Baseball has never been omitted from the list of most popular games in the world. It is very much popular and played by the young players and adults in every country and every culture. Most of the people who are interested in it want to find the basics and know how to play baseball.
The game has evolved is current form and structure from earlier bat and ball games played in the American culture and England and has its unique features and characteristics which can be explained in many ways.
Learning and practicing the baseball for beginners can be tricky without knowing the basics of baseball and important rules. Basically, if you need to know what the game is all about, what are the essential components of the game and how you can learn right from the start and reach the advanced level of playing the game like a pro, you may need a little help and practice.
But, to smooth your way to learning the baseball game, here is your complete guide to help you start learning the game without having any doubt in your mind.
1. Basics of The Baseball
Basically, when you are up for playing baseball, you need to have two separate teams that will play the two basic roles in the game. One is the batting team in every inning, and the other will be the bowling or the fielding players.
The two teams may consist of 9 players each, or you can say there could be up to 25 players whereas the extra players are substitutes which may come in the field when necessary in place of the players who may have got injured or tired.
The two teams can be domestic or composed of players from two different location or countries. Usually, when the game is set to start, the guest team always bats first and the home team is the second to bat in the innings.
Here is some important things about the field or the playground and it specific setup.
2. The Playground
The playground in the game is a square field, but it is usually called as the diamond field due to the fact that the fielders, the batter and the pitcher play in the field in a diamond like the direction.
The playground is divided into four bases which are the four corners of the square in the field. The four bases are termed as the home base, the first base, second base and the third base. Home bases are for the batter where he stands and hits the ball, the first, second and third base are the fielders who are the infield while there is another base about 60.5 feet away from that of the home base and is the pitcher’s mount.
Here the pitcher stands to throw the ball towards the home base where the batter awaits the ball and hit it to score runs. Each of the four bases is 90 feet away from each other.
The rest of the surrounding area around the infield bases is the outfield where the outfielders try to catch and stop the ball from going far away so that they can stop the runs and the score. The area has a wall around it and is about 325 and 450 feet away from the home base
There are two lines from the first and the third base lines which are termed as the foul lines, and there is a foul pole to tell the players where they should not hit too long and which is the fair territory. The area marked and which does come in the foul line is the fair territory, and the players can make a long hit there without being accused of any kind of foul.
3. Essentials Equipment For The Game
The players need to have proper baseball game outfit in which the will have to have the baseball gloves which are available in different forms and sizes. The gloves come in various different types and designs to comply with various needs of the players and the fielders.
Due to the fact, each player plays a specific role, and you may need to have specific type of baseball glove, like for the pitcher, you will need to buy the pitcher’s glove, the batter has a different kind of gloves, the fielder who are in the infield need gloves having more pressure absorbing capabilities than the outfielders.
There is a bat which is a barrel shaped stick at the anterior end and also a narrow grip part that helps the batter to keep the bat in his hands firmly.
In addition to this, you will need to have a baseball game ball, helmet and few padding necessities that will protect the players’ form getting hurt.
4. The Players and The Field Setup
The players in the game are two separate teams. They are either from two different location or institutes of a group of people who decide to play the game on the defined terms.
One team bats and the other team starts bowling. The bowling team has nine players on the field where the three infielders are there on each of the first, second and third base while the others are in the outfield. The bowler is on the bowler’s mount or pad.
The batter is on the home base and ready to swing and hit the ball as far as he can within the fair territory and scores the runs by running through the three bases.
Innings And Turns
9 innings are played between the two teams. Each team is allowed to bat until three of the batsman are out and after they are out the other team get into batting until they have their three players out. In case the game is tied, tenth, eleventh or twelfth innings are played until the game is declared and won by any one team.
5. Role of The Players and Fielders
Each of the players has his unique role to play on the field ground. There are no special or hidden rules, rather each of the players is given a definite role, and the player has to fulfill his duties very actively.
Let’s have a look at the roles and activities the players have to perform while playing the baseball game:
The bowler is the one from the team which has fielders on the ground and they will bowl to the batter and will try their best to stop giving the batter the time to run and complete a home run.
The pitcher has to throw or pitch the ball to the batter in a fair way. The ball has to be thrown straight to the batter. Though, it depends on the bowler to what extent he has the ability to throw the ball and still technically twist the ball to make sure the batter may not judge its angle and speed.
The batter has a bat to use and hit the ball or strike it as far as he can. There are two foul lines from each of the first and third base that extends to mark the area where the batter may not hit the ball or else there will be a penalty for that. The batter is allowed to hit or strike in the fair territory and can hit enough hard to make sure he is capable of dodging the fielders and make the home run to win the game.
The catcher is the man or the player that stays behind the batter. The catcher has to keep his focus on the incoming ball so that if the batter misses it out, the ball is being captured by him. In case the ball lands near the catcher, he may also help in fielding and throw it back to the other fielders or the pitcher. The catcher needs heavy padded gear and mitts to make sure he is capable of catching up the ball without having any injuries.
The infielders are the players who stay on each of the three bases which are first second and the third bases. The first baseman has to take care of the ball if the batter hit toward that direction or nearby. Whereas the second and third baseman takes care of the areas that come within these two bases and surrounding as well.
There is a shortstop also who return the ball to the 3rd and 2nd bases. A third baseman is an important place because when a person has to take care of the third base, it means that he has to be very careful in catching and keeping the ball and also to throw the ball to the home bases. Due to the fact most of the batters strike the ball right towards the third base and if the third baseman is capable of catching and throwing it back to the home base, there is a great chance that the batter can be made out and may not make a run further.
The outfielders consist of three players who take the position of right, left, and the middle part of the diamond shaped the field, and they have to take care of high and long shot made by the batter. They have to be good catchers and have strong throwing capabilities to make sure they never miss a catch.
The Role of Umpire
An umpire is a necessary person in every game and so is in the baseball match. There could be 2-3 umpires who may watch the game directly while staying on the ground. One of the umpires is always near the home base, and the other two stay in the outfield. It is an umpire’s duty to start the game and declare the results as observed with the help of what they have seen or through recorded happenings they can see.
6. Out and Not Out or Foul
Out and not out or foul are a few of the conditions in which the batter has to leave the base due to the fact he has been put out of the game due to any of the following reasons:
If the pitcher pitches the ball and the hitter misses it three times in a row, the batter is considered to strike out. But it should be noticed that the strikeout is only effective if the ball is pitched within the fair territory and was thrown appropriately without any high or extremely low angles.
Tag out means when one of the fielder tag the batter by touching him with the ball in his hand. Though, it is not allowed to throw the ball and hit the batter with it to tag him out. It has to be kept in hand to tag out the batter.
Force out is in action when one of the runner starts running and the next one has to run because two runners cannot be on the same base at this time if the fielder touches the ball to the base from where the hitter has moved on, and the other one has not arrived yet, the hitter is put out.
Groundout is the way in which the batter is put out when one of the fielders touches the home base with the ball before the batter reaches the home base.
Fly out works when the fielder is successful in catching the ball that has been hit by the batter. If one of the catchers catches the ball, the batter is put out for sure.
7. Understanding the Terms Foul Ball, Ball, Stealing Base and Free Walk
The concept or the terms used in the game like the foul, ball, stealing the base during the run and earning a free walk is necessary to make sure to take the advantage and would not get into any trouble while you try to make the runs.
A foul ball is the one that is not hit within the fair territory or is not thrown in a straight way deliberately thrown away or it’s a strike and in case three foul hits are made the batter strike out.
Ball occurs when the pitcher throws the ball which is not pitched correctly and is away from the hitting zone. If that happens, the hitter earns the free walk.
Stealing base is dangerous is not recommended at all. But some players do it when the hitter keep running towards the next base even when the ball is in the hands of the pitcher or any of the fielder and the runners try to steal the other base by taking advantage of the doubtful condition among the fielders.
8. Understand the Runs You Make In The Game
If you are not sure how is baseball scored, here is a brief introduction to this. The runs which are scored during the game are counted when the runner runs towards the first base from the home base and then towards the next two bases and then comes back to the home base. Here is how the runs are counted:
A single run is counted when the runner runs from the home base to the first base. This is very common and is the most frequent run making strategy in the game.
A double run is counted when the runner runs towards the first and then the second base. This is scored as two runs.
Trio or Three Runs
Three runs are rare because most of the time, the runner may reach the home base and make the home run if he is capable of running to the third base or else he may get into trouble and can be put out easily if he miss judges the condition.
A home run means four runs in one go when the runner completes the round by running through the first, second and the third base and reaches back to the home base before he is being tagged out or run out.
9. Things You Should Avoid While Playing Baseball
There are many things that you may have to avoid while playing a baseball game whilst most of them you may learn while playing on the baseball ground. But some mistakes are very common can be learned and avoided through the experiences other have shared already.
Avoid Ambiguous Decisions
Ambiguous decisions are always risky. If you cannot judge if your ball is hit far enough to let you run to the next base, you may not run and you should stay on your base. In addition to that, you may not try to steal the base until and unless you see the attention of the catcher or the pitcher is drifted away from you or the base where you are intended to reach. In the case of any such decision, you will be forced out of the game very easily.
Leaving Too Many Hits
Never leave too many hits as it will go against you until and unless the bowler or pitcher is sending in the balls that are away from the hitting zone and it can benefit you to give a free walk.
Hitting the Wrong Ball or Strike in The Wrong Direction
Never hit in the wrong direction or through the foul line. This will go straightly against you.
Not Focusing on The Ball
Never lose focus and make sure you focus on the ball and the strategy the pitcher is using to keep you hitting the wrong way.
Never leave hope and try your best to hit the ball and run as best as you can till you reach your goal.
Best Things To Do When Playing Baseball
The best way to understand the baseball game is knowing the basic setup and then you may need to understand the various basic and advanced strategies the players use to make sure they will play and win as per their calculations:
Make Sure You Understand the Pitcher’s Strategy
Knowing the pitcher’s strategy will help you in making the decision regarding your strike or hit and will determine the way you make up your strategy as a batter. Or if you are the pitcher the basic and advanced strategies will help you to get the batter hit and make mistakes so that he can be put out of the game easily.
The pitcher may try to use various strategies depending on the left and right handedness of the batter as well his preferences. Most pitchers try to sink the ball or give strike balls so that the hitter hit the ball the wrong way and the pitcher will get the advantage.
Understand the Fielding Strategies
Fielding strategies are also important. You may have to understand where the fielders are placed and you need to calculate the distance between each of the fielders so that you may hit with the right amount of force and in the right direction where you can hit long and hard to make runs as quickly as possible.
Who Should /Can Play The Game?
The game is best for any age group and can be played by the ages 7 and above. That is why baseball is one of the favorite games that is played in schools, colleges, and universities and also professionally on national and international levels. Anyone who is interested and has the passion can play the game for sure.
Concluding our basic guide regarding the baseball game, we may say that playing baseball can be a fun activity if you are capable of understanding and implementing the basic things to work and can help yourself learn the game and practice a lot.
You may have to learn how to play baseball and practice a lot before you actually start playing in a team. You can take help from other teams or join a coach for better learning and practice.