Are you curious about baseball? We have the answers to all of your MLB (Major League Baseball) queries.
What does the phrase "Can of corn" mean?
- Can of corn is a phrase used to describe a high pop up ball that's easy to catch. It doesn't require a lot of effort from the defensive player. Now why is it called that? The story says it's because in the grocery stores corn was on the top shelf (thanks to alphabetizing the veggies). Therefore when someone needed a can of corn the grocer would knock it down and catch it with ease.
Please give me the basics so I know what’s going on when I watch a game.
- There are three outs per inning in a nine-inning game. Should the game be tied at the end of nine innings, the game will go into extra innings.
- The visiting team is always listed first on the scoreboard and they also hit first. (Think: letting your guests go first).
- Four balls equal a walk and three strikes equal a strikeout. The number of balls a batter has is always listed first on the scoreboard with strikes second. (Balls-strikes)
How long is the MLB baseball season?
- The MLB season is the longest regular season in professional sports with 162 games. Baseball is only major professional sport to start and finish the season in the same calendar year.
What are the American and National League?
- MLB is divided into two leagues – NL (National League) and AL (American League). What’s the difference? In the NL pitchers bat for themselves. In the AL, pitchers don’t hit. They have a designated hitter (a player who only hits, doesn’t play a field position) to hit for them.
What is interleague play?
- Interleague Play refers to special occasion where the American League and National League play each other. Normally the teams only play within their respective league. The league of the home team determines whether a designated hitter is used or not.
Why do the broadcasters refer to numbers when talking about a defensive play?
- There are nine players on defense (out in the field). Each position has a name but is also referred to as number, 1-9. While watching baseball, you may here of a 4-6-3 defensive play. That means the ball went to the second baseman, to the shortstop to the first baseman for a double play. Here's a deeper dive into the name and number breakdown.
Where is the 2018 All-Star Game?
- The All-Star Game marks the midway point of the season. This year's festivities will be held in the home of the Washington Nationals in Washington, D.C. on July 16-17th. The All-Star weekend includes the famed Home Run Derby as well as the All-Star Game and other shenanigans.
What are the different letter “K’s” I see on the broadcast and why are some of them backwards?
- Strikeouts are measured by “K’s” on the game broadcast and throughout stadium. A forward-facing K means the player struck out swinging (and missed). A backwards K means strikeout looking (i.e. they didn’t swing and were called out by the umpire). Photo.
How does the league keep teams competitive and the season interesting year after year?
- MLB does not have a salary cap like other professional leagues. Instead MLB has a Competitive Balance Tax or “luxury tax.” Once a team’s annual player payroll hits a certain number (this year it’s $195 million), they are taxed. The tax was put in place so big market teams (think: New York Yankees) wouldn’t sign all of the best players, leaving the small market teams at a competitive disadvantage. Where does the tax money go? Find out more here.
What is a grand slam?
- Yes, a grand slam is a meal at Denny’s but in baseball it’s when there are runners on all three bases (first, second and third) and the batter hits a home run which equals four runs scored.
Baseball players are called the boys of summer, but why?
- Baseball is the only sport that spans the entire summer.
What’s an intentional walk?
- An intentional walk is when a pitcher intentionally throws four balls outside the strike zone to walk a hitter. (It’s a strategy thing). To help speed up games a new rule has been implemented this year. The new “intentional walk rule,” allows teams to signal for the walk and not waste time on throwing the four the pitches.
Why are there Nets in front of the dugouts? I don't remember those.
Last season there were a handful of serious injuries from foul balls into the stands. They’re especially dangerous in those seats behind the dugout because there’s no net and the ball is coming at seriously fast speeds (95+ mph). This season all 30 teams have extended the home plate nets past the dugout to avoid those deadly balls from flying at your head.
This is all great but I’m not exactly sure how to dive into the baseball conversation.
- Don’t worry, we have you covered. Check out our Office Guide to Baseball Small Talk.