How To Play Baseball
Baseball is one of the only true American sports. The MLB (Major League Baseball) was founded in 1876 in Cincinnati, Ohio. This article details the basics of baseball. If you want to learn how to play, this is the perfect place to start.
1. Learn the Basics
The sport of baseball is played on a diamond field with two parts: the infield and the outfield. The infield is all dirt. It consists of lines and bases that form a diamond. The pitcher’s mound lies in the diamond’s center. The infield positions are (starting at home base and making our way around as runners do) the catcher, first baseman, second baseman, shortstop, and third baseman. The outfield is all grass; it is an extension of the infield diamond and consists of the left fielder, the center fielder, and the right fielder.
A baseball game involves two teams of nine that take turns playing on offense and defense. Runners start at home base and make their way around the bases until they end up where they began. Pitchers pitch the ball to the batters from the pitcher’s mound, attempting to strike them out. Batters try to hit the ball and get on base, and defenders (or fielders) try to get the batters out before they can.
2. Understand the Rules
An at-bat (whenever a batter gets up to the plate and tries to hit the pitcher’s throws) can have a maximum of three strikes and four balls. Strikes occur when the pitcher throws a ball inside the strike zone. The strike zone is an imaginary box that spans the width of home plate and goes from the batter’s elbows to their knees. Balls occur when the ball lands outside of the strike zone. Three strikes equal an out, and four balls (or if a batter gets hit by the ball) equal a walk resulting in an automatic base.
If a batter hits the ball and it does not land in the boundaries of the field (dictated by the outer white lines), it is considered a foul ball, and they get another batting attempt (though the foul counts as a strike unless it would be the third strike).
Each baseball game consists of nine rounds called innings. Each inning is divided into two halves, one for each team to be on offense while the other is on defense. The batting team is allowed three outs before they have to switch to defense. Outs can occur in the form of strikeouts, if a fielder catches a batter’s hit in midair, if a batter gets tagged while not on base, or if a fielder touches a base before a batter gets there.
3. Get Equipment
Basic baseball equipment includes:
- A baseball bat
- A fielder’s glove
- Batting gloves
- A batting helmet
- A mouthpiece
- Sturdy pants
- Catcher’s gear
All of this equipment can be easily found new or used on Amazon or other online retailers by searching the name of the item and the keyword baseball. If you prefer to go in and get a feel for the equipment, then a sporting store like Dick’s Sporting Goods may be the best option. Ask an employee if you need help finding anything.
4. Find a Baseball Field
Baseball can be played virtually anywhere. Kids play baseball in gyms, streets, fields, and parking lots. The game requires open space, bases, a pitcher’s mound, and clear lines to identify what is in bounds. However, if you want a more realistic experience, you could look up public baseball fields near me. Plenty of parks and schools have baseball fields. You can usually find them easily because they have giant metal fences to catch stray balls.
Throwing a baseball is fairly straightforward. Follow these steps:
- Grip the ball in your dominant hand with your pointer finger, ring finger, and thumb.
- Make sure the ball is flush with the palm of your hand, and have your two fingers resting on top of the ball and your thumb resting on the bottom.
- Face perpendicular to where you plan to throw the ball and lock your legs together.
- Turn your head to face where the ball will go.
- Unlock your legs by stepping forward with the leg opposite your throwing hand.
- Bring your arm back above your head and bend your elbow.
- Extend your arm with the ball forward, twist your hips to face your target, straighten your elbow, and release the ball.
Baseball players stick their non-dominant hands in gloves so that their dominant ones are free to throw the ball. Each fielder’s glove should have two holes, one for the thumb and the other for the four fingers: that way, you should be able to open and close the glove freely by connecting your fingers to your thumb.
To catch an airborne ball, open the glove and follow the ball with your eyes. Then, place the glove where the ball is going to fall. As the ball hits the center of your glove, close your hand, connecting your fingers to your thumb. To catch a ground ball, flush the glove’s outer end to the ground as if you are about to scoop up some grass. Place your glove where the ball will roll. Once the ball rolls into your glove, close it up.
Home plate has two sides that make up the batter’s box. When batting, players must choose a side of home plate to stand on. Once up to the plate, raise the bat over your head on the side opposite the pitcher and wait for him to throw the ball.
The bat is normally vertical or tilted a little back. Face sideways so the bat will connect with the ball and launch it forward. When the pitcher throws the ball, follow it with your eyes. Then, swing the bat forward and try to hit the ball near the bat’s end (but not too far on the end).
When baserunning, speed is key. However, there are a few tricks. When standing on base, runners can lead off a little or stand a few steps from the base to give them a head start. Also, runners can steal a base (or run to the next base without their teammate getting a hit) at practically any time, as long as there is no penalty, whistle, or foul ball.
9. Practice With Others
If you are into baseball, ask around your friend groups to see if anybody else wants to give playing a go. Then, gather some friends and buy some makeshift bases and find yourself a field to play on. Playing with others lets you get used to fielding and pitching the ball. Most importantly, it allows you to practice batting: a really important skill to hone. If your friends are not the type to play baseball, join a social media group that regularly plays near you or look up baseball leagues for newbies.
10. Play a Game
Playing a real game can get intense. Make sure to pay attention at all times while playing, especially when fielding. Letting a ball go by you because you were not paying attention can be embarrassing.
Before playing, make sure to warm up. Stretch a little, run a little, and get your blood pumping. Also, practice a couple of throws and take a few swings at balls pitched by one of your teammates. Warming up can sometimes mean all the difference.
How do you play the sport of baseball?
The game of baseball is played on a diamond field with an infield and an outfield. Two teams of nine take turns pitching and fielding on defense and batting on offense in nine innings. The fielding team pitches the baseball to the batter on the opposing team and tries to get them out. Batters try to hit the ball where the fielders are not and get to first base without getting out. Once they make it around the bases, they score a run or point. Whoever has the most points at the end of the nine innings wins!