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Monday, April 15, 2013

5-4-3? What Does That Mean?

As a teenager (I was about 14-ish, I think), I sat on the edge of my bed and watched Ken Burns’ baseball every night for nine innings.  That’s how he broke up the documentary, into nine episodes that he called innings, keeping on topic.  And even then I thought to myself, “I’m the only person I know doing this right now, aren’t I?” and I was; definitely the only person my age and gender.  But I hardly cared…I found the history of the game fascinating…

My boy band consisted of Cy Young, Honus Wagner, Shoeless Joe,
Joltin' Joe (he was the heartthrob), and Roberto Clemente. 
NOT TO FEAR!  I am not gonna go Ken Burns on you.  I just brought it up to say that some baseball terminology is over 100 years old, literally.  And so, some of it makes no sense.  It may have in 1890, not so much in 2013.  

Before I forget, here's a link to the Ken Burns' Baseball DVDs if you’re interested, I swear it’s worth your time. 

What I AM gonna do though, is get you up-to-speed on what the hell we’re talking about here at 162+, because we sometimes have a tendency to assume you know what a 5-4-3 DP is…and other fun terms. 

And without further ado...

Here are some basic terms and abbreviations based on baseball’s scoring system, meaning how the “official scorer” records different happenings throughout the course of the game:

K – Strike out

Backwards K – Strike out looking

It's actually a backward K though; not the words "backward K" Haha.

IP - Innings Pitched

ERA – Earned Run Average – The average number of runs a pitcher gives up in 9 innings

BB – Walk

IBB – Intentional Walk

HBP - Hit By Pitch

Did Greinke really think he was going to win that fight?
LOB - Left On Base - As in runners left on base without scoring. *Unfortunately Arlington, TX is becoming LOB City*

WP - Wild Pitch – A pitch that travels past the catcher, due to the pitcher throwing it too high, wide, or in the dirt, allowing base runner(s) to advance to the next base.

PB -  Passed Ball – Also a pitch that gets away from a catcher allowing base runner(s) to move up, only this time, it’s the catcher’s fault and the official scorer deems that the ball “should” have been handled by the catcher

If you're wondering if it's a WP or PB, ask yourself, "Did Tim Wakefield throw it?"
DP – Double Play – A double play occurs when two outs are recorded on one play

GIDP – Ground Into Double Play *We need to create a tune for this...then it can become a ballpark chant for opposing teams!*

5-4-3 Double Play – Each baseball position is numbered for scoring purposes, like so:

So, 5-4-3 means the ball went from the 3rd baseman (5) to the 2nd baseman (4) to the 1st baseman (3) for the two outs.  And a 6-4-3 double playis translated the same way, with the shortstop (6) replacing the 3rd baseman (5)

Here's different group of terms which consists of popular terms that fans/broadcasters use, which are not necessarily related to official game scoring, but are usually universally recognized among other fans and may be more useful when watching the game:

RISP – Runners In Scoring Position – Base runners on 2nd and/or 3rd base 

Ducks On The Pond - Ditto to the RISP *And the Barry Bonds version (on steroids) of "ducks on the pond" is when the bases are loaded*

Elvis letting the bench know that there are now Ducks On The Pond (circa Summer '11)

This one even got so popular in the Metroplex that they made t-shirts!  You have one, don't you?

Hat Trick – 3 strike outs in one game by a single player

Golden Sombrero – 4 strike outs in one game by a single player

Getaway Game – Last game before a team leaves town; generally a day game

Double-Header – 2 back-to-back games played in one day

Day/Night Double – Header – 2 games in one day, but with more time in between the games than a traditional double-header; usually a 1PM and 7PM start or similar

Can of Corn – An easy to catch fly ball *Here's one of the 100-year old terms I was telling you about*

Hot Corner – 3rd base…because the balls come hard and fast at 3rd base *That’s what she said*

Keystone Combo – The 2nd baseman and shortstop makeup your keystone combo.  The bag at second base is the “keystone” or pinnacle of the field in terms of scoring position or defensive plays and the 2nd baseman and SS both record outs there or work together to turn DPs there. 

My favorite Keystone Combo.  (And by the looks of it, they're each other's favorite too)

Battery – The pitcher and the catcher make up the battery

And here is my favorite "battery" in action.  And, YES, the pun is intended.   Assault and battery?  NO?

Rubber Game/Match – The final and deciding game of a series.  *EX:  If Team A wins game 1 and Team B wins game 2, game 3 of the series is the rubber game*

Texas Leaguer –  This is your classic bloop single; a weekly hit fly ball that falls in between the infielders and outfielders

Baltimore Chop – A ball batted straight into the ground in front of home plate so that it pops up, either above the head of the infielder or so high that the runner has time to run it out for a single.

DFA/DFA’d – Designated For Assignment – This means you’re off the big league roster and the team has to decide what to do with you:  put you back on the roster, trade you, or release you.

  There's a reason he's pictured between "DFA'd" and "Mendoza Line"
Mendoza Line – Anyone with a batting average under .200 is said to be hitting below the “Mendoza Line”. *You’ll be happy to know that this measurement of mediocrity is named for Mario Mendoza, a one-time Texas Ranger*

12-6/Uncle Charlie – There are about 1289795 names for a big breaking curve ball, these are two of them.  12-6 as in you’re looking at a clock and the ball drops (breaks) sharply from 12 to 6.
*Don’task me where Uncle Charlie came from…but, it’s the same thing*

Backdoor Breaking Ball – A breaking pitch of any kind (but usually slider or cutter) that looks like it’s going to miss the strike zone initially, but breaks late laterally to catch the outer edge and back-side (or back door) of the strike zone. *Who can forget this gem from the Rangers broadcast team:  "How do you know when you’ve been back-doored?”*

The Stretch/7th Inning Stretch – This is an old baseball tradition in which fans stand up and “stretch” between the top and the bottom of the 7th inning.  It’s also when the whole ballpark sings “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” *AND the Cotton-Eyed Joe for Rangers fans*
Shut Down Inning  - When a team scores in their half of an inning and allows no runs in the opponent's half of the inning, shutting them down. * Great way to build or maintain momentum in a game*

Cycle – When a player hits a single, double, triple, and home run in one game.  *It's called a "Natural Cycle" when they hit them in that exact order*
Of course you remember Kins' 6-for-6 cycle night, right?

5-Tool Player
– One that has all of the tools necessary for baseball dominance.  
So what are the “5 Tools”? 

1. Hit for average
2. Hit for power
3. Base running skills
4. Good defender
5. Good throwing arm

If you're bored, Google it...and this will come up:

That's all I got for now.  If you found Baseball 101 easy, be sure and sign up for Baseball 601 for more advanced terms like "the infield fly rule" and "catcher's interference"...coming Summer 2013!

13 down, 149.  Bring it, Cubbies!

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