Are you an aspiring baseball player or a new fan of the game? Baseball jargon can be confusing to beginners, but after watching or playing a few games, you will start to understand some standard terms and abbreviations. One of the most common terms you see and hear is BOT. What is “BOT” in baseball?
In baseball, BOT is an abbreviation that means “bottom of the inning”. A baseball game has nine innings, each consisting of two halves. The second half of each inning (when the home team bats) is known as the bottom of the inning, or “BOT”.
When you understand a game’s terminology, you tend to enjoy it more because you know what is happening. Innings are a core part of a baseball game, and it is important to understand how they work.
TOP and BOT are common acronyms you’ll see on scoreboards. Learn how baseball scoreboards work by reading this beginner’s guide: how to read a baseball scoreboard.
There is a Top Half and a Bottom Half to Every Inning
In baseball, innings are divided into two halves – the top half of the inning and the bottom half of the inning. Each team will take turns playing their half of the inning. The away team always hits first (top of the inning), and the home team hits second (bottom of the inning).
Each team has the chance to score as many runs as they can in each half inning until they get three outs. Once a team gets three outs, that half of an inning is over and the other team gets to bat.
Simply put, three outs signify the end of a half-inning.
Additionally, the home team always bats last in each inning while the away team always bats first. So when you hear fans mention the game is in the bottom half of an inning, it is also implied that the home team is currently batting.
For example, if the away team gets three outs in the top of the inning, they are done hitting for the first inning of the game. The teams will switch places, and the home team will now hit in the bottom of the first inning.
This process continues until the ninth inning of the game has been completed.
Does the Home Team Always Play the Bottom of the Inning in Baseball?
It is customary for the home team to bat in the bottom half of the inning in baseball. This tradition is what gives a team home-field advantage. Home-field advantage gives the home team a slight edge over their opponent because they bat last and because they are playing in their own stadium.
For example, when the away team is leading at the top half of the final inning, the home team has a chance to change the score in the bottom half. The home team has a chance to win or tie the score hence a home-field advantage.
However, a baseball game can end after 8 and a half innings if the home team already has more runs than the away team. Because the home team always bats last, they will not need to bat again if they are already winning the game in the bottom of the ninth inning.
There are actually a few other ways a baseball game can end early. I recommend reading the 7 ways to end a baseball game to learn more about how baseball games could end early.
What is the Bottom of the Ninth Inning?
Sometimes you’ll see that a game is “BOT 9th”, but what is BOT 9th?
In baseball, “BOT 9th” is an acronym for “bottom of the 9th inning”. The bottom of the ninth inning is generally considered the final inning of the game.
The official number of innings for a baseball game is nine, meaning the game is set to end after the bottom ninth inning.
However, there are some exceptions in baseball. The game will only end if:
- The away team is in the lead after the bottom ninth inning has completed.
- If the home team is in the lead after the top half of the ninth inning has completed.
- When the home team takes the lead at any point in the bottom half of the ninth inning. This is typically when you’d hear about a walk-off home run, walk-off hit, walk-off walk, or even a walk-off balk.
Other Types of Innings in Baseball
Besides the bottom of the inning, there are two other types of innings you should know.
Top of the Inning
The top of the inning is the first half of each inning. The top half of the inning ends when the defense records three outs.
Middle of the Inning
“Middle of the inning” is a term that describes the short break between two half-innings when the teams switch places. Remember, the visiting team bats during the top half and the home team bats during the bottom half.
During mid-innings, the teams switch places. The team on the field is allowed a few minutes to warm up. Once the first pitch of that half-inning is thrown, the bottom of the inning has begun.
Extra innings are any additional innings after the ninth inning in baseball and these extra innings are also split into top and bottom halves.
Remember, the ninth inning is the official last turn of a baseball game. So if a game is tied at the end of the bottom ninth, it will continue for extra innings until there is a winner.
There is no limit on the number of extra innings in baseball, and that is why a baseball game can go for more than the standard three hours. And sometimes you can even see games that are in “TOP 10” and “BOT 10”, as an example.