Baseball 101

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Baseball is a safe haven game played between two teams of nine players each. The two teams alternate between being batting team and fielding team. The aim of the batting team is to hit a thrown ball with a bat and score a run by touching a series of four bases. The ball is thrown by a member of the fielding team. The bases are located at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond.

Equipment

Baseball is played using a ball, a bat and one or several baseball gloves or mitts. The batters wear helmets to protect them from head injury.

The baseball

The baseball is thrown by the pitcher. A standard baseball consists of yarn wrapped around a rubber or cork center, and is covered in white cowhide and red stitching. It’s 9 to 914 inches (229–235 mm) in circumference and 278–3 inches (73–76 mm) in diameter.

The baseball bat

The baseball bat is used by the batter to hit the baseball thrown by the pitcher. A standard baseball bat intended for professional use is round and smooth and made from a single, solid piece of wood. The bat is up to 2.75 inches in diameter at the hitting end, which is the thickest part of the bat. From the hitting end, it tapers to a narrower handle, culminating in a knob. The maximum length of the bat is 42 inches. Although various types of wood can be used, it is uncommon for a standard baseball bat to weigh more than 33 ounces (1 kilogram).

Baseball gloves and baseball mitts

Baseball gloves or mitts are worn by members of the fielding team. There are four main types: catcher’s mitt, first baseman’s mitt, infielder’s glove, pitchers’ glove, outfielder’s glove, and switch-thrower’s glove. Gloves and mitts are made from padded leather. Mitts distinguish themselves from gloves by lacking individual fingers. Gloves have individual fingers connected by webbing.

The baseball park

A baseball park, also known as ball park, is the venue where baseball is played. The diamond and the areas marked by white lines have to follow strict rules for the park to be approved for formal games, but the guidelines for the rest of the field are surprisingly flexible considering their impact on the game. One field can vary significantly from another when it comes to both size and shape, and the only constraints on outfield size and shape for professional Major League and Minor League Baseball is that fields must have a minimum distance of 325 feet from home plate to the fences in left and right field and 400 feet to center. However, this rule only applies to fields constructed or remodeled after 1958 – older fields do not need to be changed. The distance from the home plate to the left field wall at Boston’s Fenway Park (home to the Boston Red Sox) is for instance only 310 feet. This baseball park has been in use since 1912 and the left field wall has become a popular target for right-handed hitters.