There are a lot of things to love about baseball: the enduring beauty of a ballfield, a game that takes nine innings to complete, a sport that has produced superstars and World Series champions, a common language of statistics and memorabilia, and hundreds of minor league and semipro teams, as well as two major leagues that draw 10 million fans a game. But one of the best things about baseball is that it’s a game that can be enjoyed by anyone, no matter your age or level of expertise.
The rules of baseball are simple enough that almost anyone can understand them, and that makes it a great game to teach kids. The game teaches them that strategy is key, as players must plan ahead to avoid getting out and learn how to think defensively. It also helps them to develop a sense of patience, as games can sometimes take a long time to play out.
Pitching is hard to do, and even harder than it looks. It involves placing your back foot on the pitcher’s rubber, and then putting your front leg in the hollow right of the rubber, so that it forms a sort of upside-down L shape. This gives you the leverage to drive your shoulder into the ball, throwing it at your target. A good pitcher can throw any type of ball, from a fast curveball to a no-seam slider.
When batting, you can hit anything that comes into contact with the bat, but you’re out if the ball is caught by the fielder in fair territory or falls into foul territory on the ground. There’s also a kind of “out of play” territory, which means that the fielder can’t reach it unless it rolls into it.
Once a team records three outs, its turn to bat ends. The team with the most runs at the end of a game wins. If the scores are tied at the end of an inning, then extra innings are played.
Baseball has changed a lot in the past hundred years, and much of this change is thanks to the players’ union. Players who were once paid like school teachers now have multimillion-dollar salaries, and the commentary around the game is often driven as much by contract negotiations, years of team control, and payroll flexibility as it is by player talent. In addition, the free-agency era brought in a new generation of fans and changed the way the game is viewed by people outside America’s borders. Some of these changes have been good, some have been bad. But the fact remains that baseball is still a great game to watch. It’s fun, it’s educational, and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. Just don’t forget the earplugs.