Baseball is team game that is played on a diamond-shaped field with 4 bases. Each team has 9 players and the aim is to hit a ball with a bat and then run around the bases to score points.​

Baseball idioms and expressions

Many idioms originated from baseball and here is a list of them with examples.

baseball expressions and sayings

ballpark figure

meaning – an approximate figure
example – The ballpark figure is 500 guests, it could be a lot more.

ballpark figure

bat for someone

meaning – support/help/defend someone
example – Do you think you could bat for me and speak to your boss? I really need this job.

bat for someone

bat for the other team

meaning – homosexual
example – Do you think Stanley bats for the other team? He’s never had a girlfriend.

baseball idioms - bat for the other team

drop the ball

meaning – make a mistake, neglect someone/something
example – I dropped the ball! The buyer pulled out last minute, I’m in big trouble.

drop the ball meaning and example

first base

meaning – kissing
example – I’ve been flirting outrageously with a guy at work. I think we’ll reach first base soon.

baseball idioms - first base

hit a home run

meaning – do something that is very successful
example – Our latest product is selling like crazy. We’ve hit a home run.

baseball expressions - hit a home run

in full swing

meaning – operating fully, the level of activity is at its highest
example – I love this time of year; the football season is in full swing.

baseball expressions - in full swing

keep one’s eye on the ball

meaning – stay focused
example – We need to keep out eye on the ball, our final exams start in a month.

baseball sayings - keep one’s eye on the ball

knock it out of the park

meaning – do something very well
example – He needs to knock it out of the park with his next few shots.

baseball idioms - knock it out of the park

off base

meaning – incorrect, mistaken
example – You seem a little off base today class. Perhaps because we’re nearing the end of term.

off base

on a winning streak

meaning – had lots of recent successes
example – I might buy a lottery ticket, I’m on a winning streak at the moment.

baseball expressions - on a winning streak

on the ball

meaning – alert, focused, efficient
example – You haven’t been on the ball recently. Are you having problems at home?

baseball expressions - on the ball

pitch an idea

meaning – offer ideas to be discussed
example – I pitched a few holiday ideas to the missus, but she didn’t like any of them.

baseball sayings - pitch an idea

play hardball

meaning – be ruthless and do anything necessary to get what you want
example – Let’s play hardball with the suspect. We need to find out where he dumped the body.

baseball sayings - play hardball meaning and example

right off the bat

meaning – immediately, from the beginning
example – I knew right off the bat it was a bad idea.

right off the bat

step up to the plate

meaning – come forward and take responsibility especially in times of crisis
example – Two employees have quit. I need everyone to step up to the plate to ensure orders are done.

step up to the plate

strike a chord

meaning – trigger a reaction/emotion/response
example – I’m hoping my article on knife crime will strike a chord with younger readers.

strike a chord meaning and example

strike out

meaning – put a line through text or do something new
example – Please strike out any food you have an allergy to.

baseball sayings - strike out

take a rain check

meaning – a nice way of refusing an invitation on this particular occasion
example – Can I take a rain check on drinks after work? I`ve had a really tough day.

baseball expressions - take a rain check

three strikes and you’re out

meaning – after you commit three offences, you will be punished
example – I need to behave at school this term. They are bringing in a three strikes and you’re out rule.

baseball sayings - three strikes and you’re out

throw a curveball

meaning – surprise someone with a problem/situation/issue etc. which causes difficulties
example – She threw me a curveball and told me she was 4 months pregnant.

baseball sayings - throw a curveball

touch base

meaning – communicate with someone
example – The camping trip was great, I got to touch base with some old friends.

baseball expressions - touch base

You can download a table of baseball idioms and expressions below.

If you’ve enjoyed this page, don’t forget to check out some more sports idioms by clicking on the links below.