A Conversation for Baseball

Additional Baseball info.

Post 1

Just Mark

As interesting as the article on baseball may be, it doesn't cover the game as completely as it perhaps should. In fact it seems to have been written by someone not all too familiar with the game. So, I will endeavor to help describe aspects of the game of baseball not included in the main article.

To begin, the game is one in which two teams compete on a field which is roughly shaped like the outline of a cone, the inner part of the field of play is in the shape of a diamond. At the corners of the diamond are bases; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and home plate. In the center of the diamond is a raised mound from which the pitcher sets the ball in play. This diamond shaped part of the field is more frequently called the in-field. The other part of the field in the outer portion of the field is known as the outfield. There are three positions in this area, right field, center field and left field.

The game is played over the course of nine innings(I understand that this is a cricket term). In the first half of the inning the team who is visiting gets to take their turn at bat and likewise the home team gets to bat in the second half of each inning. The aim of the game is to score "runs." The team with the most runs at the end of nine innings of play wins. If the home team has more runs than their opponent after the visiting team's at bat in the ninth inning, then the home team does not bat, since there is no need to add runs to their score.

"Runs" are scored when the batting team is able to advance their runners around the bases to homebase or the home plate. The offense consists of nine batters each of these players usually plays in the field, there is a position called designated hitter, but I won't go into that now. Each batter is placed in what is known as a line-up. The line-up is set according to the ability of each batter. This first and second batters are usually players who can get on base and have the ability to run well. The third, fourth and fifth batters are most likely your better hitters and are able to hit the ball far, often times far enough to hit the ball out of the field of play for what is known as a homerun. The sixth, seventh and eighth batters are usually weaker hitters however not always. The ninth batter is often the weakest hitter on the team, but some coaches will use this position as a "second lead-off" hitter or a guy with similar abilities to the first and second batter.

If a batter, or hitter, gets a hit they must then run the bases until they are unable to advance to a base safely. There are four types of hits, a single -- in which the batter may only advance to first base, a double -- in which the batter may only advance to second base, a triple -- in which the batter may only advance to third base and finally a home run in which the batter is able to advance through all of the bases and score a run with out being impeded.

A hitter may also get on base in other ways. The batter may be hit by a pitched ball, the batter may hit the ball to a fielder and the fielder may drop the ball, the batter may hit the ball to a fielder on the ground and the fielder may choose to get another base runner out or be unable to complete the play, and the pitcher may throw four bad pitches to the hitter and walk the hitter.

While on base the batsman or hitter becomes a runner and may advance bases as they are able at almost anytime. This is called stealing bases. If they are caught, however, they will be called out.
The inning halves are over when the team in the field is able to successfully get three outs, this leads to the defensive portion of the game.

The defensive side of the game is played by position players they are; 1) the pitcher - this player throws the ball so that the hitter can make an attempt to put the ball in play. Attempt is the key word here, the main objective of the pitcher is to cause the hitter to miss the ball by throwing the ball in what is known as the "strike zone." The pitcher uses basically three types of pitches to achieve this goal. First, is the fastball. Second, the curveball. And lastly is the off speed pitch. The pitcher is able to throw these different pitches by gripping or holding the ball in different ways. If the batter misses a ball or doesn't swing at a ball in the strike zone three times he will be called out by an official known as an umpire. If the pitcher is unable to throw the ball in the "strike zone" on four occaisions with out the hitter swinging, the hitter may walk to first base at which time he becomes a runner. 2) The catcher is the player who recieves the pitched ball from the pitcher. The catcher works in concert with the pitcher to decide what pitches should be thrown during the course of an at bat. He is often times the best athelete on the team his job is also to throw out any runners who attempt to steal a base. 3) The first baseman -- his job is to field balls that are hit his way and to recieve balls thrown from other position players to get batters out at first base. 4) The second baseman - This player is on the first base side of second base and is to field balls hit on that side of the in-field.
5) The third baseman - This player is on the opposite side of the in-field from the first baseman. His job is to field balls on his side of the in-field. 6) The short-stop - this player plays between the third baseman and second base on the third base side of the field. He is often the best infielder on the team. Both the third baseman and short stop must have strong arms as their positions are far from first base where most outs are made. 7) The right fielder - his job is to catch fly balls and recieve ground balls that are hit past third base and short stop and throw them into the infield 8) The center fielder -- this player is to play in the center of the outfield and is often the best outfielder. His job is to catch fly balls hit into the center of the outfield and to recieve ground balls that are hit by the short stop and second baseman., 9) finally the Left fielder - his job is similar to the others except that he will catch balls on the left side of the field and receive ground balls that get by the second baseman and first baseman.

Outs are made when the ball is caught in the air or when a ball hit on the ground is thrown to a defensive player standing on a base before a runner gets to said base or when a runner is tagged by a man holding the baseball.

This information just touches the surface of what occurs during the course of a game and as convoluted as it may sound it's really a terrific sport to watch and play.

J. M.

Additional Baseball info.

Post 2

Charlie the Zebra

Except that the left fielder is actually standing behind the third baseman and shortstop, and the right fielder is standing behind the first and second basemen. Otherwise, a good follow-up intro.

Meanwhile, it's not properly called a foul tip unless it glances off the bat and is caught by the catcher. A foul tip is like an en passant move in chess: it counts the same as a swing and a miss, in other words, as a strike (regardless of how many prior strikes to that batter). If the catcher doesn't catch the ticked ball, it's just a plain old foul ball.

But I digress.

For some good views of facilities in which the game is played professionally in Canada and the US, visit Charlie's Big Baseball Parks Page: http://members.aol.com/charliezeb/stadiums.htm

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