Baseball Field Components

Baseball Field Components

There are many parts that make up a baseball field. These field components are also known by many different names. Here is a complete list of field components in baseball:


The Infield

Baseball Infield

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 first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, and shortstop are all known as infielders.

The Outfield

Baseball Outfield

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

Baseball Bases

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. Runners need to touch each base before heading to the next one, otherwise they can be tagged or thrown out.

Home Plate

Baseball Home Plate

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. Unlike first, second, and third base, home plate is level with the ground as opposed to being raised above the ground.

The Boxes

Baseball Boxes

There are three types of boxes on a baseball field that are used in various parts of the game.

  1. batter's box
  2. catcher's box
  3. coach's box

These boxes are all marked off with white lines.

Batter’s Box

Baseball Batters Box

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. In Major League Baseball, the batter’s boxes are four feet wide and six feet long.

Catcher’s Box

Baseball Catchers Box

The catcher's box is where the catcher on defense squats to receive the pitcher's pitch. It is located behind home plate, and is three feet and seven inches wide by eight feet long.

Coach’s Box

Baseball Coaches Box

The coach's boxes are positioned at 1st base and 3rd base and are used for the team on offense. This is where the first and third base coaches reside while their team is hitting. 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. At times, coaches will step out of the box in order to get a better angle on a play and wave or hold a baserunner.

Dugout and Player Benches

Baseball Dugout

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. One dugout will always be deemed the “home dugout” and the other will be the “road dugout.” Which dugout each team occupies can vary from stadium to stadium in Major League Baseball. Major league dugouts feature a tunnel down to the clubhouse, benches for seating, and bat/helmet racks.

On Deck Circle

Baseball On Deck Circle

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. They are positioned in such a way that they will be out of the line of most foul balls and pitches, but also close enough to the action that the on-deck batter can quickly step up to the plate and watch the pitcher while they take their practice swings. Each team uses the on deck circle closest to their dugout.

Batting Cage

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.

Running Lane

Baseball Running Lane

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.

Pitcher’s Mound

Baseball Pitchers Mound

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 mound is 60 feet and 6 inches away from home plate, and at its peak the mound is ten inches taller than home plate. This elevation allows the pitcher to stride downard while they deliver their pitch, which helps increase velocity.

Pitcher’s Plate/Rubber

Baseball Pitchers Plate

The pitcher's plate or pitcher's rubber is located on the pitcher's mound, exactly 60 feet and six inches away from the rear, pointed end of home plate. The pitching rubber is a 24 inch by six inch rectangle. When beginning the delivery of a pitch, the pitcher's back foot must be in contact with the pitcher's plate or else they will be called for a balk.

No Man’s Land

Baseball No Mans Land

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). Balls batted into no man's land typically end up being hits. No man's land might also refer to the area of the infield between the pitcher's mound and home plate.

Bullpen

Baseball Bullpen

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. The bullpens will either be located off to the side of the diamond in foul territory or in left and right centerfield.

Grandstand and Bleacher Seats

Baseball 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 Eye

The batter’s eye 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 batter’s eye 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.

Foul Lines and Poles

Baseball Foul Lines

Foul lines are straight, white chalk lines that run from the batter’s boxes all the way through first and third base out to the outfield wall. These lines indicate whether a batted ball is fair or foul. If a ball hits the line on the fly, it is considered a fair ball.

The foul poles are large poles (typically yellow in color) that help indicate whether a fly ball is fair or foul. Additionally, if a ball hits the foul pole on the fly, it is considered a fair ball and a home run. The foul poles sit in line with the foul lines, and serve as a crucial tool for determining whether or not a fly ball down the line is a home run.

FAQ

What is the area behind the infield?

The area behind the infield is fittingly named the outfield. While the infield is composed of dirt or clay, the outfield is typically grass or turf. Beyond the outfield, there is typically a good deal of seating for fans.

How many bases are there on a baseball field?

Within the infield, there are three bases and home plate. The three bases are called first base, second base, and third base. The bases are named in the order in which base runners cross them.

What material is used for baseball fields?

Baseball fields are composed of a variety of different materials. Some fields are strictly made of turf, throughout the infield and outfield. However, most outdoor parks consist of grass in the outfield/foul territory and either clay or dirt on the infield.