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Baseball jargon

The Basics!

Baseball players advance around bases by batting and running in an effort to score. Points, called "runs," are scored when a player on the batting team touches all the bases (including home plate) without being tagged or put "out" by a player on the fielding team. The team scoring the greater number of runs in the allotted number of innings wins the game.

 

What's Needed?

A fielder’s glove, hard leather baseball, baseball bat (made of aluminum or wood), cleats or sneakers, matching uniform, baseball cap, and batting helmet. For the catcher: face mask, chest protector, shin guards, catcher’s glove, and athletic supporter with cup.

 

How Long Is A Game?

In youth leagues, a baseball game is generally played to seven innings or less. (Professionals play nine innings.) Each inning is divided into two halves: top and bottom. The visiting team always bats in the first half (top) of the inning. Both teams are allowed three outs per half inning. Usually, if a game ends in a tie, extra innings are played until one team outscores the other. The home team, if trailing, always gets a final turn at bat.

 

Swing Batter!

Batting takes place at home plate from within a "batter’s box." The batter stands at the plate and swings his bat in an attempt to hit the pitched ball into fair play. Batters must swing at the ball when it is pitched in the strike zone or else the pitch may be called a "strike." When a batter hits a "fair ball," he becomes a base runner and sprints to first base. In the attempt to get to first base before the baseball is thrown there, the batter may overrun the bag without the worry of being tagged out. This rule applies only to first base.

 

Base Hit - Occurs when a batting player hits the ball in fair play and then "safely" reaches a base. It is called a single if the batter reaches first base, a double when he reaches second, a triple if he makes it to third base, and a "home run" if he crosses home plate.

 

Home Run ("homer" or "four bagger") - Happens when a batter hits a fair ball far enough for him to reach all four bases without being tagged out. In many baseball parks a fence encloses the outfield. It is an automatic homer when the ball is hit over this fence on a fly. A home run scores one run for the batter and a run for each player on base.

 

Fair Ball - A ball hit within the foul lines.

 

Foul Ball - A batted ball that lands outside fair territory or touches fair ground, but rolls out-of-bounds before reaching first or third base. A foul ball counts as a strike, unless there are already two strikes; in this case, the player continues to bat.

 

Strike - Called when a player swings and misses a pitch; swings and fouls off a pitch; or does not swing when a pitch is in the strike zone. A batter strikes out when he gets three strikes in one turn at bat (so long as the third strike is caught by the catcher); "foul tips" a third strike that is caught by the catcher; or "bunts" the ball foul when there are two strikes.

 

Ball - Called by the umpire when the batter does not swing at a pitch thrown outside the strike zone.

 

You're Out!

The objective for teams playing in the field is to get three players on the batting team out. A batter is out when 1) he hits a ball, fair or foul, that is caught by a fielder before it touches the ground, 2) he is tagged, or first base is touched by a fielder holding the ball before the batter gets there, or 3) he strikes out. A base runner is out when 1) he is between bases and is tagged by a fielder holding the ball or 2) he is forced out.

 

 

Did You Know That?

Baseball evolved as a hybrid of two British stick and ball games - cricket and rounders. Baseball is thought to have been invented in 1839 in Cooperstown, New York, by Abner Doubleday. This story is widely debated, however, with some contending that the game was first played in 1846 in Hoboken, New Jersey. The National League was created in 1876 and the American League was formed in 1901. The first World Series was played between the two major leagues in 1903.

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