Baseball 101


Many can still remember the popcorn, hot dogs and sodas while sitting in the stands. The faint words of “play ball” linger in one’s mind.

Bases are loaded, it’s the bottom of the ninth, the batter hits a line drive to right field and the crowd goes wild. Many can remember these exciting moments in a baseball game, but how many can actually say they know how to play?

What is there really to know about baseball, anyway? You hit the ball and run around the field trying not to get tagged out, right? Wrong.

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Baseball may look like a simple game, but in reality it is a contest of great complexity that requires exceptional skill to play well.
To put it simply, for those who are not as familiar with baseball as other sports, it usually consists of nine players playing various positions of defense to get three “outs” on the opposing team.

Pitchers can throw anywhere from 80-100 mph based on what type of throw the catcher dictates to him through different hand signals. The shortstop plays between second and third base. This is because most baseball players tend to be right-handed, causing the ball to be hit in that direction. Other positions include first, second and third base, as well left, center and right field.  When on offense, everyone gets a chance to bat (with the exception of maybe the pitcher), with the goal to get on base and eventually score a run.

There are usually nine innings in college and professional baseball where both teams have a chance to bat and field the ball. The game will go into extra innings, if the score is tied after nine innings usually ending when one team is ahead of the other at the end of the inning.

The history of baseball originated with the English in the early 19th century. They played a game called “rounders” or “town-ball”, which consisted of a hard leather-cased ball which was hit by some sort of plastic or wooden stick. Players would score by running around to four different bases without being tagged with the ball.

Alexander Cartwright is creditied with the invention of the first baseball field and rulebook in 1845. Cartwright found the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, N.J., and set out to create the first baseball field. Cartwright formed 20 rules, with the most important being — have the reputation of a gentleman.

The first officially recorded game took place on June 19, 1846. Cartwright’s team, the Knickerbockers, lost 23-1 to the New York Baseball Club.  Cartwright’s rules would eventually spread throughout the country and would later become part of the National Association of Baseball Players in 1857.

Today’s game of baseball is one of strategy and numbers. Not only do players have to be physically fit and mentally tough, they have to rely on their team to accomplish their goals.

The 2012 roster for the BYU baseball team has just that. An impressive 4-0 winning streak in the Dominican Republic has many optimistic about this year’s season. BYU baseball team’s season home opener is on March 17.

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