Glossary

“How do you say ‘adiós’ in Spanish?”

CLAY CARROLL

Following baseball, at the best of times, can be a confusing little endeavor, full of obscure terms and phrasing no one has ever heard, or will ever hear, anywhere but on a baseball field.

As a general lexicon, Baseball-Reference’s English-to-Spanish reference is an invaluable resource. What we offer here is an addendum, which covers the terms and phrases that, due to the vagaries of history and language, are not the same as in our reality.

almanaquero

Officially, a writer attached to the Almanaque, which was the Liga Nacional Puertorriqueña’s archival publication meant primarily for internal consumption. Initially composed purely of game scores and small notes, the Almanaque in time grew into a comprehensive record of every baseball season, comprising such a wealth of information that publishing it for fans who loved such minutiae became a significant revenue stream for the league in the twentieth century. More broadly, refers to game scorers and statisticians employed by the league who record information during league games.

antetiempo

Preseason; period of time during which teams train for the upcoming campaign, play exhibition games, and sign last-minute free agents to plug holes in the roster.

calesa

A rotation in which two pitchers alternate starting games, with an occasional emergency starter used if neither starter is rested. Taken from the Spanish name of a large two-horse, four-wheeled carriage known in English as a barouche.

campeonato

See torneo. In LNP baseball, usually refers to the last two rounds of the postseason, the Campeonato de Las Ligas for the Betances and Hostos pennants, and the Campeonato Nacional Puertorriqueño for the entire league.

contrato completo

The early Liga Nacional Puertorriqueña’s equivalent to a major league contract, in which a player was officially employed by a team and drew a salary from their budget. Players who signed completos were either on the active roster or, if reservists, traveled with the team in order to substitute for injured players.

contrato simple

The early Liga Nacional Puertorriqueña’s rough equivalent of a minor league contract, in which a player promised the signing team first call on his services for the year. Players who signed simples could receive cash up front, and some were even added to the active roster, but most tended to return to their regular careers until needed. 

invernales

Every year, the sponsors and personnel of the teams of the Liga Nacional Puertorriqueña meet with league officials for several days after the end of the baseball season to decide on various matters, including new regulations on salaries, roster sizes, etc., and usually, to wheel and deal as necessary. In the late nineteenth century, the invernales rotated location before finding permanent housing in a complex of inns and offices near the beach at Rompebotewhile they usually return for ceremonial parts of the proceedings, these days, many events are held throughout the west of the island.

la Central

Enduring nickname for the physical headquarters of the Liga Nacional Puertorriqueña, which usually houses the league’s analytics office and publishing house in addition to its executive nerve center. By synecdoche, also refers to any of the league’s various governing bodies over the years, especially those under the direct control of the Commissioner. Taken from the Puerto Rican name for a sugar mill.

quitrín

A one-pitcher “rotation” to start games; that is, there is only one pitcher on the roster officially registered as a starter, with relievers called to the mound as necessary. An unsustainable proposition for any but the shortest seasons. Taken from the name of a Caribbean one-horse carriage somewhat similar to a gig.

torneo

See campeonato. Postseason or playoffs; after the main season is concluded, each team to win their division, plus a suitable number of wild cards, advances to a tournament to decide the league champion for the year. In LNP baseball, sometimes used to refer specifically to the first three rounds—Serie Preliminar, Serie Eliminatoria and Serie Interdivisional.