Baseball Field Components
There are several major components of a baseball field that every fan and player must know. You may hear these components be called by multiple names:
- Bleacher Seats
- Batter's Box
- Catcher's Box
- Coach's Box
- Player Benches
- On-Deck Circle
- Home Plate
- 1st Base
- 2nd Base
- 3rd Base
- Running Lane
- Pitcher's Mound
- Pitcher's Plate/Rubber
- Pennant Flags
- Batting Cage
- Black Seats
Grandstand and Bleacher Seats
Spectators can sit in either the grandstand or in the bleacher seats. The grandstand consists of fold-out chairs, can have a partial roof covering, and can be arranged in multiple open-faced tiers. Depending on the stadium, the grandstand usually wraps around home plate and extends from foul pole to foul pole.
The bleacher seats consist of multiple rows of long benches. There is only one tier of bleacher seats, and they typically do not have a roof covering. They are usually situated behind the outfield, though not all stadiums have a bleacher section.
Batter's Box, Catcher's Box, Coach's Box
There are three (3) types of boxes on the field:
They are all marked off with white lines.
The batter's box is where the batter stands during his at-bat, or turn to hit. There are two batter's boxes, one on either side of home plate, to accommodate both left-handed and right-handed hitters.
The coach's boxes are positioned at 1st base and 3rd base and are used for the team on offense. Acting as an extra set of eyes, coaches stand in the coaches' boxes to direct their players when to stay on base and when to run to the next base.
Dugout and Player Benches
The dugout is a slightly underground, bunker-like space that contains the player benches, which is where players and coaches sit during the game. There are two dugouts, one for the home team and one for the visiting team. They are located along the base lines on opposite sides of the field.
Home plate is one of the most integral components of the field. When looking at a baseball diamond from above, it is located at the bottom-most corner, marked with a five-sided piece of white rubber. It is where batters take their turn to hit, and where runners must safely return in order to score. We will learn more about batters, runners, and scoring in future chapters.
Bases, also called bags, are 15-inch white squares of rubber or canvas that mark the three (3) corners of the infield (the fourth corner is home plate). In order to score, runners must advance bases until they eventually reach home plate. We will learn more about baserunners in future chapters.
When running the bases, runners start from home plate and always go counter-clockwise to reach each base. The order of bases goes 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, and home plate. 1st base is located here:
The running lane is a three-foot (3ft) wide lane that begins halfway between home plate and first base, and ends at first base. We will learn more about the importance of the running lane in Chapter 7: Baseball Baserunning.
The pitcher's plate/pitcher's rubber is located on the pitcher's mound, exactly 60.5 feet away from the rear, pointed end of home plate. When beginning the delivery of a pitch, the pitcher's back foot must be in contact with the pitcher's plate.
Often located near the stadium's clubhouse (a restricted, underground locker room), the batting cages are where players go to warm up, practice their swing, and/or make alterations to their swing with a coach's help. They often consist of narrow enclosures with a home plate, pitching machine or pitcher's mound, and walls of netting.
The black seats is an area located right behind centerfield that provides a background, free of distractions, to help the batter see the pitched ball more clearly. Typically colored black or dark green, it acts as a contrast to the white ball. The visibility provided by the black seats not only helps batters hit the ball, but it is also important in keeping the batter safe, allowing him to react in case the pitch comes close to hitting him.
The bullpen is a designated area somewhere slightly off the field where relief pitchers warm up. It consists of two sets of a pitcher's mound and an accompanying home plate (for the catcher), as well as benches and a telephone connecting to the dugout. There are two (2) bullpens in each stadium, one for the home team and one for the visiting team. We will learn more about relief pitchers in future chapters.