The Glossary of the Most Important Baseball Terms

You cannot follow any game unless you know what the terms mean. It is like knowing a language. You might be familiar with the grammar of the language, but that really does not mean much if you do not have a large enough vocabulary to use that grammar on. It is very similar with sports. 

You need to know what some of the terms mean in order to spectate a sport and actually enjoy it, and not spend time searching for what the term means. Or even worse, asking people around you to explain, particularly when it’s a heated game. Baseball has its own terms and in order to better understand and follow the game, here they are, in no particular order.

An Inning

Innings are important in baseball, they are basically units of play. There is a top and a bottom half where each team takes turns to attack or pitch, and defend or bat. Each team attacks or defends until three outs are made.

An out is when either the attacking or defending team makes a foul, basically. Now what those fouls are, would make for a very long list. Each game of baseball has 9 innings, with no ties allowed. One team must win, either way.


Pitching is one of the key elements of baseball, when one team attacks. The pitcher stands on the pitcher’s mound and throws the ball towards the opposing batter. The pitcher’s goal is to throw a valid ball and for the batter to miss it, or hit it poorly enough so that they get a foul, eventually leading to an out. Both teams get to pitch nine times, because there are 9 innings and every team gets to be the attacking team once per inning.

A Home Run

A home run is when the batter runs over all the bases successfully, after hitting the ball. Home runs can be tight if the ball is not hit well enough, and the opposing team’s catchers get it, and then out the batter. If the ball flies in the stands, which happens from time to time, then a home run is guaranteed and the battery can do a little victory lap.

Home runs is what you want to see as a baseball fan, particularly if you like the defending team.


The bases are the small plates that surround the pitching mound. Bases are 90 feet apart between each other and there are 3 of them, plus the home plate. The bases are named first, second and third base, as well as the home plate. They are played around, where the batter needs to get to any of the bases after a successful hit, always in the same order, first, second and then third, with the goal of going full circle, back to the home plate.

Bugs Bunny change-up

This is an interesting one, because it refers to a very slow pitch where the ball appears to be much faster. It is a reference to a cartoon where Bugs Bunny does exactly that, essentially striking out the batter.

Baseball is full of slang terms, not to mention the variety in terms, from country to country. Some terms have at least three synonyms, so do not be discouraged if you do not get everything baseball-related during your spectated match, even if you did learn some mandatory baseball terms.