Baseball Shorts: What does the Term Changeup mean?

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.

Circle changeup - Wikipedia
The changeup has a variety of grips. This is the grip of a circle-change.

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.

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