Baseball is a beloved sport enjoyed by millions of fans worldwide. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the basics of baseball, equipment used in the game, various leagues and tournaments, as well as data and team details. We'll also discuss baseball by US state, other countries, and much more!
Baseball is played between two teams with nine players each. The objective is to score more runs than the other team. A run is scored when a player advances around all the bases and returns to home plate.
Players take turns batting and fielding. When batting, players try to hit the ball into play and run counter-clockwise around the four bases: first, second, third, and home plate. When fielding, the defensive team tries to get the batting team out, typically by throwing them out at the bases or forcing them into outs like strikeouts, groundouts or flyouts.
The game is played on a baseball diamond with 60 feet 6 inches between bases. Pitchers throw from a pitcher's mound 60 feet 6 inches from home plate.
Teams get three outs per inning. A game lasts nine innings unless the score is tied, then extra innings are played until one team is ahead at the end of an inning.
2. Baseball Equipment
Baseball bats: Made of wood, aluminum, or composite materials. Different lengths, weights, and barrel sizes suit different hitters and ages.
Baseballs: Standard baseballs weigh 5 to 5.25 ounces and have a 9 inch circumference. Made of cork and wrapped in cowhide leather.
Gloves: Fielders wear leather gloves, sized and designed for each fielding position. Catcher's mitts are heavily padded. Batting gloves provide grip and padding for hitters.
Helmets: Batting helmets and catcher's helmets protect hitters and catchers from wild pitches and foul balls.
Uniforms: Baseball caps, jerseys, pants, belts, and cleats make up the standard uniform. Numbers on jerseys identify each player.
Bases: First, second, and third bases are 15 inches square. Home plate is five-sided, pointing to first and third bases.
Additional equipment: Cups, base coaches' helmets, equipment bags, pine tar, rosin bags, ball buckets, ball scoops, and more.
3. Major Baseball Leagues and Tournaments
Major League Baseball (MLB): The highest level of professional baseball with 30 teams split between the National League and American League. The regular season runs April to October, followed by the postseason and World Series.
World Baseball Classic (WBC): Premier international baseball tournament held every four years featuring national teams.
College baseball: Governed by the NCAA, college baseball is popular in the U.S., especially in the South and West. The College World Series is the championship tournament.
Minor league baseball: Includes Triple-A, Double-A, Single-A, short season and rookie leagues which develop players for MLB teams. Most MLB teams have minor league affiliates.
Youth baseball: Includes Little League (ages 4 to 12), Babe Ruth League (13 to 15) and American Legion (15 to 19).
4. Baseball Seasons, Scores, Schedules, and Standings
MLB regular season: 162 games from April to October. Teams play mostly three- or four-game series against the same opponent.
All-Star Game: Midsummer exhibition where stars from the AL and NL face off. Home-field advantage in the World Series is at stake.
MLB scores, schedules and standings: Follow your favorite team's scores, upcoming schedules, division and wildcard standings on MLB.com, ESPN, and other sports platforms.
Playoffs and World Series: Postseason begins in October. 10 teams qualify - the three division winners and one wildcard in each league. Division Series, League Championships and World Series determine the champion.
Baseball Hall of Fame: Located in Cooperstown, NY, the Baseball Hall of Fame honors the sport's greatest players, managers, coaches, executives, umpires and journalists. Over 300 members have been inducted to date.
5. Baseball Teams and Players
Popular MLB teams include the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, L.A. Dodgers, and St. Louis Cardinals.
Baseball players are classified as hitters (batter), pitchers (throwing hand), and fielders (defensive position: first base, second base, shortstop, third base, outfield). Some players 'pitch and hit,' known as dual players.
Some of the best MLB players of all time include Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, and Mickey Mantle. Current stars include Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, and Manny Machado.
6. International Baseball
Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB): Japan's professional league, founded in 1950. Considered the highest level of baseball outside the Americas. Popular teams are the Yomiuri Giants and Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.
Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) : Professional baseball league founded in Korea in 1982. 10 teams, very popular in South Korea and parts of Asia.
World Baseball Classic (WBC): Baseball's global tournament allows diverse countries to compete, including Japan, Korea, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, and more.
Additional leagues exist in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia, and Europe, though not as prominent as MLB, NPB, and KBO.
7. Baseball Fields and Stadiums
A standard baseball field consists of the diamond plus the outfield, with natural or artificial grass. The diamond includes the bases, pitcher's mound, batter's box, and catcher's box.
Outfield dimensions vary but are typically at least 325 feet from home plate. Center field is farthest from the batter's point of view. Yankee Stadium and Dodgers Stadium are legendary MLB ballparks.
Ballpark amenities include concessions, shops, restaurants, scoreboards, video screens, luxury suites, and more. Some minor league ballparks have fun features like splash zones, obstacle courses, Ferris wheels or carousels.
Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are iconic, historic MLB ballparks, built in 1914 and 1912 respectively. Newer retro-style MLB ballparks include Oriole Park at Camden Yards, AT&T Park, and Coors Field.
8. Baseball Tickets, Gear, and Gifts
MLB tickets: Available for regular season, spring training, playoffs, All-Star Game, and World Series. Priced based on team, seating location, time of game, day of week, and opponent.
Baseball gear: Caps, jerseys, t-shirts, jackets and apparel for fans of all MLB, MiLB, college and youth teams. Available at MLB.com, Fanatics, and team shops.
Baseball gifts: Include baseballs, bats, mugs, bobbleheads, grill covers, board games, fantasy baseball resources, collectibles, and toys for baseball fans of any age. Additionally, personalized products like t-shirts and mugs make great baseball gifts that allow fans to show off their team spirit in a fun and unique way. And for those who love to cook out, grill covers with their favorite team's logo are a perfect addition to any barbecue. Whether you're looking for fantasy baseball resources or fun toys for kids, there are plenty of options to choose from to make the perfect gift for any baseball fan.
Baseball cards: Trading cards featuring baseball players, teams, stats, and more. Popular brands are Topps, Upper Deck, and Panini. Vintage cards from early 1900s to 1980s are prized collectibles.
Baseball is a beloved sport with a rich history, culture, and strategy. Whether you're a casual fan or a die-hard enthusiast, there's always something to appreciate about the game. From the crack of the bat to the roar of the crowd, baseball is a sport that brings people together and creates lasting memories.