Glossary of inside jokes.

When we start in with inside jokes on Twitter or in chats, I’m often asked by newer readers what some of the hashtags and terms mean, but it’s hard to stop everything else to explain myself – especially in 140 characters. So with that in mind, here’s a far-from-complete list of those various jokes

#andrelted: When Andrelton Simmons does something amazing in the field, which is pretty much every night. See also #belted.

#arbitraryendpoints: Also known as cherry-picking, this means choosing one or both endpoints on a series of games to try to analyze a player. I’ve argued that it’s not arbitrary if the endpoint is tied to something specific, like a change in mechanics, an injury, or a recall from the minors, but even so, it’s always dangerous to throw out any data when you want to draw a conclusion.

#belted: When Brandon Belt homers. Actually originated with #poseyed the year before, but Posey hit too many homers and it got old fast. Even the #belted thing is probably nearing the end of its useful life.

#bowlofjello: That would be Clint Hurdle, who is probably the worst thing going for the Pirates right now, and whom I referred to by this moniker in a July 2012 tweet.

#classy (with or without the #): Refers to Michael Young, and the seeming blindness of some local writers in Dallas to the erosion of his on-field value, after which they would defend him by referring to him as “classy.” Classy is great but it doesn’t turn all those outs into hits. I should point out that use of the term isn’t actually a shot at Young, but how members of the media treat him.

#GUY: From my April 2013 podcast with Chris Sprow, where he brought up the difference between calling a player a “guy” (as in, “he’s just a guy”) and calling him a “GUY” (e.g., Byron Buxton). It turns out that football and baseball people both use the word in the same way.

#heathbellexperience: Possibly invented by Steve Berthiaume, now used to describe Heath Bell doing Heath Bell things, mostly giving up massive home runs. Antecedent of the less-common #jimjohnsonexperience.

#holtzmansfolly: The save rule, which has done more damage to the game on the field and to roster construction than any other statistic in the history of the game. Of course, the BBWAA gave the nitwit who invented this stat the Spink Award, because if that organization is good at one thing, it’s self-congratulation.

#idito: From an angry and not very bright Cardinals fan in 2009 who was mad that I didn’t include Chris Carpenter on my NL Cy Young ballot that year. Related to the now obsolete term #obsurd, from another equally angry and equally not very bright Cardinals fan that same day.

#meow: Every time a reader accuses me of bias, God kills a kitten. From the defunct Baseball Today podcast. RIP Bias Cat.

Moran: If you’re going to insult someone, especially by calling them stupid, you probably should look in the mirror first. Not my joke.

More-singles defense: The no-doubles defense.

#preeminent: I appeared on ESPN’s Philadelphia affiliate right after Ryan Howard signed his five-year extension, only to be ambushed by the host of the show in question, who kept referring to Howard as the “preeminent” power hitter in the game. So, whenever it pays to point out that the contract is as awful today as it appeared to be when the Phillies gave it to him, we trot out this tag.

#robotumpsnow: Creation obscure – seemed like a bunch of us started using it around the same time so I won’t take any credit. Refers mostly to awful ball/strike calls by home plate umps, and the fact that replacing that with currently available technology would be an immediate improvement.

SHANF: I think Crashburn Alley started this one – at least, that’s how I first saw it – which originally referred to Shane Victorino doing something a little dim on the field. Given his 2013 season, and how much I ragged on that contract last offseason, if I drop a “SHANF” now, I’m making fun of myself and my very wrong analysis about him.

#smrtbaseball: A little bit of The Simpsons applied to baseball, this refers to tactical moves that are anything but smart, especially ill-advised bunts or intentional walks, as well as batting a low-OBP guy in the two hole. It appears to have started here:

#shrimp/#shrimpalert: Refers to a walk-off walk (walking in the winning run because the bases were loaded). Not mine – originated on the walkoffwalk blog here.

should of: That’s all Fan Since 09, a brilliant parody of a Phillies fan who hopped on the bandwagon right after they won the World Series.

#SSS: Small Sample Size. In other words, I’m saying the performance in question is more a function of the randomness inherent in small samples of plate appearances or innings pitched than a change in skill or outlook. Fangraphs has a few pieces on when samples aren’t small any more. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that if we look at 100 players who’ve reached that threshold, we’re still likely to see one or two players whose stats haven’t stabilized or regressed – it would be more surprising if we didn’t see any outliers at all.

#tehfear: As in, The Fear, the thing that Boston Globe writer Dan Shaughnessy said Jim Rice provoked in opposing pitchers, and that thus made Rice worthy of Hall of Fame induction. It’s just the kind of unverifiable, unfalsifiable nonsense that people use when defeated by rational arguments.

TOOTBLAN: Thrown Out On the Bases Like a Nincompoop. Invented by Cubs blogger Tony Jewell for Ryan Theriot. I’m blocked from the original site due to Google saying it’s infected with malware, but you can see the relevant part of the initial post here.

#umpshow: Any time an umpire decides that he wants to make himself the center of attention, especially by attempting to provoke a conflict with a player or coach, it’s an umpshow. Fans don’t watch games to see the umpires ump. We watch to see the players. It would be great if the minority of umpires who think all eyes should be on them could understand that. Not to be confused with basic incompetence, where #robotumpsnow or #thehumanelement might be more accurate.

#veteranpresents: Started in this chat, regarding Garret Anderson, when the Dodgers signed him to provide veteran presence in their lineup. I decided it was more likely he was a veteran who handed out presents to other players and coaches in the locker room, since that seemed like the only way he’d provide any value. It is a mortal lock that any time I drop this hashtag, at least three people will claim I misspelled “presence,” because they were both without a sense of humor.

#weirdbaseball: Refers to any game that goes past midnight local time (that is, where the game is being played), at which point, everyone is supposed to eat ice cream. Invented by my former colleague Kevin Goldstein (RIP).

#YCPB: You Can’t Predict Baseball, so you should follow this Twitter account.

#your: I don’t play grammar police very often, but it is amazing how often people who send me insults on Twitter can’t get “your” and “you’re” straight. I believe it was @ceeangi who first pointed out this phenomenon.

Omissions? Corrections? Fire ’em in the comments. This list really isn’t mine, but ours as a community, so I’ll update accordingly.


  1. #TOOTBLAN – thrown out on the basepaths like a nincompoop. A/K/A Theriot

  2. I know it’s not yours but I’m a big fan of TOOTBLAN.

  3. #shrimp!

  4. Please as a phillies fan and local radio personality hater add #preeminent. Also missing #tehfear, I don’t know the original story on that.

    Great list and idea btw.

  5. #weirdbaseball is missing…

  6. What’s the one about Fredi Gonzalez?

  7. Fun fact: #smrtbaseball literally translates to deathbaseball in Bosnian.

  8. Should of remembered this one.

  9. #barves, but that may not have started with you?

  10. Afer watching Gerrardo Parra attempt to navigate the basepaths this season, I suggest #TOOTBLAN be renamed #WPW (Why, Parra, why?)

  11. Love the “Bias Cat” reference. Any chance Karabell or Simon make a “Dish” appearance any time soon?

  12. Shrimp alert comes from the old Walkoff Walk website run by Rob Iracane and Kris Liakos. This is why:

  13. You reference #thehumanelement in #umpshow but didn’t define it.

  14. #ProfessionalHitter

  15. #BlameBeltran

  16. #preeminent to describe Ryan Howard is another good one I believe you started…

  17. As close as I can recall, #robotumpsnow originated from you, Keith, or Jay Jaffe, or Jonah Keri. I think it originally started as the longer #giveusrobotumpsnow, because that I how I remember first using it and seeing it used.

    Not a hashtag, but RIP KG / Kevin Goldstein (RIP) might deserve it’s own entry.

  18. I’m not on Twitter (and basically refuse to be, because… well, no one cares what I have to say about anything), but this post is *almost* enough to get me there. Laughed the entire way through!

  19. RIP K.G. Taken too young.

  20. Love #MoreSinglesDefense. Made me laugh aloud.

  21. #phrasing

  22. We need the Twitter equivalent of ring tones, so that the Doves would play every time #tehfear got used.

  23. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the funny part about “Classy” Michael Young is that he actually wasn’t all that classy about having to move from SS to 3B.

  24. Fredi Gonzalez gave genesis to #sacbunt? and #Barves on my feed, but I think they’re well covered by #smrtbaseball.

  25. In Pittsburgh, we’ve come to know and love #ATBAB, for All The Bunts Are Bad.

  26. Not sure if you have a hash tag associated with “the narrative” but

  27. Also isn’t #provencloser one of yours?

  28. I know “cot for choice” isn’t one of yours, but it deserves a mention if only because it originated in a tweet from the preeminent slugger of our time. When Ryan Howard tweeted a message in support of his teammate Carlos Ruiz being selected for last year’s All-Star Game, his iPhone changed “vote for Chooch” to “cot for choice”, a phrase that got a lot of play with the Crashburn Alley crowd for a while.


  1. […] According to Keith Law, #umpshow is defined as […]