In this episode of Baseball Shorts, we pay attention to the changeup. Not necessarily to the pitch itself but merely what the term means.
The average baseball fan will know what a changeup is. It is a pitch that is supposed to look like a fastball but which is thrown with less speed, meant to keep the batter off-balance as it is hard to get your timing right with a pitch like that when you are expecting a fastball.
In British English, the term change-up means to get into a higher gear while driving a car. Normally this means the car will go faster. Quite the opposite of what a changeup pitch does in baseball.
In normal linguistic usage, change-up means a change of pace or a temporary shift or variation in a normal routine or regular pattern of activity. Normally, a changeup is a pitch that isn’t thrown that much, so the explanation of a temporary shift in a normal routine or pattern is quite adequate. Another meaning of the word changeup is to confuse someone by doing something unexpected or in an unexpected way which is also a very good explanation for the pitch.
A term that is also used is Bugs Bunny Changeup. This term comes from this cartoon:
The first known use of the word changeup for the pitch dates back to around 1943.