However, knowing just the very basics of baseball might be useful when communicating in English. One such case is the baseball move that originated the phrasal verb to step up, in fact a short form of the phrase to step up to the plate.
In baseball, the plate, or home plate, is where the batter ("rebatedor") receives the ball thrown in his direction. You can see the home plate at the bottom of the baseball field below:
See a white five-sided mat set at ground level right below the batter? That's the plate. It is made of rubber, mind you, and is used to identify the batter's position.
A batter stepping up to (=moving near) the home plate is the equivalent of a soccer player stepping up to the penalty spot in a shootout ("cobrança de penalty"). As the crowd cheers on and the spotlights are all on him, the batter needs to have quite a lot of confidence under the pressure of trying to hit the ball and score points for his team.
This level of confidence when stepping up to the plate in baseball is used in other areas of life to mean "assumir responsabilidade", "não se omitir", "não se furtar da responsabilidade". For example:
- Casas Bahia's Customer Service really stepped up to the plate for me and solved my problem. Their staff was respectful and in two days they shipped me a brand new TV set.
- He finally stepped up and asked her to marry him.
- If you want this promotion, you're going to have to step up. [mostrar que é capaz; fazer por onde]
That's it. Till next time!