A Complete Guide To Baseball
The American way of life and the sport of Baseball are synonymous as the two have been infused together to form the ultimate thrill in the American sporting culture. Even though Baseball is considered American through and through, the thrill of this sport has spread far and wide across different cultures and boundaries, and India too has picked up on this sport and shown a keen sense of admiration and excitement towards this highly competitive and vigorous game.
Baseball In A Nutshell
Baseball is the national sport of the United States of American, but has been played across various countries on a professional as well as a recreational level. The sport involves a bat and ball, and is played between two teams that have 9 players on each side, and the team that scores maximum runs is declared as the winner.
In India, baseball is not a highly recognized game, but is popular in schools, colleges and clubs. The Amateur Baseball Federation Of India is the sole governing body for the sport and organizes state level championships and tournaments. Even though India does not have many well known athletes in baseball, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel are the two most distinguished baseball players who have been a part of international teams in America.
How Would You Describe Baseball?
Baseball is a popular ball and bat game that is played between two teams that consist of 9 players on each side. The players take turns between batting and fielding, and the team that bats attempts to score runs by hitting a ball which is thrown by the pitcher, and by running counter-clockwise around a series of 4 bases, which are termed as first, second, third and home plate.
A player is successful in scoring a run, if he or she advances around the bases and gets back to the home plate. Even though the sport has its origins in France, it is the national sport of the United States and is extremely popular in all of North America, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and East Asia. In America and Canada, the professional baseball team is called the Major League Baseball team, and that is divided into two; National League and American League.
Overview and History Of Baseball
- Even though the origin of baseball is a bit vague and not accurate, a French script from the year 1344 contains a graphic illustration of clerics who can be seen playing a sport which seems similar to the likes of baseball.
- What we consider as baseball today is primarily an American game which was inspired by an older game played by the British and Irish called ‘Rounders’.
- One of the earliest references to baseball has been made by a British author John Newbery in his book ‘A little Pretty Pockey Book’ which has a rhymed description of the game, and a graphic illustration as well which shows a field that is like the kind we see in the sport today.
- Around the early 1800’s, there were several games that sprung up around Great Britain and parts of Europe that were like baseball, but the official name had not been established and most of these games were uncodified.
- By 1850, a sudden craze for the sport hit the city of New York, and by 1856, local newspapers and TV reporters started referring to the game as a ‘national pastime’, or the ‘national game’. A year later, sixteen area clubs were formed baseball’s first governing body, ‘The National Association Of Baseball Players’.
- In 1858, the first official baseball match was held in Corona, Queen’s, New York. The game was contested between the all stars of Brooklyn, and consisted of players from the Brooklyn Atlantics, Excelsior of Brooklyn, Putnams and Eckford of Brooklyn, and the All Stars of Manhattan, New York.
- In 1869, the first ever professional baseball club was formed which was called ‘The Cincinnati Red Stockings’, and it remained a strong team for several years.
- The first professional league, which was the ‘National Association of Professional Base Ball Players existed between 1871 and 1875, although several scholars do dispute its status as a major league.
- Babe Ruth, who was an American Professional Baseball player had a booming baseball career that spanned 22 seasons, from 1914 to 1935.
- Besides America, baseball became an exceedingly popular sport in other countries including Canada, England, Italy, Venezuela, South Korea, Taiwan, Puerto Rico and Mexico. All these countries have professional baseball teams that compete on national and international levels.
- Although baseball was initially accepted and recognized as a medal sport in the 1992 Olympic games, it was dropped off the Olympic charts from 2012. The Baseball World Cup was also discontinued after 2011.
- As far as the Indian context is concerned, baseball has not picked up immense popularity even though the game is quite similar to cricket. The sport is primarily played on school, club and college levels.
- However, the Amateur Baseball Federation (which was founded in 1983) takes great initiatives in driving this sport and encouraging those players who are interested in making it a career.
- There are a few Indian baseball stars as well such as Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel who have made it big in this field of sport and have been an inspiration to aspiring baseball players within the country.
- A documentary film titled ‘The Only Real Game’ was released in 2013 that traced the roots of baseball in India, and showcased the evolution of the game within the country.
- A charity organization known as ‘First Pitch’ was established in Manipur which was formed to help promote the game on a larger level and to educate the Indian masses about the sport and all that it entails.
- In the year 2007, a Major League Baseball agent named J.B Bernstein decided to execute a competition throughout India called ‘The Million Dollar Arm’. In this competition, the contestants were supposed to throw three consecutive balls at a speed of 90 mph or higher in order to obtain the grand prize which was 1 million dollars. The two champions from this competition were Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh, and the two astounding and skilled athletes were also invited to the United States to try out for the MLB teams. The two were eventually signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and were the first two Indians to play baseball on a professional and global level.
- It 2016, it has been confirmed that Baseball would be the part of Olympics in 2020.
Rules Of Baseball
- The basic objective of baseball is for the player to score more runs than the opponent player.
- A baseball game has 2 teams that consist of 9 players on each side.
- The different positions on the field include a catcher, pitcher, first baseman, second baseman, shortstop, third baseman, and three outfielders who stand on the centre field, right field, and left field.
- A typical baseball game lasts for a total of 9 innings, and both the teams get to bat once.
- If the player who is batting succeeds in hitting the ball from the pitcher, then they need to make it to the first base. Post this, they can run to as many bases as they can, before getting tagged out.
- It is important and mandatory that each base needs to be touched by some part of the batter’s body in order to be taken into consideration.
- A strike is considered, if a batter swings his bat for a ball, but misses it. The batter can decide whether or not he wants to leave the ball, but if the ball is inside the strike zone, then a strike out will be given to the respective player.
- A player can be taken out or dismissed by either a strike out, force out, fly out, or a tag out.
- At the starting of a game, once the batting order is decided, it cannot be reversed or changed at any given point throughout the game.
- Substitutes are allowed, but they must resume the batting from where the last player batted.
- If the team who bats second is already ahead in terms of points, then it is not mandatory for them to complete their batting innings.
- The player aims to hit the ball that is thrown at him as far as possible, and to run around 4 bases in order to complete a single run. Once the player completes his full circle around the 4 bases, the other batter comes in and starts playing. This, however, does not happen if the player is tagged out by the opponent team or does not manage to finish circling the 4 bases.
- In baseball, a player can score a mandatory point if they hit a home run, which is if the ball leaves the playing area or field and falls amidst the crowd. In other words, if it goes beyond the boundary line.
- A player can come to a halt at any base if he or she thinks that they might not make the next base without a possibility of being tagged out.
- In addition to this, players can also score multiple points from a single hit, if more than 1 player is already on one of the 4 bases.
- One hit can include a maximum of 4 points.
- If every single base has a player at one time, it is referred to as ‘the bases are loaded’. The number of points scored depends on how many players get to the home plate before being tagged out.
- A traditional game of baseball consists of 9 innings, and the team that gets the most points after the 9 innings is regarded as the winner. Extra innings are played in case of a tie.
Specifications Of Baseball
The baseball field is divided into two parts; outfield and infield. The Diamond shaped 4 bases divide the infield and outfield, and are spread out at 90 feet apart. The pitching mound is in the centre of the infield, and this is where the pitcher stands and throws the ball at the batter.
The baseball bats are unique in their style and shape, and most bats are made out of wood, aluminium, or metal materials. The ball used in baseball is always white with red stitching, and is roughly 3 inches in diameter.
The team that fields wears ‘mits’, which are oversized gloves, and that helps in catching and picking up the ball. The catcher usually wears extra padding in the gloves along with leg guards, a body pad and a helmet.
Governing Bodies Of Baseball
World Baseball Softball Confederation, which is also known as WBSC is the primary governing body for baseball. This organization was founded in 2013 which came with the merger of the International Softball Federation and International Baseball Federation, which was the former governing body for this sport.
The WBSC heads 208 National Federation members in 141 countries and territories across Asia, Africa, Americas, Europe and Oceania. This also includes Professional Baseball organizations and forms an extended arm of the WBSC as associate members.
Championships Of Baseball
On An International Level
Major League Baseball – This popular baseball championship has been played since 1869, and continues to be the most prestigious of all events when it comes to professional baseball. Till the year 2016, a total of 30 teams play in the American as well as National league, and this championship is organized and managed by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
The Commissioner’s Trophy – It is presented annually by the Commissioner of Baseball to the Major League team that succeeds in winning the World Series.
World Baseball Classic – This is an international baseball tournament which is also sanctioned by the WSBC. Before baseball was discontinued as an Olympic sport, this event co-existed with Olympic baseball.
On A Domestic Level
Asian Championship – The Indian National Baseball team has represented Indian baseball on many occasions during the Asian Championship which is held annually in Taiwan. In 1987, India came in 7th, followed by 1989 in which they again stood 7th, and in 2015, where they were featured on the 3rd position.
Famous Personalities In Baseball
When it comes to Indian baseball, there aren’t too many famous personalities since the game is played on a niche level, but Rinku Singh is the one prominent name that stands out as he is a left – handed pitcher for Bradenton Marauders. Singh hails from the famous Indian city of Lucknow, and was recognized for his superb skill in baseball after he was chosen as one of the winners for the large scale contest held in India called ‘The Million Dollar Arm’. He was the first Indian to appear in a professional baseball team, and has won many accolades and tournaments during his career.
Dinesh Kumar Patel
Dinesh Kumar Patel who is one of the winner’s from the Million Dollar Arm contest that was held in 2008. Patel is a right handed baseball pitcher who has played for the Pittsburgh Pirates Organization. Along with the left handed pitcher Rinku Singh, Patel was also one of the first India baseball players to sign a contract with an international baseball team. Patel is from Lucknow, and even though he is currently not pursuing baseball as a professional sport, he teaches baseball to young children and teenagers, and also practices javelin.
We certainly cannot speak of baseball without mentioning the most famous baseball players of all times, Babe Ruth. Ruth, who was an American professional baseball player, was also referred to as ‘The Bambino’, and ‘The Sultan Of Swat’, and was noted for his astounding performances as a left – handed pitcher. He was recognized for various batting records, including his home runs which were a total of 714.
Ruth’s tremendous skill with the bat and ball were truly astonishing for all those who watched him play, as hitting various home runs was next to impossible. Ruth learnt how to play baseball at the age of 7 and went on to become a baseball star throughout America and beyond.
His last stint with the sport was in the year 1935, but even after he resigned as a professional player, he continued as a manager for the sport, and overlooked the Yankees team in New York. He died on August 16th 1948. There are various museums across America that honour the legendary baseball player and continue to keep his legacy alive.
At YoGems we have a wide plethora of coaches and experts who can help guide you and your child in Baseball. If you have any questions or concerns then feel free to get in touch with us today!