Figuring out athletic terms and phrases can be easy or extremely confusing. 

When you think you know something, you end up finding out that it may or may not have been completely wrong. 

Luckily, this column can shed some light on some weird terms that can make a non-sports follower a little more aware of the sports world. 

This week, I’m going to focus on baseball terms because we all know there are plenty of terms for this sport. 

I just barely started learning baseball related terms, so why not learn them together? 

Some baseball terms that I’m sure you are all excited to learn are ace, balk, base on balls, broken bat, chopper, doctoring the ball, fork ball, fungo, heater, painting the corners, slugger and whiff.

Ace means the best starting pitcher on the team. In many ways, any baseball pitcher wants to be this.

Balk describes that action of the pitcher not throwing a pitch after starting the pitching motion. 

This action can result in runners being awarded an extra base or being tricked into running, and possibly getting out. 

Base on balls is if the pitcher throws four balls before recording an out (or three strikes), then the hitter gets to walk and earns a free base. Who likes when a pitcher walks a player?

A broken bat is when a bat shatters when hitting the ball, a term that often goes along with this phrase, “No one likes broken bats, but everyone likes new bats.” 

Chopper refers to a ball that was hit hard into the ground. It can also refer to a ground ball, which means that exact same thing. 

Doctoring the ball is when a pitcher places illegal substances on a ball in order to make it move more. If you ask me what illegal substances, I’d say saliva or Vaseline. 

Sometimes the ball is scuffed with sandpaper in order to affect its delivery to the batter. A.K.A, don’t do this. 

A fork ball is a split finger fastball pitch, which is usually thrown with no wrist motion and drops at the feet of the hitter.

Fungo or fungos are long, skinny bats that are used by the coaches during practice. Usually used for practice drills or pre-defensive warm-ups. 

A heater is a fastball. Well, wasn’t that easy?

Painting the corner refers to when a pitcher locates their pitches at the edge of the strike zone. 

Slugger, a strange term, is a hitter who collects a lot of homeruns or extra base hits. 

And, finally, whiff, which I’m sure you are can relate to and are knowledgeable about, is when you completely miss the ball when you’re at bat. Believe me, I’ve been there, and done that, multiple times. 

All these terms can be found at, under baseball terms. 

Hopefully, you’ve learned just as much as I have and can follow a baseball game next time you get around to watching one. 

Caroline Perry can be contacted at

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