Former M.L.B Pitcher Bob Tewksbury & The Psychological Game of Baseball | New Hampshire Public Radio

Former M.L.B Pitcher Bob Tewksbury & The Psychological Game of Baseball

May 25, 2018

For Memorial Day, we revisit our earlier conversation about "Ninety Percent Mental" - that's what Yogi Berra said about baseball, and it's also the title of former Major League pitcher Bob Tewksbury's new book.  After years in "the show" Tewksbury is now part of the growing trend in baseball focusing on psychological strategies to maximize performance.  Yogi Berra's quote continued with "the other half is physical" and Tewksbury will also reminisce about some of the game-changing characters from his time on the mound. 

This program will air on Monday, May 28, at 9 a.m., and will be rebroadcast again at 7 p.m.  It was originally broadcast on May 1, 2018.


  • Bob Tewksbury  -  author of "Ninety Percent Mental," and retired Major League Baseball pitcher.  He is the current mental skills coach for the San Francisco Giants and former mental skills coach for the Boston Red Sox. He played professionally for the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres and the Minnesota Twins. In high school he played for Merrimack Valley High School in Penacook, N.H.

Read up on why baseball is now more of a mental game than ever.

Insider's Guide to Baseball Lingo

Baseball seems to have a lot of lingo. Here's an insider's guide to baseball terms and phrases.  How many do you know?

ace -- A team's best starting pitcher

alley -- The section of the outfield between the outfielders. Also the gap

around the horn -- A double play going from third to second to first

backdoor slider -- A pitch that appears to be out of the strike zone, but then breaks back over the plate

bag -- A base

Baltimore chop -- A ground ball that hits in front of home plate (or off of it) and takes a large hop over the infielder's head or is high enough for the batter to reach first

bandbox -- A small ballpark that favors hitters

bang-bang play -- A play in which the base runner hits the bag a split-second before the ball arrives or vice versa

basket catch -- When a fielder catches a ball with his glove near belt level

Bronx cheer -- When the crowd boos

brushback -- An inside pitch that almost hits a batter

bush -- Also bush league. An amateur play or behavior

can of corn -- A fly ball that is an easy catch by a fielder

caught looking -- When a batter is called out on strikes

cellar -- Last place. Also basement

cheese -- Also good cheese. Refers to a good fastball

chin music -- A pitch that is high and inside

circus catch -- An outstanding catch by a fielder

closer -- A team's relief pitcher who finishes the game

cup of coffee -- a brief stay in the majors

cutter -- A cut fastball (one with a late break to it)

cycle -- When a batter hits a single, double, triple and home run in the same game.

dinger -- A home run

dish -- Home plate

ducks on the pond -- base runners in scoring position

fireman -- A team's closer or late-inning relief pitcher

frozen rope -- A line drive that doesn't change height after initial contact

fungo -- A ball hit to a fielder during practice. It's usually hit by a coach using a fungo bat, which is longer and thinner than a normal bat

gap -- See alley. A ball hit here is a gapper

gopher ball -- A pitch hit for a home run, as in go fer (coined by Lefty Gomez)

heat -- A good fastball. Also heater

high and tight -- Referring to a pitch that's up in the strike zone and inside on a hitter. Also known as up and in

hill -- Pitcher's mound

hit for the cycle -- a single, double, triple and home run in the same game by the same player

homer -- A home run. Other terms include: blast, dinger, dong, four-bagger, four-base knock, moon shot, tape-measure blast and tater

hot corner -- Third base, because so many hard hit balls go that way

in the hole -- The batter after the on-deck hitter

jam -- When a hitter gets a pitch near his hands, he is jammed. Also when a pitcher gets himself in trouble, he is in a jam

leather -- Refers to how good a player plays defensively or handles the glove, as in He flashed some leather on that play

meatball -- An easy pitch to hit, usually right down the middle of the plate

Mendoza line -- A batting average of .200, as in a .190 average being below the Mendoza line

moon shot -- A very long, high home run

nail down -- As in nail down a victory. Refers to a relief pitcher finishing off the game

neighborhood play -- pivot men at second base will get the force out call by the umpire if their foot is close to the base before they throw to first

nosebleed seats -- the highest level in the stadium seating area

on the screws -- When a batter hits the ball hard. Also on the button.

painting the black -- When a pitcher throws the ball over the edge of the plate.

payoff pitch -- pitch delivered when there is a full count

pea -- A ball traveling at high speed, either batted or thrown.

pepper -- Pepper is a common pre-game exercise where one player bunts brisk grounders and line drives to a group of fielders who are standing about 20 feet away. The fielders try to throw it back as quickly as possible. The batter hits the return throw. (Some ballparks ban pepper games because wild pitches could land in the stands and injure spectators)

pick -- A good defensive play by an infielder on a ground ball. Also a shortened version of pick-off

pickle -- A rundown

punchout -- A strikeout

rhubarb -- A fight or scuffle

ribbie -- Another way of saying RBI. Also ribeye

rope -- A hard line drive hit by a batter. Also frozen rope

rubber game -- The deciding game of a series

run-down -- When a base runner gets caught between bases by the fielders

Ruthian -- With great power

seeing-eye single -- A soft ground ball that finds its way between infielders for a base hit

set-up man -- A relief pitcher who usually enters the game in the 7th or 8th inning before the closer

shoestring catch -- A running catch made just above the fielder's shoe tops

southpaw -- A left-handed pitcher

stoppers -- starting pitchers whose victories tend to end losing streaks

sweet spot -- The part of the bat just a few inches down from end of the barrel

table setter -- Batter whose job is to get on base for other hitters to drive him in. Usually a leadoff or # 2 hitter

tape-measure blast -- An extremely long home run

tater -- A home run

Texas Leaguer -- A bloop hit that drops between an infielder and outfielder

tools of ignorance -- Catcher's equipment

touch 'em all -- Hitting a home run (touching all the bases)

twin killing -- A double play

Uncle Charlie -- Curve ball

utility player -- A player who fills in at many positions

wheelhouse -- A hitter's power zone. Usually a pitch waist-high and over the heart of the plate

wheels -- A ballplayer's legs

whiff -- Strikeout

yanker -- Curve ball

(courtesy of