Every baseball field has two main parts called the infield and outfield. The infield consists of the dirt area containing home plate and the three bases (1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base), the grass within this dirt area, and the pitcher's mound. Defensive players whose positions are located within the infield are the pitcher, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, and shortstop.
The outfield is the grassy area beyond the infield. If you were to divide the outfield approximately into thirds, the left portion would be left field, the middle portion would be center field, and the right portion would be right field. Defensive players whose positions are located within the outfield are the left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder.
The bases, also called bags, are 15-inch white squares of rubber or canvas that mark the three corners of the infield (the fourth corner is home plate). In order to score, runners must advance the bases until they eventually reach home plate. There are three bases on a baseball field called first base, second base, and third base.
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.
There are three types of boxes on a baseball field that are used in various parts of the game.
These boxes 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 catcher's box is where the catcher on defense squats to receive the pitcher's pitch. It is located behind home plate.
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.
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.
Just outside the entrance to the dugout is the on-deck circle. Players who are on-deck, or whose turn to bat is next, perform their practice swings on the on-deck circle.
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 running lane is a three foot wide lane that begins halfway between home plate and first base, and ends at first base. It is used by base runners when they advance to 1st base.
The pitcher's mound is a circle of dirt in the center of the infield where the pitcher stands to deliver his pitches. It is called a mound because it is slightly sloped, like a small hill.
The pitcher's plate or 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.
Despite the presence of so many defensive players, there are still areas of the field that cannot quickly be reached by a fielder/defensive player. This area is typically in the part of the outfield that is shallow, or closer to the infield. It is in between the outfielders and the infielders (first baseman, second baseman, and third baseman and shortstop). Baseballs hit in no man's land are typically hits. We will learn more about hits in future chapters. No man's land might also refer to the area of the infield between the pitcher's mound and home plate.
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 bullpens in each stadium, one for the home team and one for the visiting team. We will learn more about relief pitchers later.
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.
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.