10 Common English Baseball Idioms

If you go down to the Rogers Centre, beside the famous CN Tower, you’re likely to hear someone chanting “Let’s go Blue Jays!” What you might not know though, because of its popularity in North America, baseball has given English many popular expressions. Let’s take a look at some of the most common English idioms that have come to us from baseball.

1. Hit a home run: to succeed at something

    • EX: I think I really hit a home run on my math test yesterday.

Escobar rounds second after hitting a home run.

2. A ball park figure: an estimate or guess

  • EX: How many people were at the concert? Give me a ball park figure.

3. Strike out: to fail while giving your best effort

  • EX: He struck out on his graduate school applications. So he’ll try again next year.

4. Throw a curve ball: to surprise someone with something

that’s unpleasant to deal with

  • EX: She really threw me a curve ball when she told me last minute that she couldn’t drive me home.

5. Touch base: to talk briefly to someone.

    • EX: I have to go to an appointment, but let’s touch base tomorrow.

Matt Wieters, Melky Cabrera

6. On the ball: attentive and knowledgeable.

  • EX: Daniel is really on the ball today. He hasn’t made any mistakes.

7. Play hardball: to act aggressively and ruthlessly.

  • EX:  The tenants are playing hardball with their landlord, holding back on  payments they owe until the heating issue is fixed.

8. Step up to the plate: to take responsibility for doing something

  • EX: The company president stepped up to the plate and reimbursed  the workers for the accounting mismanagement.

9. Out of left field: suddenly from an unexpected source or direction

  • EX: Out of left field he just announced he was making a career change.

10. Right off the bat: instantly, immediately.

    • EX: I could tell they liked each other right off the bat.

Brett Lawrie

Now are you ready to play Canada’s favourite ESL idiom game? Let’s play “Name that Baseball Idiom”. Good luck sport!


Joshua Mover

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