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baseball idioms

15 Baseball Idioms

15 baseball idioms

Americans, as you may well know, love their baseball. No wonder so many baseball idioms have become so popular in everyday language. Here are some baseball idioms that are used in everyday speech and have nothing to do with baseball itself!

1. Touch base

To make contact with someone, usually briefly, to discuss something.

I’ll touch base with the marketing team to see how they’re progressing.
We need to touch base every week to keep the project on track.

2. Out of left field

Something unexpected or unusual that comes suddenly.

Her suggestion to move to a four-day workweek came out of left field but was well received.
The question he asked during the meeting really came out of left field.

3. Cover all the bases

To consider, prepare for, or deal with all possibilities or aspects of a situation.

Before launching the product, make sure we cover all the bases regarding customer support.
The presentation covered all the bases, leaving no questions unanswered.

4. Step up to the plate

To take responsibility or take action in a situation.

It’s time for someone to step up to the plate and lead this initiative.
She really stepped up to the plate when the team needed her most.

5. In the ballpark

Within an approximate range; not exact, but close.

The estimate they gave wasn’t exact, but it was in the ballpark.
We need to get our budget predictions in the ballpark before we proceed.

6. Swing for the fences

To attempt or try very hard to achieve something significant.

He’s swinging for the fences with his new business idea.
They swung for the fences with their innovative marketing campaign.

7. Hit a home run

To be very successful in a particular activity or area.

She hit a home run with her speech at the conference.
The company hit a home run with its latest product release.

English? No problem

8. Striking out

To fail at something after making an effort.

He struck out with his attempt to get the new account.
Despite several tries to resolve the issue, they kept striking out.

9. Play hardball

To act aggressively or ruthlessly to achieve a goal.

When it comes to negotiations, he’s known to play hardball.
You need to play hardball to succeed in this industry.

10. Throw a curveball

To surprise someone with something that is difficult or unpleasant to deal with.

The new regulations threw a curveball at the project’s progress.
Life threw her a curveball when she least expected it.

11. Three strikes, you’re out

A rule from baseball applied metaphorically to mean that three failures mean you can’t participate any more.

After three missed deadlines, three strikes, you’re out—he was finally let go from the project.
She had failed her driving test three times—three strikes, you’re out, so she decided to take a break before trying again.

12. Play ball

To start an activity, often used when beginning negotiations.

Once the terms are agreed upon, we’re ready to play ball.
He finally decided to play ball with the other departments to streamline the process.

13. Off base

Wrong or mistaken; not making a correct decision or misunderstanding something.

His accusations were totally off base, as the data clearly supported her conclusions.
You’re off base if you think I was responsible for that error.

14. The big league

Often used to describe important situations.

She finally made it to the big leagues with her promotion to Vice President.
This major contract is big league, so we need to handle it carefully.

15. Benchwarmer

A player who does not play frequently, usually sitting on the bench; metaphorically, a person who is not very active in or critical to a group’s action.

He started as a benchwarmer, but through hard work, he became one of the team’s key players.
She felt like a benchwarmer at her new job, waiting for a chance to show her skills.

If you enjoyed reading about baseball idioms, you might also like our collection of time idioms!

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