Your Grab and Go Sprots Terms Glossary
Girls flirt by dropping their sports knowledge, let’s be honest. It’s the easiest way to get a man talking. Casually bringing up that Bryce Harper is hands down the MVP since he’s leading the NL in OBP and badabing! Free drink from the cutie with the Nats jersey. Guess what the easiest way to get Mr. Nats Jersey talking about YOU is? By knowing what you’re actually talking about. I’m here to help.
Before you go full feminist on me, this sports term dictionary is 100% for men, too (if you’ve seen my tweets during Royals games about the dunces around me, you would understand). Men, however, have a tough time admitting they ever need help in sports-land, so we’re going to let them pretend they’re reading a girly article every week “for fun”.
First up: Leadoff Hitter.
This past week or so, the Royals have tried out three different leadoff hitters: Alcides Escobar, Ben Zobrist, and Alex Gordon. A leadoff hitter is just as it sounds, the first batter in the lineup and is generally one of the better hitters on the team.
I know, you’re throwing your hands up at the screen saying “Hello, Megan. I’m not dumb, I could have figured that out.” Yes, yes you could have, but what you need to know is the role a leadoff hitter plays in a lineup.
There are two main types of leadoff hitters. The first type is the Alcides Escobar type. Esky was a first pitch hitting machine to start off the year-I liked to call it Escobushing (Escobar + Ambush, I’m so creative). Esky is also very fast. This is beneficial in 3 ways. 1- Having a speedy runner on first distracts the pitcher, so the #2 hitter gets more mistake pitches that lead to big hits. 2- He can steal bases, which are basically free hits for your team. 3-If and when the #2, etc. hitters get base hits, Esky can run like a madman to take extra bases aka more runs for your team!
The other type of leadoff hitter is the Ben Zobrist type. Benny is the most patient man in the history of baseball (probably). He will watch and watch and watch and foul and foul and foul pitches until he sees one he likes. This type of leadoff hitter is more prototypical in MLB. Why? You guessed it, three reasons! 1-Being patient gets you on base. You get on base, you have increased the chance of your team scoring a run significantly, duh. 2-When a batter sees a lot of pitches, the whole team sees a lot of pitches, so the opposing pitcher loses a lot of his edge over the batter because all of his “tricks” are exposed early. 3-Making the pitcher throw a lot early means he will leave the game earlier. For most MLB teams, this is bad news. Most teams only have 2 or 3 really good arms in their bullpen that can only throw for one, maybe two innings. So, getting the starting pitcher out prematurely means the team has to rely on one of their lesser bullpen guys or use up all of their star relievers early in a series. Good news for the good guys.
As I said, the Benny style is more popular in MLB because seeing pitches helps the whole team, whereas relying on speed only helps that inning and can be risky. Alex Gordon is a rare breed hybrid of the two which makes him extra dangerous at the plate.
You are now free to hit on men in Royals polos. They’re classy 😉 See you next Tuesday!