"knock out of the box"

SophieD

Senior Member
FRANCE - FRENCH
Baseball game.
A man says : Hayworth (the pitcher) is cracking up. They'll KNOCK HIM OUT OF THE BOX before the evening's over.
Could you please explain to me what it means ?
 
  • foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Older-generation baseball fans keep score on a sort of template with "boxes" on it-- a carryover from the radio days. I'm pretty sure this announcer was saying the shaky pitcher's name would soon be erased from its box, and a relief pitcher's pencilled in.

    There is also a "box" marked out by the chalk lines on the field, but it's the batter's box, and the commentary makes no sense to me if that's the box he's referring to. You don't knock a pitcher out of the batter's box for "breaking up," although you might brush him back or even bean him, if he's hit a batter with a pitch in the previous inning. Rare occurrence, but getting more common.
    .
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    SophieD said:
    Baseball game.
    A man says : Hayworth (the pitcher) is cracking up. They'll KNOCK HIM OUT OF THE BOX before the evening's over.
    Could you please explain to me what it means ?
    More commonly said would be, "They'll take him (pitcher) off the (pitcher's) mound before the evening's over.

    foxfirebrand is right in saying that the announcer's comment is unusual at best.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hi MJ,

    First, Fox may have been "right in saying that the announcer's comment is unusual at best." except for one little thing: Fox didn't say that.

    Many announcers continue to use the old terminology, and 'to knock someone out of the box' has spread from baseball to sports and even non-sporting colloquial language.

    Finally, Fox has presented an entirely plausible etymology, and it's wrong. Knickerbocker's Rules, which governed early professional baseball, specified a box from which the pitcher had to deliver the ball to the batter. This was used until, I think, the 1890s, when the pitcher's mound was substituted for it.

    So, for those of use old enough to remember the game back in the 1870s and 1880s, when the term had more currency, getting knocked out of the box meant being removed from the pitcher's box.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Oh really, Cuch-- those of us who remember the 1890s?

    Let's just agree that the natterer might've better said "they'll be sending him to the showers" instead.
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