Updated September 28, 2023 by David Cox, Business English Coach
Have you ever watched a game of baseball, or visited a ball park? Whether you're interested in the sport or not, you may be surprised that there are a huge amount of business idioms which come from it! Here are the best Business English phrases which come from the glorious game of baseball.
Business English Phrases from Baseball
to cover all the bases
To do everything to make sure that something is successful
“I have revised everything for my English test, including vocabulary, grammar, reading and speaking. I have covered all the bases.”
to touch base with someone
To make brief contact with a team in an email or meeting
“Thank you all for coming to the meeting, and let's all touch base again tomorrow.”
a ballpark figure
An approximate value of something
“The valuation of the business is around 3 million as a ballpark figure.”
to be in the right ballpark
To be close to the right amount
“Your offer is in the right ballpark, but it is still a little low for us.”
not even in the right ballpark
Far away from the right amount
“It turns out that our projections for 2022 were not even in the right ballpark. We fell short of our projections by $3m.”
to be in the same ballpark
To be of a similar amount
"The companies are both very big. The valuations of the two companies are in the same ballpark."
to throw someone a curveball
To give someone an unexpected problem or question
"The interviewer threw me a real curveball. I couldn't answer the question."
"She threw me a real curveball right in the middle of my presentation by asking me something that was completely off-topic."
to hit a home run / to hit it out of the park
To do something that is very successful
“We really hit a home run by landing that big deal.”
"You really hit it out of the park with that excellent presentation."
three strikes and you're out
If you make 3 mistakes or do 3 things wrong, then you are dismissed from the team
“You have already been late once. If you keep doing it then you will not be part of the project team. 3 strikes and you're out.”
to play hardball
To act tough or aggressively
“They really wanted to play hardball in the negotiation.”
to play ball
to cooperate and to go along with your wishes
“We wanted them to lower their prices for us, but they weren't willing to play ball.”
to step up to the plate / to step up
To take action in a difficult situation, to be there when something needs to be done
“When John was ill, Alice really stepped up (to the plate) and delivered a top presentation, even though she was unprepared.”
a whole new ball game
A completely different situation to one that you are used to
“I have led teams before, but stepping up to middle management is a whole new ball game.”
I am a professional English coach from the UK. I have taught Business English to professionals around the world for over 11 years, focusing specifically on advanced learners.
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