15 Weird Phrases Only Softball Players Will Understand

As a kid, it seems like almost every activity you participate in comes with a slew of subject-specific jargon. In theater, you learn that your left is really the stage's right and a cold read has nothing to do with heat and that being in the chorus doesn't mean you necessarily get to sing. But in softball, the slang I picked up was obscure. Most of the phrases had nothing to do with logic, many of the terms were just fun words that early players picked out and assigned to plays. For example in softball, "pickle" is a real term. And it's got nothing to do with vegetables or vinegar.

When you play for so long and everyone on your team participates in the lingo, you get used to it and make sense of it. But as an adult, looking back on the things we used to scream through the wire hole of the dugout, were nonsensical. It was like our own secret language among the players. In baseball, it's easier to be sleuth. They have fancy hand gestures for communicating between the pitcher and the catcher, but in softball, there aren't really a variety of pitches than can be used. It's all underhand. So in softball, the exchanges are audibly coded. And each team takes their own variation to throw the other team off. A coach isn't going to yell across the field at their player to steal a base and tip off the defense. They're going to use code words. And most likely, they're going to be nuts.

Here are a few of my favorite weird softball phrases:

Choke up

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This means to raise your grip in order to have better control of the bat. It sounds like a negative thing, but it's actually a positive reminder.

Bunt

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It's a tricky move that calls for a half swing, allowing the ball to hit the bat and bounce off it...which makes the infield have to run towards the batter to catch it, giving the batter time to sprint to first.

Dinger

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The word doesn't sound as epic as its meaning. A dinger is a home run.

Frozen rope

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No idea how this got its name. It's a line drive, which is a very powerful hit. We'd chant "frozen rope" when one of our strong players came to bat.

Married to the bag

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Sounds like a Fetty Wap lyric, but it actually just means when a player is scared to move away from the base. I was definitely an anxious kid and married to that bag.

Raspberry

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Softballs are not soft. When you get hit with one, your skin immediately gets pink and irritated. It looks like a raspberry for a few minutes, until it turns into a dark blueberry!

Snow coning

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A delicious summer treat, and a term for when you catch the ball in the tip of your mitt.

Windmill

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OK, this one kinda makes sense. It's the way we pitch in softball, swinging your arm in a full circle, like a windmill.

Good girls steal

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This one came in around middle school when we started to feel sassy. We'd chant it from the dugout when our team mates were all on bases, encouraging them to take the risk and step off the plate to steal.

We want a pitcher not a belly-itcher

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This usually came from the audience. Someone in the bleachers would undoubtedly chant this dated phrase at the first chance they got to ridicule the pitcher.

We want a catcher not a back-scratcher

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Catchers don't catch everything. It's just not always possible. But when they do miss a ball, the bleacher creatures love to chant this.

The game might be called softball, but we're here to play hardball

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We'd say this to other athletes. We hated the word "soft" — it made it seem like because we were girls, we had to use a different ball.

I ain't afraid of no ball

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It's the quote from Ghost Busters, but when a pitcher was particularly wild, we'd say this over our shoulder to our team.

Not for softies

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Anytime anyone cried, they got this reminder.

There's no place like home

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When you hit home base with time to spare and can take a minute to bask in your glory.

Images: Giphy (15)