Sports tend to be a part of guys lives’ no matter what season it is. Most guys picked up on the rules of these games throughout life; from their dads, from their friends, and from playing them growing up. But I do have some friends that’s just aren’t into sports, don’t know much about them, and maybe don’t even care.

Yet, almost every guy has found himself in a sports conversation at one point in time. So as the seasons arrive I’ll be posting the basics of each sport. Some of it will be very basic. Some may be a new fact to learn so you can really sound like you know what you’re
talking about. And for anyone reading this who isn’t into sports maybe it will draw just close enough to be interested. But at least, as a guy, should you find yourself at the water cooler or out with the guys – you can at least have some idea what’s going on.

BASEBALL

Spring training begins in March, but the actual season begins in April and carries through the summer months.

Baseball is traditionally known as the national pastime for the United States, but is also widely popular in Latin America and Asia.

THE GAME

The sport is divided into two separate leagues: American and National. The major difference between the two leagues is the “designated hitter rule”. This rule is used in the American League, the pitchers do not hit for themselves. The rule is not used in the national league.

The game is played by two teams, each with nine players:
Offense = at bat
Defense = in the field

THE FIELD

There are 4 bases:
• Home – batter starts here
• First
• Second
• Third

Infield = The area encompassed by the dirt “diamond” including the bases.

Outfield = The area past the bases, traditionally covered in grass.

Base lines = the white lines extending from “home plate” out to the far ends of the outfield.

Fair territory = where the ball is in play, the area inside the base line including the bases.

Foul territory = the area outside of the base lines towards the spectators.

PLAYING THE GAME

Each game is divided into 9 regulation innings. An inning consists of a “top” and a “bottom”. The “top” of the inning is designated as the beginning o each inning. Each team has a chance to be on the offense (at bat) and score as many “runs” as possible while the defense (team on the field) attempted to block them by getting 3 outs, causing the teams to switch positions. In the case if a tie score after 9 innings, the teams will play into extra innings until the tie is broken.

(The record is a 1-1 tie in the national league between the Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Dodgers in 26 innings, at Braves field in Boston on May 1, 1920. The game concluded as a tie because the teams did not have lights at the time and it became too dark to see the ball.)

To score a run, a batter must move, base by base, to home plate.

COMMON TERMS

OUT – when a batter either strikes out, grounds out, or flies out.

•STRIKE OUT – When 3 strikes are called against a batter.

•GROUND OUT – When a batter hits a ball into fair territory where it hits the ground but is either thrown or run to first base before the batter can reach the base.

• FLY OUT – whenever a ball, fair or foul, is caught in the air before touching the ground.

HIT – When a batter hits a fair ball that is not caught in the air, and running he is able to touch first base before the opposing player with the ball can reach the base. (This is a base hit, or a single)

DOUBLE – When a batter gets a hit and is able to make it to second base in one play.

TRIPLE – same as above, but the batter makes it to third base in one play.

HOME RUN – When a batter gets a hit and is able to touch all the bases in order as reach home play to score a run. ( a home run can be either “in the park” or “out of the park”, out meaning it went over the rear fences)

GRAND SLAM – a home run with the bases loaded, resulting in 4 runs.

BATTING AVERAGE – the number of hits a player would be estimated to get out of 1,000 official at-bats. (To calculate, divide a players number of hits by his official number of times at bat) any average over .300 ( 30 hits out of 100 at- bats) is considered excellent.

PINCH HITTER/ RUNNER – a substitute for a hitter or base runner.

RUNS BATTED IN (RBI) – the number of runs scored as a result of a player getting hits or “sacrificing” runners home.

This is clearly not a comprehensive baseball training guide, but it should give you the very basics.

Play ball!

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