Like most sports, baseball requires dedication, commitment, the right equipment and team mentality.
The equipment in particular can deeply affect your performance, from purchasing the right trainers to that 149 gram ball, it can be the difference between winning and losing. No-one likes the taste of failure and when it comes to sport, that competitive nature becomes even more acute. It makes sense to prep yourself with the best bat, gloves and cleats money can buy.
The right equipment can significantly improve your performance, not to mention your confidence, however first you need the knowledge of what to buy…and a good grasp on the rules…
The Rules Of Baseball
Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned pro or newbie to the baseball scene, the sport has a complex set of rules that can be difficult to grasp. Here they are in their simplest form:
- Two sides that alter between offense and defense.
- Nine players on each team.
- Nine innings for each team, each split in half (offense and defense).
- Each team gets three outs in each half innings.
- Each batter gets three strikes. Third strike and you’re out.
- It is the batter’s aim to make the four bases without being caught out.
- If the batter hits over the outfield fence, it’s a home run.
- If the batter can circle all four bases, it’s a home run.
The primary aim is to score the most home runs through a tight defense and great batting.
Baseball Equipment Lowdown
Whilst sports like soccer consist of a ball and not much else, baseball requires much protection, as we mentioned above. The bowler can throw as fast as 100 miles per hour, and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of one of those. Whether you’re a baseball pro or need a little guidance, you need the lowdown to getting the up-to-date equipment required to optimize your performance. We’ll go onto the guides in a bit. For now, here are the basics:
- Bat; 7cm in diameter at the thickest point and at most, 107cm in length.
- Ball; 23cm in circumference, weighing 149 grams.
- Batting helmet
- Battling glove
- Fielding glove
- Catcher’s equipment
All this equipment is essential in any team, and all require some forward-thinking. A bat can be readily available in a number of lengths and weights to suit your frame.
How The League Works
The official Major League Baseball (or MLB) is the top league in the world. Whilst many countries have baseball, none have reached the intensity and popularity of America.
There are two main league in the MLB; American League and National League each split into three sections East, Central and West. The season lasts between February and late October and is split into three parts; pre-season, regular season and post-season.
The pre-season acts as a practice, especially for the pitchers that often have the most pressure to perform. Pre-season (also known as spring training) also allows all players to get back into shape before the big games. Pitchers and catchers report to ‘spring training’ a week before the rest of the team to prepare leading to the fan term “pitchers and catchers” to indicate the start of a fresh season.
The regular season is a whopping 162 games (and footballers complain) between April and September. Most of these 162 games are played within their division, with a handful played in the opposition league.
The regular season determines the top teams for the post season. The top teams qualify for play-offs whilst one additional team from each league qualifies as a wild card.
With nine players in each team on the field, the defense and offense have different roles to prevent or convert into homeruns, as stated by How Stuff Works:
- Pitcher; the bowler/thrower
- Catcher; attempts to catch the pitcher’s throws on the home plate.
- First baseman; fields the area near first base
- Second baseman; fields the area between first and second
- Third baseman; fields the area near third base
- Shortstop; fields the area between second and third
- Left field; fields further out to the left side of the batter
- Center field; fields the middle outfield
- Right field; field further out to the right side of the batter
- Hitter; makes contact with the ball
- Base runner; runs to each base in an attempt to score a run
The Offense Terminology
- Walk; if the pitcher throws four balls before throwing three strikes, the hitter can walk to first base.
- Hit by pitch; if the hitter is hit, they can walk to first base.
- Single, Double, Triple; represents how many bases the hitter has gotten to.
- Home run; when the hitter hits the ball over the outfield or if the ball is hit well enough for the hitter to make it around all bases.
- Fielder’s choice; the hitter hits the ball, but only reaches a base because the fielder chose to throw it to another runner.
- Error; the hitters makes it to a post based on an error from the fielder.