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Related to play ball: Play-Doh
To cooperate with someone; to do what someone wants or says. If you play ball, we'll be reduce your sentence from eight years to just two. Just play ball and do what they say, and nobody will get hurt!
1. Cooperate, as in The opposing attorneys refused to play ball with us. [Slang; c. 1900]
2. Get going, start, as in It's time to get a move on; let's play ball. This usage comes from the baseball umpire's call to start a game. [Slang; late 1800s]
COMMON If someone plays ball, they do what you want them to do. If they still won't play ball with us, we will have no choice but to take them to court. They thought they could use him for their propaganda, but he refused to play ball. Note: The usual American expression is play hardball.
play ballwork willingly with others; cooperate. informal
The literal sense of play ball is ‘play a team ball game such as baseball or cricket’.
play ˈball (with somebody)(informal) be willing to work with other people in a helpful way, especially so that somebody can get what they want: We need their help, but will they play ball? ♢ So he won’t play ball, eh? He’ll soon realize he can’t manage without us.
To cooperate: The opposing attorneys refused to play ball with us.