

In order to minimize the strain on the throwing elbow the position of the elbow during the forward motion as it moves past the body should be at shoulder height or slightly higher (regardless of the throwing action is "over the top" or "three quarters"). If the elbow is below shoulder height it is only a matter of time until elbow injuries occur.

In reference to follow through it is extremely important the arm finish the path it has begun. Generally speaking, the arm should finish going by the left hip (if the thrower is throwing with his right hand). In doing so, the muscles generating the arm movement are allowed to maximize acceleration and efficiently decelerate the arm in a safe manner. Not allowing the arm to follow its natural follow through path forces many of the muscles to work extra hard to slow down the arm. This can result in injury and is one aspect of what is referred to as "short-arming the ball".

Therefore, to achieve good throwing mechanics the player must start with a good grip (four seam), point his/her glove shoulder at the intended target, while keeping a solid balanced stance and execute safe arm action and follow through.

The objective of any throw is to hit the target provided. Generally, on a force play or cut-off throw the goal is to make the throw to the chest area of your target. On a tag play, the throw should be made roughly (6 inches) above the dirt on the side of the base the tag is to be made.

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Dropping The Rear Shoulder: A Common Hitting Error

According to Jerry Kindall, coach of the U. of Arizona baseball team, dropping the rear shoulder at the start of the swing is one of the three most common batting errors.

This mistake results in poor visual contact with the ball-especially during the final, critical 20 feet to the plate. It also produces a weak, upward swing path.

Why? Because dropping the back shoulder causes the front shoulder to move upwards and away from the pitch. It also lifts the head, producing a loss of focus on the ball. Finally, the back elbow drops with the shoulder, resulting in a weak, pushing, upward swing path.

How to Correct

If your batters are having this problem, instruct them to lift their back elbow a little higher while waiting for the pitch. And tell them to keep their front shoulder pointed towards the incoming ball as long as possible before starting their swing.

These corrections will help them to keep their shoulders level and their head motionless for better eye-focus on the ball.
 

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