Baseball is an American tradition: do you know the rules and the main vocabulary words you need to understand the game? Learn this baseball vocabulary for English learners and you will easily be able to understand a baseball game.
Would you like to go to a baseball game? IEC@DVC often offers students the chance to see a professional game. The San Francisco Bay Area is home to the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s: come watch a game with us! Ask the Activities Coordinator if IEC@DVC has a baseball excursion planned soon.
Baseball Vocabulary for English Learners
The object of the game of baseball is to score more points (called “runs”) than the other team. Each team has nine turns (called “innings”) to score as many runs as they can.
An inning is over when the team gets three “outs.” An “out” is the end of a play. It occurs:
- When a player has three strikes
- When a player does not reach a base before the ball
- When a player is touched by the person holding the ball before the player reaches a base.
- When a player catches a fly ball before it touches the ground
- At bat: The period of time when it is a player’s turn to hit the ball.
- Swing: When a batter tries to hit the ball.
- Strike: When a player tries to hit the ball but misses. A player can do this three times during each time batting.
- Fly ball: A ball that is hit into the air.
- Ground ball/grounder: A ball that is hit onto the ground.
- Foul ball: A ball that is hit outside of the lines of the field. A player can still catch this ball and then the batter is out.
- Tag: When a player is trying to run to a base and someone from the other team touches this player with the ball.
- Slide: When a player runs and then drops to the ground to avoid getting tagged by another player.
- Hit: When a player makes contact with the ball.
- Homerun: When a batter hits a ball outside of the park so it cannot be caught or when a batter hits the ball and can run around all of the bases before the ball is thrown to home plate.
- Single: A hit that allows the batter to reach first base.
- Double A hit that allows the batter to reach second base.
- Triple: A hit that allows the batter to reach third base.
- Run: A point in baseball is called a “run.”
Positions and people
- Batter: The person who is trying to hit the ball.
- Pitcher: The person throwing (pitching) the ball.
- Catcher: The person who catches the ball.
- Infielder: A person in the area of the field that is dirt.
- Outfielder: A person in the area of the field that is grass.
- 1st baseman, 2nd baseman, 3rd baseman: The players who play closest to these bases.
Equipment/parts of the field
- Glove: A leather piece that goes over the hand and catches the ball.
- Cleats: Shoes with spikes on the bottom. They help the players run quicker on dirt and grass.
- Helmet: The hard “hat” people wear while batting or running the bases.
- Base(s): The square white markers that players must touch to be “safe.” There are three: 1st base, 2nd base, and 3rd base.
- Home plate: The white marker where the batter stands to hit the ball. When a player touches all the bases and then home plate, they score a “run” (see definition for “run” below).
- Dugout: The area where players sit when they are not on the field.
- Batter’s box: The area where the next player to hit the ball waits.
- Infield: The area of the field with dirt.
- Outfield: The area of field with grass.
Do you love baseball? Check out our article Baseball Idioms for English Learners!