For example, the MC at a talent show might say:
“Currently on stage is [Performance 1], up next we have [Performance 2] and [Performance 3] is ____.”
I know the phrase exists because I’ve heard it recently at a competition but I can’t remember what the presenters said (the usage of this phrase was consistent throughout the entire performance).
Also, I am 99% sure the phrase wasn’t
in the bullpen
What else could it have been?
In baseball terminology, the player currently batting is described as at bat. The player next in line is described as on deck. The next player after that is in the hole.
A lot of caseball terminology has seeped into general American English. Phrases like strike out, screwball, rain check have all come into common use from baseball.
Other common English phrases used in baseball, but not originating there include: shut out, bullpen, (possibly) southpaw, on-deck and in the hole.
These last two both seem to have originated in naval or maritime lingo. Some sources claim that these terms were used on aircraft carriers to describe pilots in line to take off (“In the Hole or on Hold?”). According to this argument, a pilot not yet on deck waits “in the hole.” What is the hole? These sources tend not to make any guesses. According to this glossary of U.S. Naval slang, the hole is the “main machinery space where an engineer works. ‘What do you do onboard?’ ‘I work in The Hole.’ Also ‘The Pit.'”
I don’t know much about aircraft carriers, but it seems unlikely that a pilot would be hanging out with the engineers before going on-deck.
Other sources, including this one published by the MLB (Discover the mysterious origins of some of baseball’s most well-known terms), claim that the phrase was originally “in the hold.” The hold of a ship is typically the area where cargo is stored – also an unlikely place for a pilot to be waiting – but according to Merriam-Webster, it can also mean “the interior of a ship below decks” (“Hold”). Seems reasonable, but I remain unconvinced.