Walk-off (WO)

Definition

A walk-off occurs when the home team takes the lead in the bottom of the ninth or extra innings. Because the visiting team will not get another turn at-bat, the game ends immediately, with the home team victorious.

A walk-off can be recorded in many ways, including: a hit, an error, a walk with the bases loaded, a hit by pitch with the bases loaded, a sacrifice fly, an out (with less than two outs in the inning), a wild pitch, a passed ball and a balk. As long as enough runs are scored to end the game as the result of the play, it is considered a walk-off.

In walk-off situations with fewer than two outs and a runner on third base, a visiting team will typically adjust its defense to maximize the chances of stopping a runner at home plate. The visitors typically bring the infield in, so the infielders are positioned closer to home plate. Sometimes, a manager will even bring one of his outfielders into the infield to maximize the chances of throwing home for an out on a ground ball. Outfielders will almost always play very shallow to have a chance at a double play on a flyout or to throw the runner out at home on a single.

Viewed by many as the most exciting way to end a baseball game, a walk-off is almost always celebrated by the home team, with its players mobbing the contributor who recorded the game-winning plate appearance. Because a walk-off can only occur in the game's final half inning, the visiting team cannot record a walk-off in any situation.

Origin

The term walk-off was originally coined by pitcher Dennis Eckersley to describe game-ending home runs that were so deep, you didn't have to look at them as a pitcher. You just "walked off." Since then, the term has evolved to connote a situation where the game ends, with the losing team left to "walk off" the field in defeat.

Example

Watch: Kris Bryant hits a walk-off home run.

In A Call

"game-winner," "winner," "sudden victory," "game-ender"