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Big 12 Tournament: The languages of baseball

BY ANDREA COHEN Modified: May 26, 2009 at 12:17 am •  Published: May 26, 2009

uot;Big fly. Bomb.”

During Smith’s days in the pros, he recalls his Spanish-speaking teammates calling it a "pela calle” (he’s also not sure of the spelling).

"I asked a Spanish teacher about it once, and she said it basically translated to ‘to hit the road,’ ” Smith said.

A routine fly ball is a "can of corn” or "lazyball” in most dugouts, and when Tech needs a big hit, the dugout places an order.

"We all call out, ‘We need a pizza pie,’ ” Karns said.

Then there’s the condensing and shortening that baseball players seem to love.

To get each other fired up, the Aggies yell, "Sgnaww.”

"It’s let’s go now, just put together,” A&M’s Joe Patterson said.

When explaining why "For Love of the Game” is his favorite movie, Baylor pitcher Willie Kempf said it’s because the main character is trying to pitch a "perf” — as in "perfect game.”

Speaking with signs
In the field, ballplayers communicate the number of outs with hand signals. But it would be a huge faux pas to show two outs like a peace sign, with an index and middle finger.

"If you do that you’re childish,” K-State’s Jordan Cruz said.

Ballplayers opt to throw up index and pinkie fingers instead. But in the Big 12, there’s definitely an exception.

"You can’t do that at Texas because it’s ‘Hook ’em Horns,’ ” Cruz said. "When you’re in Austin, if there’s two outs, some guy in the stands will yell, ‘Hey Cruz, how many outs?’ just so you put up two. Then he yells, ‘Hey, he threw up the Horns.’ ”

Every team has the extensive signals to communicate base running and fielding plans — third base coaches doing 30-second long pats of their shoulders and wildly waving runners on to extra bases come to mind.

Pitchers also use "sign language” in the bullpen to keep them into the game. Tech pitchers make a "flipping burgers” gesture for bloop hits, and when they know one of their teammates is about to throw a breaking ball, they all cast reels in hopes that the batter will "go fishing.”