Translating World Series Jargon, From Flashing Leather to Rally Squirrel

The Cardinals beat the Rangers in Game One of the Fall Classic last night, but did you understand what the announcers were talking about? A list of terms to learn before Game Two.



The World Series always draws new and casual fans to the game, and those fans can occasionally be mystified by baseball's colorful and ever-evolving glossary of slang and jargon, or "slargon." We've defined a few of the more pernicious terms, all culled from last night's FOX Sports' broadcast of Game One, by Joe Buck and Tim McCarver—the start of the pair's 14th straight World Series together.

Appeal: What Joe Buck does not have very much of. That relentless monotone is back in full-force, as is the ever-present air of smug condescension. Especially not appealing, and very bizarre, was Buck's choice at the top of last night's broadcast to acknowledge that he is (ahem) not beloved by hardcore baseball fans by offering up a fake apology for still being on the air, then following up with a 16-year-old-who's-daddy-bought-him-a-Porsche grin.

Away: Slang for "outs." If there are two outs in an inning, for instance, there are "two away." Also, where Cardinals superstar hitter Albert Pujols will soon go.

Balk: An illegal motion by the pitcher when one or more runners are on base, entitling all runners to advance one base. Also, what viewers did every time that Ashton Kutcher commercial came on where he stalks and prances in beachwear.

Bunting: Red, white, and blue decorations traditionally hung around stadiums during the postseason. Also what Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter can't do.

Epitaph: A gravestone inscription, and Tim McCarver's best moment of the night—the former long-time catcher claimed his epitaph would be "Pitchers Did This."

Flashing leather: Get your minds out of the gutter, people. To flash leather is to play good defense. Jeez.

Inheritance: Something you get from others, like the base-runners Rangers reliever Alexi Ogando got from starter C.J. Wilson with two outs in the sixth, or the broadcasting career that Joe Buck got from his dad.

Busch : A stadium in St. Louis made of a maroon-ish brick that clashes with the Cards' signature shade of red. Also, a beverage that Red Sox players may or may not have consumed in the clubhouse during their epic season-ending collapse.

Batter's box: The white chalk rectangles around home plate that batters may leave after each pitch in order to think about the next pitch, readjust their helmet, socks, and batting gloves, or perhaps simply to muse idly upon the little birds.

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Hampton Stevens is a writer based in Kansas City, Missouri. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, ESPN the Magazine, Playboy, Gawker, Maxim, and many more publications.

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