The Vocabulary Of ‘The Grand Old Game’


Talkin’ baseball…

Congratulations to Japan on winning the 2023 World Baseball Classic. I thoroughly enjoyed the games, myself, and got to thinking about baseball in the U.S. and Japan.

My Japanese language skills are embarrassingly poor. Sometimes, though, I do try to impress my friends by telling them that even though my Japanese is awful, I can still listen to a baseball game in Japanese and pretty much understand everything that is going on. Problem is, I’m cheating a little.

I’m a baseball fan, so the situations should be very familiar to begin with. The other advantage I have is that a lot of baseball terms in English are pretty much the same in Japanese, for example: スライダー is slider, ボーク is balk, センター is center, and セーブ is save.

But sometimes terms that may seem imported aren’t exactly the same as would be used in America. They are often close enough to understand, but not a straight translation. A few examples:

Baseball Terms
Japanese TermAmerican English Term(s)
four ball (フォアボール)walk / base on balls / free pass
dead ball (デッドボール)hit by pitch / beanball
straight (ストレート)fastball / heater / high cheese /
high cheddar
entitle two base (エンタイトルツーベース)ground rule double / automatic double
sayonara (サヨナラ)walk-off

To be certain, this isn’t a complete list and it isn’t as though all the Japanese terms are “wrong”. For example, when you are hit by a pitch, it is considered a dead ball (but so is any other ball that is out of play), it does take four balls to earn a walk, and you are entitled to second without fear of being thrown out if you hit an automatic double.

I have also offered a few slang terms in addition to the more traditional terms.

Next time you think your English comprehension is weak, try focusing on a subject you are familiar with…I bet you’ll find that your understanding is suddenly higher than expected. Go with what you know, build up that confidence, and expand to more unfamiliar topics later.








例えば、投球が打者に当たると確かにデッドボールとみなされます(ただし、アウトオブプレーになった他のボールも同様に dead ball なのです)、a walk を得るにはフォアボール(四球)が必要ですし、automatic double(エンタイトルツーベース)を打つとタッチアウトされることなく二塁まで進む権利がある(entitled)、などです。