Founded in the United States in the 19th century, baseball has drawn millions of fans from every corner of the world in more than a century since its inception. The sports have garnered about 65 million players in 160 countries throughout the globe. In North America, baseball is widely considered to be one of the most popular sports. The Major League Baseball (MLB) which features the best players in that game has further helped to shed light on the sports as well as cement its roles as one of the most popular sports globally in the modern age. The popularity of baseball has made fans increasingly interested in the rules that guide the gameplay. In precise details, we consider the objective, gameplay, players, equipment and rules of baseball.
The objective of the game
As with any sports, the major objective is to earn more points or goals than the opponent. In baseball, the objective is for a team to earn more runs than the opponent.
A baseball field often referred to as the sandlot or baseball diamond for its peculiar diamond shape is an infield distance of 90-foot square (27.43m). The infield includes the home base where the game begins. The home base is a whitened rubber slab with two removed corners. The home plate as the home base is often called measures 17 inches longs with two adjacent sides which measures 8.5 inches. The home base is placed about 250 feet from any obstruction or fence. In the 90 foot infield square, a 12-inch line meets to form a right angle. At the other edges of the square, there are three bases in anticlockwise direction from the home base. At the middle of the 90-foot square is the pitching mound, where the pitcher stands and pitch the ball to the batter who stands in the home plate.
To successfully score a run, a player must touch all three bases. Beyond the home plate, a line extends which goes past the first and third bases in two directions, the line called a foul line. On the foul line sits a foul pole which helps the umpire decide if a batted-ball is a foul or a home run.
A Baseball game ends after 9 innings. An inning has 6 outs where the pitcher pitches the ball to the catcher while evading the batter, each team gets 3 outs in an inning. An inning is completed when the batter successfully completes 3 hits. At the conclusion of nine innings, if there is a tie, the game continues until a team successfully completes more runs than the opponent.
Teams, Players & Player Position
In baseball, there are 9 players who play in 9 fielding positions. The first is the pitcher who throws the base to a catcher in the home plate area while trying to avoid the opponent batter who tries to bat the ball in the home plate. The catcher crouches behind the batter as the pitcher throws the ball, the catcher also has an overview of the outfield and this direct player in various defensive roles. The first baseman is usually a flexible, tall player who receives the ball from the outfielders and the catcher and pitcher. The second baseman is usually right-handed with quick reflexes to catch opponent throw, the third baseman defends the third base which is the final base which a player must touch to successfully earn a run. The shortstop is an outfield position where a good batter mans, the shortstop is usually agile and thus hits the ball to the left infield where the batter-runner matches to successfully secure a run. The other three outfield positions are the left, right and centre outfielders who usually catch fly balls and make accurate throws over long distances.
In baseball players are equipped with the batting helmet, meant for the batter, baseball cap, catchers helmet, uniforms which are identical to players of the same team but different from the opponent’s, sliding shorts, baseball cleats, a round wooden baseball bat, a baseball, gloves with a webbed pocket between the thumb and forefinger to help player catches the baseball, catcher’s mitt which is wider and for catching the ball, the first baseman mitt and batting gloves are worn by the batter.
In baseball, points are earned via runs when a batter hits the ball into the fielding area and then successfully makes it round the bases from the home plate to the first, second and third base, before the opponent team, usually called the fueling team can retrieve the ball and throw it to the base the baserunner is heading to. Points can also be through home runs where the batter had batted the ball past the playing area and into the crowds. Multiple points can be earned in one bat if two or more player is in the other bases when the baserunner is in the first base. The points earned depends on the number of players in the bases before the ball is tagged. A team can earn a maximum of 4 points in a single hit.
Rules of Baseball
- Though a team is made up of 25 players, 9 players are allowed on the field. Substitution can be made at any time but substituted players cannot return to play.
- Playing position include the infield position such as the pitcher, the crouching catcher, the first, second and third basemen, the shortstop and the outfielders include the right, left and centre outfielders.
- There must be a minimum of nine innings in a game, with each team recording three outs in an inning. Half Inning, begin with an umpire calls ‘Play’ or ‘Playball’. If a team set to bat second in the ninth inning is leading in points, they are not required to finish their batting. If there exists a tie at the conclusion of the 9th inning, innings continue until a team leads.
- Batting order picked at the start of the game cannot be disrupted or change in the course of the game. A substituted player must bat in accordance with the player they replace.
- When a batter hits the baseball, there must be an attempt to get to the first base. Progress can be made to subsequent bases after that before they are tagged. A baserunner body must touch each base to qualify for a run
- A batter has three strikes prior to moving out. Strikes occur when the batter swings his bat and miss the baseball. If the baseball is within the strike zone, a strike is awarded. If a batter does not swing his bat and the baseball misses the strike zone four times, the batter can move on to the first base.
- A baserunner can move to the following base when on any given base.
- Players are dismissed or removed when a batter is miss the baseball three times within strike zone, when a defensive player makes a base before a player makes it otherwise called a forced out, or when the ball is caught without bouncing often known as a flyout, or when a defensive player throws the baseball to the base a baserunner is running to, often called a tag out.