At the risk of stating the obvious, October is a huge sports month! Football is well underway, and we get an idea of who’s up and who’s down. Professional baseball is over for all but the playoff teams who will vie for a World Series victory. Professional hockey starts its season in early October, the NBA starts in late October, and just around the corner in early November is college basketball. Wow!
What’s obvious if you watch enough sporting events, is they all have their own jargon. But baseball jargon is a bit of an oddity if you look at it through the lens of a foodie (or in our case, the lens of a food snack company). How odd? Well we thought we’d fill you in on some of the food-related jargon commonly used in the game of baseball. Feel free to use this information to impress your friends and family as you watch the run for the pennant!
Have you ever wondered what cheese has to do with baseball? When the announcer says, “he’s bringing the cheese,” he’s not talking about a plate of nachos. He’s referring to the pitcher’s fastball, usually one that is difficult to hit. A fastball that sits high in the strike zone is also called high cheese. One that sits low in the strike zone can be called cheese at the knees. “Easy Cheese” is used to describe a pitcher that has seemingly effortless velocity. You may hear your kids taking it to another level, using cheddar in vein as they banter about their favorite pitcher “throwing cheddar” or “tossing ched.”
Cans of corn at a baseball game? Not likely in the heat of summer. “Can of corn” is the phrase used to describe a high, easy to catch fly ball in the outfield. It is thought to relate to an old-time grocery store where grocers used sticks to tip cans off of high shelves that they then caught in their aprons.
This summer’s heat meant there were lots of frozen treats served at the stadium. A “frozen rope” just isn’t one of them. In baseball, a frozen rope is a hard hit line drive.
The grapefruit league? That’s not a group of teenagers that decided grapefruits were perfect to hit and pitch. The Grapefruit League refers to the group of major league teams that conduct spring training in Florida. The group of MLB teams that play in Arizona are in the Cactus League. And yes, even cacti, such as the prickly pear, bear edible fruit.
While not necessarily food, the word dish is another baseball term. When the announcer says, “the catcher is settling behind the dish,” he doesn’t have dish soap and scouring pads in his hands. He is in position behind home plate to receive the pitch.
So there you have it, baseball’s odd fascination with food-related jargon. And here’s hoping your team has an all-star catcher settling in behind the dish, a center fielder catching cans of corn, a starting line-up hitting frozen ropes, and your favorite pitcher bringing the cheese!