Anna Bauer ’23
With the World Series still in full swing, the Tripod brings you “Baseball for Rookies!”
The setup of the game is relatively simple; however, its execution is not. When on defense, a team will have nine players on the field, including the pitcher, catcher, first, second, and third baseman, shortstop, and three outfielders. The field is set up like a diamond and when a batter hits the ball he must run and touch each base before proceeding to the next one. It is the pitcher’s job to try to throw off the batsman, preferably by striking him out, while it is the job of the remaining eight players to react to the ball if the batter hits it. This means they are trying to either catch the ball before it hits the ground and get them out, or pick up the ground ball and throw it to the baseman he is running towards so he can try to tag the runner out. If the player makes it to the base, he is safe and another teammate of his comes to bat.
At the collegiate and professional level, the game is divided into nine innings. Innings do not have a time limit, but instead generally last until three outs are made by both sides. During the first half of each inning, the visiting team will bat and try to score as many runs, the baseball term for points, as possible before they get three outs; meanwhile, the home team will be in the field in their respective defensive positions trying to get these three outs. Once the defense has done this, the two teams will switch positions during the second half of the inning.
There are many ways to achieve these three outs. One primary way is striking out. Think of the song, “for it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out at the old ball game!” Essentially, a strike is when the pitcher throws the ball into the strike zone, but the batter doesn’t hit it. If this happens three times, then like the song says, you’re out and the next batter comes to the base. Another way to get an out is if the batter hits the ball, does not matter if it is foul territory or not, and the ball is caught by the defense. The other primary way to get an out is called a tag out which is when the ball is live and the runner is not on a base, therefore not safe; he is able to be tagged by the defense with the ball and this is an out. The tag out is why you may see baseball players with the bright red clay stains all over their uniform; they had to slide into the base to try to reach it before being tagged. The other ways to get an out are by running outside the baseline, interference, or force out (when a player is unable to make it to the base before a defensive player).
While conventionally, baseball is thought to be played only by boys and softball only by girls, technically both can play the others’ game; however, though there are no rules against it, in the professional leagues there are no current male or female players in the opposite sport. Nevertheless, though the two games are quite similar, they have distinct differences including, the size of the field, the ball and bat size, the length of the game, and the style of pitch (overhand or underhand). For more, the Tripod urges you to go out and support both our baseball and softball teams, whenever they are next able to play, and test what you know!