Outlines how to play baseball with a beginners’ introduction to the rules and expert tips on what you need and where you can practise the game.
Whilst sports may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s undeniable how popular they are around the globe. They’re not just for entertainment either; they can teach people a lot of good values in life such as teamwork and work ethic, as well as uniting people from all different races, religions and backgrounds. One such popular sport that is great for instilling positive values is Baseball.
There are those who would say that the popularity of Baseball is falling across the US, but whilst the number of fans attending may have fallen over the years, the sport is still going strong in local communities. Which is a great reason to get involved with the sport, because it encourages you to mix with your local community, offering that sense of belonging and togetherness that sees people unite and support each other.
If you’re a little clueless on Baseball though, whether that’s because you want to start following a local team, start playing for a local amateur side, or you want your children to take up a sport as a hobby, you’re in luck. As we’re going to tell you a little about the sport and how to play baseball for beginners. As well as offering top tips on how to build your knowledge around the game.
How to play baseball: What do you need?
Baseball is a simple sport, and you don’t need a lot of equipment like with American Football. Meaning it’s a great sport to get involved with as it won’t cost you to sell your internal organs to get started and it is inexpensive to learn to play baseball.
First up, you want to get a bat, a ball, and a baseball glove or ‘mitt’ as they’re also known. Next, you just need a friend to practice with. Taking turns to throw the ball to each other and swinging the bat to hit it as far as you can. For this reason, we suggest practicing outdoors, because someone is going to get mad if you break stuff around the home.
As you look to get into the sport a little more, you’ll also want to invest in some protective gear like a helmet to protect yourself from any stray balls.
How to play baseball: The rules
Baseball operates with two teams of 9 players facing off against each other in a game that lasts for 9 innings (an inning is the name for a round). The aim is to score as many runs as you can, whilst preventing your opponent from doing the same. This is done by each team taking turns batting or fielding. If the score is level at the end of the game, extra innings will be played until a winner is decided.
The team who bat must pick their batting order, this is the same for every innings throughout the game. It may make sense to start with your strongest batters first and moving on to your weakest, but it’s tactically better to mix it up. As we’ll find out shortly.
The batter must hit the ball thrown at them by the pitcher on the fielding side. If they make contact, they must make an effort to run to the first of four bases. The idea is to make it around all four to score a run. If you manage to get round all four because you’ve hit a ball out of the park or because no one managed to get it back to one of the fielders on the bases in time, this is called a home run.
The batter has 3 attempts to hit the ball. If they swing and miss, that’s a strike. 3 strikes and they’re out. Once 3 players are out, it’s time for the innings for that team to end and the sides switch positions.
When it comes to fielding, there are a number of positions; the pitcher, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, shortstop, third baseman and three outfield players who spread across the field.
It is the job of the pitcher to throw the ball at the batting player to try and strike them out. If they do not strike them out and the batter hits the ball, a member of the fielding team catching the ball before it hits the ground will count as a ‘fly out’. If someone gets the ball after it has touched the ground, they can still get a player out by passing it to the baseman the batter is running to. If the baseman gets it before the batter gets there, they are ‘forced out’, or can also be ‘tagged out’ if a fielding member touches the batter with the ball whilst they’re running. If the batter gets there first, they’re safe.
Fielders have to be alert at all times too as batters can run to another base at any time once they’ve made it to first base. Doing this before the pitcher throws it is called stealing, and whilst can benefit the batting team to get a run, it is also an opportunity for the fielding team to get them out if they see the attempt to steal the base.
Where can you practice?
One of the best places to practice are batting cages. These are places that are great to practice your hitting. You will enter a cage and a machine will throw or ‘pitch’ these balls to you, allowing you to take a swing at them. The best parts of batting cages are that you can use them by yourself, and you’re not going to be able to hit someone with a stray ball as you’re in an enclosed space.
You can also practice playing Baseball, and build your knowledge on the game and it’s rules by playing video games. Modern sports video games are so realistic, and none more so that MLB The Show. The official game of Major League baseball. Not only can you practice playing by learning about different throws, positioning and rules of the game, you can also check out statistics of professional players, identifying those you want to emulate if you want to go pro yourself one day.
Additional top tips
When it comes to the top levels of Baseball, you’ll find it all very statistics based. Which is great for parents who may struggle to get their children interested in education, because when it’s a sport, it becomes fun. One good place to learn more about this side of things is sites like Sportsbook Review, where they post the latest MLB Picks. Whilst betting sites may not be the first place to think of going to build your knowledge, they actually have a lot of information on the sport about form and statistics of the game that you can take advantage of.
Our final tip is to check out the film Moneyball. A biographical sports film based around a manager and economics graduate looking to change the sport by forming a competitive team using computer-based methods based on statistics. It may not sound that great, but it really is a good watch, and shows you how Baseball became the game we know today.