Major League Baseball’s season begins this Sunday, April 3rd, when the St. Louis Cardinals visit the Pittsburgh Pirates. If you are a fan of America’s Pastime, you are well aware of the sport’s many food related terms.
It is not uncommon to see a batter step up to the plate (home base) and be peppered with some high cheese (a fastball located high in the strike zone) featuring a little extra mustard (velocity). You may also see one team receive some home cooking (favorable calls while playing at their home ballpark), allowing them to set the table (get runners on base in front of the power hitters in the lineup) ahead of the meat of their order (batters 3, 4 & 5 in their lineup). The batter at the dish (home base) could hit a grand slam (not the Denny’s kind) or they could get robbed when the outfielder makes a snow cone catch (a catch made with the ball barely caught in the tip of a glove’s webbing).
This smorgasbord of baseball sayings has led me to wonder about another food-related term…
Wonder Why Wednesday: Where Did The Term ‘Can of Corn’ Come From?
One popular baseball term is the “Can of Corn.” This refers to a ball that is hit right to a fielder, creating an easy catch. It is also known as a lazy fly ball or an easy pop out, both of which make sense.
But can or corn? Where does that come from?
According to Baseball-Lingo.com, the phrase dates back to the 19th century when “old time grocers would access cans of corn high on the shelf by knocking it down with a stick and catching it ‘easily’.” The ball floating effortlessly into an outfielder’s glove resembles the can falling slowly off the shelf, into the waiting hands of the grocer.