Tan: The latest in baseball lingo

From SABR member Cecilia Tan at Baseball Prospectus on January 24, 2012:

New [baseball] terms seem to me to arise from three distinct populations: the players, the scouts and sabermetricians, and the media. The players and coaches use specialized language among themselves for teaching purposes but also as part of the sociological fabric of the clubhouse. Slang terms define cultural boundaries, as well as generational ones, and current players want to seem “hip” to the language of their peers. The “dinger” or “round-tripper” of the past became the “big fly” in the 1980s. What was a “nasty” pitch in the 1980s had become a “filthy” one by the year 2000. The first player I heard describe a changeup as a “Bugs Bunny ball” was Jason Giambi, who said it came from a Looney Tunes cartoon that ballparks often show during rain delays in which Bugs strikes out the whole lineup with a pitch so slow that all three men swing at it three times each as it floats by.


Much of my time this winter has been spent huddled not over the Hot Stove, but my laptop, editing the forthcoming Baseball Prospectus 2012. The BP Annual combines the efforts of a full roster, 25 people, and each writer comes from a different background. Some started in newspapers, some in blogs, some have writing degrees, some have scouting experience. All these voices strive to make the annual readable and fun. I couldn’t help but notice quite a number of colorful terms in use throughout the book, terms that are not yet found in the Dickson Baseball Dictionary. I thought it would be fun to share some with you.

So here you have it, a collection of cutting-edge baseball terms from BP’s writers, some of which might make their way into common parlance (and Dickson’s next edition), or which might not.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15889

Originally published: January 24, 2012. Last Updated: January 24, 2012.