Baseball Terms Glossary
(Starting with "K")
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This is an alphabetical list of selected unofficial and specialized terms,
phrases, and other jargon used in baseball, and their
definitions, including illustrative examples for many entries.
- The traditional abbreviation for a strikeout. A backwards K is often
used to denote a called strikeout. Invented by Henry Chadwick by taking
the "most prominent" letter of "struck" and reinforced
by inference of "knockout" or "K.O." That connotation
still exists, when the announcer says the pitcher "punched out"
the batter, a play on words that also refers to "punching"
a time clock and the punching motion that the home plate umpire usually
makes on a called third strike.
keep off the boards
- Also singular, "keep off the board." Keep a team from scoring, and
hence off the scoreboard. "Bumgarner has kept runs off the board at
a better rate than Carpenter."
"After loading the bases with one down in the fourth, the Gators were
kept off the board by Barham."
keep the hitter honest
- A pitcher needs to mix up his pitches and thereby "keep the hitter
honest" by making it difficult for the hitter to anticipate the
type, speed, and location of the next pitch. Sometimes this means throwing
a brushback pitch to keep the batter from leaning over the plate to
reach a pitch on the outer part of the plate. "Partially with Boston
in mind, Wang focused this spring on expanding his repertoire to keep
hitters honest and move them off the plate."
keep the line moving
- A reference to a series of batters getting on base safely and advancing
runners on base, alluding to an assembly line. "Beltran's popout
tore apart a rally that had shaken the Hall of Fame-bound Rivera, molding
a game out of what moments before had been a five-run rout. Instead,
Beltran couldn't keep the line moving, leaving an eager David Wright
awaiting on deck."
- Second base. Like the keystone of an arch, second base is the key
to both scoring (a runner on the base is in scoring position) and defense
(with strength up the middle).
- Together the shortstop and second baseman – the two players who play
nearest to second base, often combining on double plays – are sometimes
referred to as the keystone combination.
- A player who makes an error fielding a ground ball may be said to have "kicked the ball" or "kicked it."
- A batter who hits the ball very far may be said to have "killed the ball."
- A pitcher who stifles a rally by the opposing team may be said to have "killed the rally."
- The inside half of the strike zone. "That pitch was all up in his kitchen".
- Knock in: To score an RBI. "Kenny Lofton knocked in
the go-ahead run with a 10th-inning single Thursday afternoon as
the Cleveland Indians beat Detroit, 3-1."
- A Hit: as in "a two-base knock".
- Knocks: Hard hits or extra base hits, not necessarily producing
RBIs or referring to a specific type of hit. "Curtis had some solid
- Knocked around: A pitcher who gives up a lot of hits and
gets removed from the game is said to have been knocked around
or knocked out of the box or knocked out of the game.
- Knock down: an infielder who stops a line drive from getting
through the infield "knocks it down," perhaps then picking up the
ball and throwing the runner out.
- Knock off: to knock off an opponent is to win the game.
"Hawai'i knocks off Santa Clara."
- Knock the cover off the ball: to hit a baseball extremely
hard. See also tore
the cover off the ball.
- A pitch thrown with no spin, traditionally thrown with the knuckles,
but also with the fingertips. It tends to flutter and move suddenly
on its way to the plate. Also refers to a batted ball that flutters
"like a knuckleball." SYNONYMS: knuckler, flutterball, butterfly
ball, floater, bug.
See all sports glossaries:
Published - February 2011
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