What are the rules of baseball?
What are the rules of baseball? From the number of players to how runs are scored, our guide explains everything you need to know.
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What is the object of baseball?
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport in which the object is to score more runs than the other team.
How does baseball work?
A baseball play starts when the pitcher throws (pitches) the ball towards home plate, where a batter is waiting to try and hit the ball into play.
If the batter successfully hits the ball into the field, they must try and run anti-clockwise around four bases without being tagged out by the fielders. They do not have to run all four bases in the same play – batters can stop at each base between plays, and then advance to the next if the subsequent batter is able to hit the ball into play. If they reach home successfully without getting out, a run is scored.
Batters can also score runs by hitting the ball out of the park – this is known as a home run.
While the batting team try and score as many runs as they can, the fielding team are trying to get each batter out as quickly as they can.
How does baseball scoring work?
A run is scored when a batter successfully puts the ball in play and then runs around first, second, and third base to reach home without getting out. Batters must touch each base in order as they go.
Once a batter successfully reaches first base, they become a baserunner. Baserunners can advance to the next base when the next batter hits the ball into the field of play. If the play allows it, they can advance forward several bases.
If a runner reaches home during a play in which the third out of the inning is recorded, then that run does not count.
Batters can also score runs by hitting the ball out of the park – this is known as a home run. A homer automatically counts for one run, but if there are baserunners in play when one is hit, then those runs also score. So, if the bases are loaded – meaning there are baserunners on first, second and third – and a home run is hit, four runs are scored. This is known as a grand slam.
When is a batter out?
There are many ways to get a batter out during a game of baseball.
One of the most common is catching a ball that has been hit before it touches the ground. With batters often trying to hit the ball as far as they can, this happens quite a lot. This is usually known as either a flyout, a popout or a lineout, depending on the trajectory of the ball before it is caught.
Another common form of out is a strikeout. Batters get three strikes before they are out – a strike is registered if they swing and miss, or if the ball passes over the plate through what is known as the strike zone.
Batters can also be out when running between the bases, either through a force out or a tag out. A force out is when a baserunner is forced to leave his base for the next, and the ball is thrown to the base in front of him before he reaches it. A tag out is when a fielder touches a batter with the ball in his glove when he is running between bases.
How long is a baseball game?
A baseball game usually consists of nine innings. An inning is a section of the game in which both teams have a turn to bat.
Each inning is split into two halves – the away team bats first in the top of the inning, with the home team batting second in the bottom of the inning.
Each team gets three outs per half inning – once three batters from one team are out, the game moves on to the next half inning.
The team with the most runs at the end of the final inning wins.
The duration of a baseball game varies, but the average Major League Baseball game lasts just over three hours.
How big is a baseball field?
Baseball is played on a diamond formed of four bases – first, second and third base, and the home plate (fourth base). The distance between each base is 90 feet.
The pitcher stands on the pitcher’s mound, a raised area in the middle of the diamond, located 60 feet from the home plate, where the batter stands.
The area containing the diamond and all four bases is collectively known as the infield.
Beyond the infield is the outfield, a grassed area where the batters are attempting to hit the ball. The outfield is bordered by a wall, beyond which is the crowd.
The full size of a baseball field varies from ballpark to ballpark, but the outside wall can be anywhere from 290 to 400 feet away from home plate.
How many players are on a baseball team?
A baseball team consists of nine players.
The batting team is also known as the offense, while the fielding team – who also pitches the ball – is known as the defense.
What are the different baseball positions?
Each player on a baseball team usually specialises in one position, or a group of positions.
Firstly, there are pitchers, who pitch the ball towards the batter to start every play. Pitcher is a highly specialised position, and pitchers are not usually good at batting.
Then there is the catcher, who is stationed behind home plate and is tasked with receiving the pitches that are not hit by the batter. Pitchers and catchers work closely together, and are collectively known as the ‘battery’. Catcher is another highly specialised position, with a catchers defensive ability generally more important than their ability to hit.
The four fielders stationed inside the diamond are known as infielders. The four infielders are the first baseman, second baseman, third baseman and shortstop.
The first and third basemen are usually positioned very near their bases, while the second baseman usually patrols the area between first and second. The shortstop fills in the gap between second and third.
Infielders are tasked with fielding balls hit into the infield – usually along the ground – and securing groundouts and tag outs.
The three other fielders are known as outfielders, and they are stationed beyond the diamond in the outfield. These are the left fielder, right fielder, and center fielder.
Outfielders are tasked with fielding balls hit into the outfield, catching batters out and also throwing the ball back into the infielders.
All nine players must bat – including the pitcher, although they are sometimes exempt under certain rules. Each team sets a batting order before the game starts, with the better batters generally batting first.
What are the unwritten rules of baseball?
Baseball is a sport that has been played for well over 100 years, and many unwritten rules have been developed during that time.
These rules are not enshrined in the laws of the game, but are instead upheld and enforced by the players themselves.
Examples of some unwritten rules include not celebrating home runs too much, and never walking over the pitcher's mound.
Some believe that these unwritten rules are outdated and should no longer be part of the game, but they still remain in place at the top level, particularly in MLB, although the game is slowly moving on.
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