‘Tis the season for late nights at the ballpark, and like every other summer, I am loving it. I have two boys who play various sports throughout the year at our local playground, and while I enjoy watching them all, my favorite is baseball. It recently occurred to me that of all the sports, baseball seems to have the most spectator feedback in the form of specific, overused one-liners. If you’re a baseball parent, you know what I’m talking about. If you just became a baseball parent, allow me to equip you with a list of things to yell lest you feel left out.
- “Good eye!” Use this when the batter doesn’t swing at a bad pitch. Or, maybe it really should have been called a strike but the umpire didn’t call it, and your batter lucked out. Either way, it wasn’t a strike looking, so let’s give kudos to the batter.
- “Okay, now you see it!” This one’s good when the batter doesn’t swing but Blue calls it a strike. It reminds the batter that he has eyes. Maybe the batter was going to swing and forgot, maybe he just froze, or maybe he really thought it was out of his strike zone. Regardless, shoutout to the batter for that practice strike to get his eyes adjusted.
- “Swing level!” It turns out you don’t actually have to know how the batter should adjust his swing. You can just say this knowing he definitely missed the ball and hope that if he swings more level, he’ll make contact.
- “Good cut!” which actually just amounts to a swing and a miss. In this case, perhaps the batter did swing level but somehow didn’t make contact. You don’t know why he didn’t connect because it looked good.
- “Wait on it!” Something else to say following a swing and a miss, the implication being that if the batter would have waited a little longer for the ball, he might have made contact. This one is usually passionately advised by the experts sitting up the left field line. They’re probably too far away to see exactly where the ball was when the batter swung, but they just have this gut feeling that he swung too soon.
- “Watch the ball!” This one is timeless. At my son’s last game, one batter yelled back to the crowd from the box, “I am watching it!” I thought that was a good point. Like what else are they doing up there? Literally, the only thing to do is watch the ball.
- “See the ball. Hit the ball!” See above. Often pairs well with this follow-up from the coach: “Just like you did in the cage!”
- “Don’t try to kill it. We just need a base hit right here!” This is a good one to use when a kid swings for the fence but misses the ball entirely. These kids are sometimes also the ones who aren’t “keeping their head in” or are “stepping out.”
- “That’s it! You got a piece of it!” for a foul tip. Another solid reassurance in this situation, especially if the batter already has two strikes, is “Way to battle!” or “Atta boy, you’re still alive!”.
- “Just straighten it out!” when the batter hits a hard foul ball. Surely if the hitter could have straightened it out, he already would have, right?
- “Hey, settle down up there! It’s just you and [insert catcher’s name] playing pitch and catch!” This tends to follow a walk or two, and the pitcher is coming unglued and can’t throw it over the plate to save his life. A lesser used but suitable alternative is “To the glove!” which is an obvious but perhaps necessary reminder to get the pitch to the catcher’s mitt.
- “All you need is three!” This is a friendly reminder to the pitcher that we still play the game with three strikes to get an out.
- “Way to be smart up there!” This one really applies to a variety of defensive or offensive situations and is just a nice way of expressing relief that the right kid did the right thing at the right time.
- “Back up! Be alert out there!” actually sends a message to both teams as a warning to the defense as well as a nod to a batter who is known for being a “big hitter.”
- And, if you’re ever not sure what to say, you can’t go wrong with “Baseball ready, Defense!” or “Put it in play, [insert batter’s name]!”
All kidding aside, I treasure warm evenings at the field and holler all these and then some from my pop-up chair up the right field line.