Sunday, March 19, 2023

Baseball in French, Lesson 4: La Balle Glissante

Welcome to Baseball in French, Lesson 4. Previous lessons can be found here.
Today's term is la balle glissante.
In English, that translates to "slippery ball". What's the baseball translation?

Here's a guy who had a pretty mean slider, sporting the Expos colors on his 1989 O-Pee-Chee rookie card. 


Johnson didn't have much command of his pitches back in those very early days, but by the close of his career he'd collected more than 300 wins and nearly 5,000 strikeouts. Let's just say he figured it out.
As for the baseball terminology, I think slippery ball is pretty accurate and descriptive. The pitch does tend to slip away from the strike zone. It's kind of a silly term too, which isn't a bad thing. But if I were a French-language baseball commentator, I think I'd get tired of saying "slippery ball" after a while. Besides, the term can evoke more of a spitball than a slider, don't you think?

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below, and thanks for reading!


  1. "A slippery ball clips the outside corner." Yeah I'm not saying that 30 times a game.

    1. Heheh. After doing a bit more research, I've found that another translation is "sliding ball". I'd use that one more often, for sure.

  2. "Slippery ball" would lend itself to way too many euphemisms for my liking.

  3. "Slippery" brings to mind many images, none of which have anything to do with baseball :)

  4. I think TwinKiller, Nick, and Jon covered all the bases. Slider > Slippery Ball