The Basics of Baseball

A game played by two teams of nine players each, who use a bat to hit a ball and run around four bases in order to score a run. Only one runner may be on any base at a time and runners must touch each base in the correct order before returning to home plate. Usually the team with the most points wins.

Until the early 19th century, baseball was a sport only played by amateur men’s clubs in and around New York City. These clubs greatly altered the game from its origins in England and children’s rounders, and a powerful nationalistic sentiment helped make baseball America’s game. In seeking greater cultural autonomy from British influence and German-style turnvereins, Americans yearned for something they could claim as exclusively their own, and this heavily revised version of the game was what won out.

The playing field consists of an infield (with three bases and a home plate) and outfield, which are all arranged in the shape of a diamond. The pitcher stands in the centre of the diamond and throws the ball to the batter, who hits it with a bat. When the batting team has three outs, the teams swap roles and the other side takes their turn to bat. Each innings lasts for nine pitches, and the teams’ scores are added together at the end of the inning.

Each batting team sends up its players in a set order, which is chosen before the game begins. The players are called the lineup. If a player is unable to play due to injury or illness, another player can be substituted for him or her. However, a replacement can only be used for one batting position at a time.

If the hitter misses the ball, it is considered a strike. The batter is also out if he or she hits the ball into the stands, the dugouts, or the fence around the playing field – known as foul territory. A foul tip doesn’t count as a foul strike, but it must be caught by a fielder in the infield or outfield to be caught.

The batter tries to get on base by touching all of the other bases in the correct order before returning to home plate. Only one runner can be on each base at any time, and the batter must avoid passing other runners. A runner can steal a base if he or she touches the base before the batter is out.

A team’s total score is a combination of the number of runs it has made and the number of its outs. The first team to score eight or more runs wins the game. Stats include batting average, home runs, stolen bases, and RBI. The latter is a statistic that reflects the number of times a batter makes it possible for his or her teammates to score runs. There was a period in American baseball history, from the late 1900s to the early 2000s, when players were using illegal performance-enhancing drugs. This is referred to as the steroid era.