Can o’ Corn
noun: an easy fly ball or pop fly. An easy catch. More generally speaking, an easy play made in the field.
The term “can o’ corn” (or “can of corn”) is one those archaic terms of baseball that has withstood the ages. In fact, it seems to have originated in the nineteenth century. Yet you still hear it today during Major League Baseball games. It’s a favorite of iconic broadcaster (it pains me to refer to him as that) Hawk Harrelson. As the definition states, the term implies a fly ball that was caught with little or no effort.
The origin of the term depends varies but historians have settled on a couple of accepted theories. The most widely accepted is the theory that old time grocers would access cans of corn high on the shelf by knocking it down with a stick and catching it “easily”.
But why “corn”? Well, in the early days especially in amateur baseball, the outfield was known as the “cornfield” (think Field of Dreams, if that helps).
Modern day example
Take this Bleacher Report article about Albert Pujols as another current day example:
“I am not a professional hitting coach, but even I can tell Pujols’ approach at the plate has been a mess this season. He’s starting his swing too early, resulting in a lot of can-of-corn fly balls and weak ground balls to the left side of the infield.”
Ugh, as someone who has Pujols on his APBA baseball team, that hurts. Fortunately, he’s turned that around a bit (right? please say yes).