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Baseball for Beginners The Game A baseball/softball game is played by two teams who alternate between offense and defense. There are nine players on each side. The goal is to score more runs than the opponent, which is achieved by one circuit of four bases that are placed on the diamond


The Equipment The defense wears baseball/softball gloves, a leather contraption that fits on the hand, to catch the ball. A baseball is a white ball roughly three inches in diameter with red stitching. A softball is roughly twice as big, sometimes yellow (but no softer). The offense uses a bat, which is made of wood in the professional ranks, and likely made of aluminum or a metal composite at amateur levels. Almost all softball bats are aluminum or metal.

The Field The part of the field closest to the bases is called the infield, and the grassy farther reaches is called the outfield.

The bases are 90 feet apart on the diamond, closer in children's leagues and softball. Other fields are variable, and the outfield fences or the amount of “foul territory� - the amount of ground that borders the field between the long white lines that connect first base to home plate and third base to home plate – varies from field to field.

Defense: The Positions There's a pitcher in the middle of the mound who initiates the action by throwing the ball toward home plate. The catcher catches the ball if it's not hit. The infielders are the first baseman, second baseman, shortstop (between second and third base) and the third baseman. There are three outfielders: The left fielder, center fielder and right fielder.

The Game There are nine innings in professional baseball games (sometimes fewer in lower levels), and each inning is divided in half to the top of the inning (when the visiting team hits and the home team plays defense) and the bottom of the inning (when the home team hits and the visiting team plays defense).

Each team gets three outs in each half of the innings.

On Offense Each team has nine players in its batting order, and they must stick to that order throughout the game (players may substitute in for other players). A play begins with a

batter waiting to hit a pitch from the pitcher. If the batter hits the ball into the field of play, the batter runs to first base and can run to as many bases as he or she deems fit without getting "out." A batter gets three strikes (a swing and a miss or a ball over the plate in what's deemed the “strike zone” by an umpire) or he or she is out. If there are four balls (a pitch that is not in the “strike zone”), the batter is automatically allowed to go to first base. When a batter begins running, he or she is then referred to as a "runner". Runners attempt to reach a base, where they are "safe" and can remain on the base until the next hitter comes up. The defensive players attempt to prevent this by putting the runners out using the ball; runners put out must leave the field. A batter gets a "hit" when he or she reaches a base without getting out, or forcing another runner to get out (and without the defense making an error). Runs are scored when a player completes a circuit of the diamond before there are three outs in the inning. If a players hits the ball over the outfield fence in fair territory (between the foul lines), it's a home run, and the batter can circle all four bases.

On Defense There are many ways that the team on defense can get an offensive player out. Four common ways are: • • • •

Strikeouts (hitter misses three pitches) Force outs (when, after the ball is hit, the defensive player with the ball reaches a base before the runner) Fly outs (when a player hits the ball in the air and it's caught by a defensive player before the ball hits the ground) Tag outs (when a runner is touched with the ball, or a glove with the ball in it)

How Does Softball Differ? In fast-pitch softball, the pitcher throws the ball underhand instead over overhand, and the field is about 1/3 smaller all around. Games typically last only seven innings. On the championship/Olympic level, softball is a women's sport, but both sports are played by men and women throughout the world. Slow-pitch softball, when the pitch is underhand and lobbed, is generally played on a recreational basis.

Baseball Terms Balk: An illegal motion by the pitcher with one or more runners on base, entitling all runners to advance one base. A balk can be one of a number of movements related to the pitching motion but the intention is to catch the runners off balance. Ball: A pitch which does not enter the strike zone and is not struck at by the batter. Base: The four points of the baseball diamond (first through third bases and home plate) that must be touched by a runner in order to score a run. Batter: The offensive player who is currently positioned in the batter's box. Batter's Box: Either of the areas next to home plate where the batter stands during his time at bat. Bottom: The second half of an inning. Bunt: A legally batted ball, not swung at but intentionally met with the bat and tapped within the infield. Catch: The act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it. Catcher: The defensive player whose position is directly behind home plate.

Defense: The team currently in the field. Designated Hitter: A player who may be designated to bat instead of the pitcher. Double: A play in which the batter makes it safely to second base without stopping. Double Header: Two games played in immediate succession. Double Play: A defensive play in which two offensive players are put out as a result of one continuous action. Dugout: The seating area for team members not currently on the playing field. Fair Ball: A legally batted ball that settles on or over fair territory. Fair Territory: That part of the playing field within and including the first base and third base lines, from home plate to the playing field fence and perpendicularly upwards. Fielder: One of the nine defensive players, including pitcher, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, left fielder, center fielder and right fielder. Fielder's Choice: The act of a fielder who handles a fair grounder and, instead of throwing to first base to put out the batter runner, throws to another base in an attempt to put out a preceding runner. Fly Ball: A ball which goes high in the air when batted. Force Play: A play in which a runner loses his right to occupy a base when the current batter becomes a runner. Forfeited Game: A game declared ended by the umpire for violation of the rules, and awarded to the offended team. Foul Ball: A batted ball that lands on foul territory between home plate and first base or third base, bounds past first or third base on or over third territory, first touches foul territory beyond first or third base, or touches a player, umpire or any object not part of the playing field while over foul territory. Foul Territory: That part of the playing field outside the first and third base lines extended to the outfield fence and perpendicularly upwards. Ground Ball: A batted ball which rolls along the ground. Ground Rule Double: When a line drive bounces on the field and over the wall in fair territory the hit is scored as a ground rule double and the batter advances to second base. Home Plate: The base over which an offensive player bats, and to which he must return after touching all three bases in order to score a run.

Home Run: A play in which the batter makes it safely around all bases and back to home plate without stopping. Home Team: The team on whose field the game is played. If the game is played on neutral grounds, the home team shall be designated by mutual agreement. Infield: The diamond-shaped portion of the playing field bordered by the four bases. Infielder: A fielder who occupies a position in the infield. Infield Fly: A fair fly ball which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, which first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied before the second out. Infield Fly Rule: On the infield fly rule the umpire is to rule whether the ball could ordinarily have been handled by an infielder not by some arbitrary limitation such as the grass, or the base lines. The umpire's judgment must govern, and the decision should be made immediately. When an infield fly rule is called, runners may advance at their own risk. If on an infield fly rule, the infielder intentionally drops a fair ball, the ball remains in play. Inning: That portion of the game within which the teams alternate on offense and defense and in which there are three outs for each team. Each team's time at bat is a half-inning. Line Drive: A ball which is batted directly to a fielder without touching the ground. Offense: The team currently at bat. Out: A declaration by the umpire that a player who is trying for a base is not entitled to that base. Outfield: The portion of the playing field that extends beyond the infield and is bordered by the first and third baselines. Outfielder: A fielder who occupies a position in the outfield. Pitch: The ball delivered by the pitcher to the batter. Pitcher: The fielder designated to pitch the ball to the batter. Quick Return Pitch: An illegal pitch, made with obvious intent to catch the batter off balance. Run: The score made by an offensive player who has rounded the bases and returned to home plate. Runner: An offensive player who is advancing toward, touching or returning to any base. Safe: A declaration by the umpire that a runner who is trying for a base has not been tagged or forced out, and is therefore entitled to that base.

Single: A play in which the batter safely makes it to first base. Strike: A legal pitch when so called by the umpire, which: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Is struck at by the batter and missed; Is not struck at, if the ball passes through the strike zone; Is fouled by the batter when he has less than two strikes; Is bunted foul; Touches the batter as he strikes at it; Touches the batter in flight in the strike zone; or After being batted, travels directly from the bat to the catcher's hands and is legally caught by the catcher (foul tip).

Strike Zone: An area directly over home plate, from the bottom of the batter's kneecaps to the midpoint between the top of the batter's shoulders and the top of the batter's uniform pants. Tag: The action of a fielder in touching a base with his body while holding the ball, or touching a runner with the ball, or with his hand or glove while holding the ball. Throw: The act of propelling the ball toward a given objective, usually a teammate. A pitch is not a throw. Top: The first half of an inning. Triple: A play in which the batter makes it safely to third base without stopping. Triple Play: A defensive play in which three offensive players are put out as a result of one action. Umpire: The official who judges the legality of individual plays and who otherwise enforces the rules of the game.

How to play Baseball Basics of Baseball 1 There are nine players allowed on a team at one time, however they can’t be all on the field at the same time. You are allowed nine field players. After that you have an overall of more then 9 players in the game but only nine allowed on the field. 2 There are nine innings in a baseball game, or six at younger levels in which each team gets a chance to try and score as many runs as possible in only three outs. 3 The team that isn’t batting is playing defense trying to make those three outs so that the team batting doesn’t score any runs. 4 Keep your eye on the ball when batting. There is an umpire behind the plate that lets everyone know if the pitch thrown was in the strike zone or not. If it was, then the pitch is a "strike". If it wasn’t, then the pitch was a "ball". When batting you get three strikes and four balls. If you get four balls before you get three strikes, then that is called a "walk". You get a free pass to "walk" or go to first base. If you get three strikes before you get four balls, then that is a strikeout, in which the defensive team gets an out and your turn batting is over. 5 Know the infield. There is first, second, third, and finally home plate. The infield is shaped like a diamond. In order to get an out while playing defense, the defensive team must catch the baseball before it hits the ground or throw the baseball to a base before the runner gets there. In order to win the game a team must score more runs than the opposing team. 6 Know all the rules. One of the rules is that a pitcher can’t make an illegal move after getting set. The pitcher has to decide whether he/she goes to the base while a runner is on or goes to the plate to deliver a pitch. If the pitcher walks than the base runner gets to go to the next base for free and it doesn’t cost anything against the batting team. 7 Know how to appeal a call. If the defensive team believes that one of the base runners missed one of the bases or they didn’t follow the designated path, then they can appeal a call. In order to appeal a call, the pitcher must get on the rubber and step off then throw the baseball to the base in which the defensive team believes that the runner missed. If the pitcher is getting ready to appeal a call, but the batter is trying to call for time, the pitcher should finish his pitch in case the umpire doesn’t grant the batter timeout. Then after the pitcher pitches it, the umpire decides whether the accusation of the base runner missing the base is true or not. If it is true, the defensive team is given an out and the runner is out resulting in the loss of a run if the appeal was for the missing of home plate.

8 Ask anyone that knows what the game is about. The chance of someone knowing what the game is about is very big because baseball, after all, is America’s pastime. 9 First tries are hard but you'll eventually get the right grooves!

Baseball for Beginners  

Apuntes para la sección bilingüe de Educación Física del IES A Guía, Vigo

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