play ball with

play ball with (one)

1. Literally, to play baseball with, or throw a baseball back and forth with, one. Why don't you go out back and play ball with your son for a while? After spending a week in bed with the flu, Tommy was eager to go out and play ball with his friends.
2. To do what one wants or says; to cooperate with one. The prosecution is much more interested in bringing down your boss—if you play ball with them, they said they'll reduce your sentence from 15 years down to three. Just play ball with the kidnappers, and nobody will get hurt!
See also: ball, play
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

play ball with someone

1. Lit. to toss a ball back and forth with someone. Carla is out playing ball with the little kids. Will you play ball with us?
2. Lit. to play baseball or some other team sport with someone. Do you want to play ball with our team? I decided I wouldn't play ball with the school team anymore.
3. Fig. to cooperate with someone. Why can't you guys play ball with us? Max won't play ball with the gang anymore.
See also: ball, play
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

play ball with, to

To cooperate. The term apparently comes from baseball around the turn of the twentieth century. In baseball today, play ball simply means to start or continue playing the game. The with confers the idea of a team or cooperative effort. C. Terrett used the metaphor in Only Saps Work (1930): “The police are too dumb . . . to play ball with the hold-up mob.”
See also: ball, play, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
the in grip, force Yes, the European Union is still holding us against our will, but we don't have to play ball with them.
It's easier to play ball with teammates who become friends, and we have made many that we cherish!
He has had a bad experience somewhere along the way so can be wary of men when he first meets them but in time and once they play ball with him...
"I believe I was fired because I did not play ball with two members of the Republican delegation here in New Mexico.
A BA spokesman said: "Frank's partner was yellow-carded after she tried to board a plane with too much hand luggage and would not play ball with alternatives."
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Tony Lusardi with a charge of aiding and abetting INTERESTING that David Harding accepts Hills play ball with bookmakers who use exchanges and that Hills make use of exchanges, albeit indirectly and through a `bouncer'.
This piece is an homage to Ryokan, an eighteenth-century Japanese poet and monk who left behind as a relic the ball of thread embroidered with peonies and butterflies that be always carried with him and used to play ball with children.
``It's important to understand that if you play ball with the authorities then they will play ball with you.
because he wouldn't play ball with Lay and (2) giving Lay veto power over Hebert's replacement by arranging for Lay to interview the candidates.
The Union also launched "Don't Play Ball With a Racist City," an attempt to deny funding for a new football coliseum in Los Angeles until the MTA agrees to buy an additional 481 buses.
The England star, who has only recently returned to action after yet another injury lay-off, is refusing to play ball with the club after they tabled an offer of pounds 1million a year.
I would teach them tricks, play ball with them, or traditional games (which I could never get the hang of).
Finally, Up From Conservatism is partly a memoirist's account of how and when the scales fell from his eyes: how, for example, Lind realized that Buckley was willing to play ball with Robertson after Lind had exposed Robertson's book as a heap of recycled conspiracy theories.
Beckham (left) made it clear that he would not play ball with Fabio Capello's plan to give him an England send-off in a friendly.