AP releases World Series Style Guide

Romenesko+ Misc.

It's "a brief lexicon of key baseball terms as spelled and defined by The Associated Press,” says Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn. "The guide also includes some trite and confusing terms that AP writers try to avoid in baseball stories." (Example: "Better to say a player hit a home run, rather than he 'walloped' or 'blasted' or 'cracked' it.")

Press release


AP offers World Series Style Guide

Major League Baseball’s regular season ends this week and the Associated Press Stylebook team figures it would be timely and helpful to reiterate for subscribers AP style on essential baseball terms.

"The World Series Style Guide is a brief lexicon of key baseball terms as spelled and defined by The Associated Press,” said Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn, a member of the AP Stylebook team. “We hope subscribers will find this guide useful as the Major League Baseball season reaches a high point in the playoffs and the World Series. The guide also includes some trite and confusing terms that AP writers try to avoid in baseball stories.”

Minthorn added: “For the guide's content and explanations, we're indebted to AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker in New York, an acknowledged expert in all things about the game."


BC-US--World Series Style Guide, Advisory


To help with consistent phrasing in coverage of the Major League Baseball playoffs and the World Series, The Associated Press compiled a World Series Style Guide of key baseball terms and definitions. Also included are some hackneyed terms to avoid. Some of the words are taken from the AP Stylebook. Others are standard usage for baseball stories transmitted by AP Sports.


The Associated Press

World Series Style Guide


AL and NL championship series

Spell out “championship series” on first reference with the league abbreviations. It's AL or NL championship series initially, then ALCS and NLCS on subsequent uses. AL stands for American League, NL for National League.

A word for each

ballclub, ballgame, ballpark, ballplayer

Best-of-seven series and best of seven

Hyphenate when used as a modifier with the number spelled out: best-of-seven matchup. On its own, no hyphens in the term: The Red Sox and Phillies meet in a best of seven.


Better to say a player hit a home run, rather than he "walloped"' or "'blasted"' or "cracked" it. Home runs are also homers, but avoid calling them "dingers," "'jacks," "bombs," "taters" and "four-baggers." Pitchers can pitch two-hitters, but avoid "twirling" or "chucking" or "fireballing." And teams try to reach the World Series instead of the "Fall Classic." In short, avoid hackneyed words and phrases.


Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter or Yankees' shortstop Derek Jeter? No apostrophe when describing his role: Jeter is a Yankees shortstop, Roy Halladay is a Phillies pitcher. But if club ownership is implied, use the hyphen for a possessive: the Yankees’ Jeter, the Cardinals' Albert Pujols and the Braves' Chipper Jones.

No hyphens

Third base umpire, first base coach, left field line


Sample uses: first inning, seventh-inning stretch, 10th inning; first base, second base, third base, first home run, 10th home run, first place, one RBI, 10 RBIs. The pitcher's record is now 6-5. The final score was 1-0.

Pitchers' duel

It takes two pitchers doing well for a duel, so it’s pitchers' duel (possessive plural), rather than a pitcher's duel.

Postseason vs. playoffs

The terms aren’t interchangeable. Postseason encompasses all the games after the regular season ends _ the first round of the league playoffs, the AL and NL championship series and the World Series. It takes 11 wins for a team to go through the postseason and become champions. Playoffs refers only to the first two rounds that determine the World Series opponents.

RBI or RBIs?

For more than one run batted in, the abbreviation is RBIs: Granderson led the majors with 127 RBIs, Braun had five RBIs in the win. The seldom-used plural written out is runs batted in, but in AP Style the “s” is placed at the end of the abbreviation: RBIs.

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game”

Traditionally sung during the seventh-inning stretch as the teams change sides on the field. Even though AP Style is ballgame (one word) on all other uses of the word, it’s two words in the formal title of this baseball anthem.

World Series

Or the Series on second reference.

World Series champions.

Teams that win the championship are World Series champions, not world champions.

  • Jim Romenesko

    From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his MediaGossip.com, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.


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