The two main parts of a baseball field are the infield and outfield. The outfield contains fewer defensive players than the infield, but is still a vital area to defend. Read on to learn more about the outfield in baseball.
What Is the Outfield in Baseball?
The outfield in baseball is the grassy area beyond the infield that also contains the warning track and left and right field foul poles. The outfield is approximately divided into imaginary thirds to create left field, center field, and right field. The left fielder, right fielder, and center fielder are assigned a respective area of the outfield to mainly field in.
According to the MLB rulebook, newer parks must have a minimum distance between home plate and both field foul poles as well as the center field fence. Parks constructed after June 1, 1958 must have at least 325 feet of distance between home plate and the left-field foul pole and at least 325 feet of distance between home plate and the right-field foul pole. Such parks must also have at least 400 feet between home plate and the fence or other obstruction marking the limits of center field.
The players who spend the bulk of their time defending in the outfield are aptly known as outfielders. There are three outfielders in the outfield at all times and they are named for the section of the field in which they try to catch and pass balls. The left fielder, the right fielder, and the center fielder are critical members of any team’s defense. Unlike the infield, outfielders are allowed to shift around the field. With right-handed hitters that tend to pull the ball, outfielders may shift towards the right. The opposite is the same with right-handed push hitters and left-handed pull hitters.
How many outfielders are in the outfield?
There are traditionally three outfielders defending in the outfield at all times. These three positions are the center fielder, the left fielder, and the right fielder, and each position is named after the part of the field which they protect.