Baseball lingo: can you talk the talk?

5 o’clock hitter– Every now and then you’ll hear someone referred to as a ‘five o’clock hitter.’ Considering that this could be a confusing term for a lot of folks, we thought we’d explain this one. A term born from professional baseball (where most games are played at 7 p.m.) where batting practice is typically held around 5 p.m., a five o’clock hitter is one that can impress everyone during BP, but when the lights come on, not so much.

Bullpen- There’s been a lot of speculation (and a handful of reasonable theories) for why the area where relief pitchers hang out and warm up is called the “bullpen.” A solid internet search will likely lead you to a piece that David Israel did on mentalfloss.com, which is just about the most expansive breakdown of this funny term. Here’s a summary one of his six theories (for the full article, visit http://mentalfloss.com/article/23013/6-theories-origin-bullpen):

Tickets were often available at highly discounted rates in the 1800s, and fans would gather in a roped-off area in anticipation of saving a few bucks and catching some baseball. This area, according to Israel, was actually on the field (in foul territory, of course). With these fans being treated much like ‘cattle in a pen’ and the fact that eventually (as relief pitchers became more of a regular occurrence during games), this area was used as an area for pitchers to prepare to enter games, we come up with what we now know as the bullpen.

Punch and Judy hitter- If you or someone you love has ever been referred to as a “Punch and Judy” hitter, you may not want to read the rest of this one. The term, which in baseball means a weak hitter, was developed from an old-time puppet show called ‘Punch and Judy.’ Inside Pitch conducted an investigative search as to what the connection could be from a light-hitting player and a puppet show and wasn’t able to find many solid links. We’ll just chalk this one up as one of those old-time baseball terms that just don’t make a whole lot of sense!

Yicketty– our great game will certainly miss Chipper Jones, a likely Hall of Famer who retired after the 2012 season. However there is a silver lining to this cloud, as the lifelong Atlanta Brave has been entertaining fans with his recently created Twitter account, @RealCJ10 (he’s already well over a quarter-million followers). He rolled out this tweet last July and enlightened enthusiasts with a couple new terms:

“Mike b and jhey go yicketty! The roadrunner went mammo! And the Bravos have a winning road trip”

Chipper clarified in a later tweet that “yicketty means homer! mammo means big bomb”

In layman’s terms, Jones was recapping that “Michael Bourn and Jason Heyward hit home runs! Juan Francisco (evidently referred to as the ‘roadrunner’) hit a big bomb! And the Braves have a winning road trip.”

So to review, you can have a yicketty without having a mammo, but you can’t have a mammo without going yicketty. Furthermore, Punch and Judy hitters are not likely to ever go yicketty, and five o’clock hitters may hit a few mammos in BP, but don’t look for them to do much during the game, especially when the bullpen is involved!

Need some clarification on baseball terminology? Have a good one you’ve made up on your own? Let us know at insidepitchmag@gmail.com!

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