The internet slang baseball dictionary

All the terms too weird for normal conversation

April 12th, 2020
Tom Forget /

Baseball fans have always loved jargon. From the very start of the game, terms like "butcher boy," "can of corn," and "Texas leaguer" have been used -- and have only grown stranger since then.

While there are fantastic glossaries that can get you up to speed with the most important terms and advanced stats -- author Paul Dickson penned an entire dictionary that has the etymology of some of the oldest and strangest phrases in baseball history -- language is constantly evolving. It only changes and distorts faster online and on social media, as fans twist the language in ways that no one could have ever expected.

Want to talk about baseball online, but have no idea what Team Entropy is or why everyone is talking about crab rangoon? Then read on and let this list be your guide:

Barves: The internet's favorite thing is a slight misspelling or mispronunciation repeated ad nauseum. Barves may have originally been used when a Braves player committed a blooper or the team blew a lead, it can now be used at any time or for any thing.

Baseball Twitter: The term for the people obsessed with the game who are perpetually online.

#CantPredictBaseball: Fairly self-explanatory, this hashtag and phrase can be used whenever baseball amazes. Like, say, when a position player strikes out a star hitter, or Bartolo Colon hits a home run.

Crab Rangoon: I can't totally explain this, but it's basically a satirization of ESPN First Take's Stephen A. Smith by writer David Roth -- and has now taken on a life of its own. While not restricted to just baseball fans, if you spend enough time on Twitter, you can't avoid it -- and you'll never be able to order Chinese takeout again without this springing to mind.

Dadhat: The cap companies have tried to reclaim this term and make it refer to those unstructured, relaxed-fit hats. But among those on Baseball Twitter, the term refers to players in those puffy caps that seemed to defy gravity atop the heads of ballplayers. They were most common in the 1980s and '90s, but you can still find a few in the game today.

Edwing: When Edwin Encarnación hits a home run, he rounds the bases with his arm up, as if a parrot were perched upon his arm. This soon became known as the Edwing, and can -- at times -- be called "walking the parrot."

The origin is a little different. As Encarnación explained in 2015, "When I hit the grand slam I got excited and rounded the bases from the side, turning like an airplane," said Encarnacion. "My teammates liked it and said I should keep doing it so I've kept doing it."

Gammons tweet: Peter Gammons is god among sportswriters. Those notes columns that we all love? Yeah, he invented those. No one will ever touch him, and he is beloved by everyone in sports. But he also has a habit of tweeting with his phone in his pocket.

Those are pretty fun, too.

Hot takes: The term for your most fiery, controversial opinions. Do you think bunts rule? That's a hot take. Think baseball teams should wear shorts? Yeah, that was one of Bill Veeck's many hot takes.

See also cold takes -- for incredibly bland opinions, but where's the fun in those?

Hug watch: Primarily used near the Trade Deadline at the end of July. Viewers will tweet this out when they see players sharing hugs and handshakes in the dugout, usually as a precursor before a publicly announced deal.

Let the Kids Play: Originally the slogan for an MLB commercial showcasing the exciting and excited bat-flipping young stars, the phrase has taken on a life of its own online to support exuberant play.

Maddux: Coined by baseball writer Jason Lukehart, a Maddux is a complete game shutout in which the pitcher needed fewer than 100 pitches. Naturally, Greg Maddux is the all-time leader.

Six pitchers pulled it off last season, with Kyle Hendricks needing only 81 pitches to complete his against the Cardinals.

Shrimp Alert: Used to celebrate a walk-off walk. This is usually accompanied by a GIF of a shrimp in a tank running on a treadmill and/or the shrimp emoji. There is even a Twitter account solely dedicated to the shrimp.

Spoonerism: Literally everyone's favorite thing to do on the internet. If you're not familiar, a spoonerism is where you "transpose the initial sounds or letters of two or more words." So, Cole Hamels becomes Hole Camels. Mike Trout becomes Trike Mout. Josh Bell is now Bosh Jell.

If this kind of absurdist comedy is your thing, well, buddy, the internet is for you.

Team Entropy: Coined and popularized by baseball writer Jay Jaffe, this is the annual hope that fans have at the end of the season for peak absolute madness. We're talking Wild Card tiebreakers after Wild Card tiebreakers followed by division title tiebreakers.

TOOTBLAN: An acronym for "Thrown Out on the Bases Like a Nincompoop." Any time a player foolishly tries to take an extra base or screws up on the basepaths, you can expect this term to be used.

#WeirdBaseball: Perhaps the most misunderstood phrase on this list. Often mistakenly used in place of "#CantPredictBaseball" for when something strange has occurred, this one is actually to be used only in very specific circumstances. Namely, when a game is still being played past midnight local time.

Coined by then-podcaster and baseball writer and current special assistant for the Astros Kevin Goldstein, it also means it's time to eat ice cream.

Have a favorite internet term I missed? Let me know, so this dictionary can become truly complete.