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How Baseball Works (the Ultimate Guide for non-Americans)


Baseball continues to be America’s favorite pastime even though there are several popular sports like basketball and soccer. We had to name the latter soccer because there is American football, which is also a popular sport in the U.S. Baseball has been rooted in tradition and history and has helped shape America into a great nation. The sport embodies teamwork, sacrifice, and strategy, which many citizens of the country can associate with.

For those who live outside the U.S., there are certain rules and dynamics of baseball that they need to know to appreciate this remarkable game. Read along to find out how baseball works and what makes it special.

Baseball is Played Over Nine Innings

What makes baseball exciting and fun to watch is it has several innings (usually nine) where each team has an equal chance to play offensive and defensive positions. Each inning is limited by the number of outs and not by time, which means the game can be short or long depending on how well each team performs. It also means that an inning is complete if each team gets three players from the opposing team to strikeout. It is why it is exciting to bet on baseball games because of the unpredictable factors and multiple innings. Many possible outcomes can happen with each inning, which is why baseball not only is popular as a sport these days but also as an option for sports betting. There are no ties in baseball, which is why the ninth inning is usually decides the game, but if team scores are still tied at the end of this inning, a subsequent inning (or innings) is held to break the tie.

Pitches and Runs

A pitch is when the “pitcher” (one of the fielding team’s players who stands on the pitching mound) throws the ball to the “hitter” of the opposing team, who stands at home plate. The hitter then tries to hit the pitcher’s throw using a bat to put the ball into play by sending the ball flying inside the foul lines (in front of the first or third base and must land inside the foul lines). Once the hitter cleanly hits the pitch, they become a base runner as they run to the first base without being tagged out.

The base runner can advance to the next base once the next hitter is at bat and puts the ball into play again. The base runner will then make a run to the next base until they reach the home base and score a run. A “home run” is a spectacular play where a hitter hits the ball over the outfield wall. The hitter, including the teammates on the other bases, automatically advance to home base and score a run.

Getting the Hitter Out

The fielding team can get the hitter out in several ways.

  • Striking out - This is the most straightforward approach, where the pitcher throws the ball in the strike zone or gets the hitter to swing the bat and miss the pitch. The strike zone refers to the area over the home plate, above the hitter’s knees, and below the midpoint of the waist and shoulders. If a pitcher can throw three strikes, the hitter is struck out.
  • Flying out - a hitter can be outed if the ball they send flying is caught by the fielder without the ball bouncing.

Putting out - the fielder can put out a runner by touching the runner with the ball in mitt when he isn’t standing on a base.

The dramatic exchange of runs and outs and the accumulation of points by each team makes baseball exciting to watch. If you have seen the avid and enthusiastic fandom of other sports, you’ll be surprised with the enthusiasm of baseball fans. If you haven’t been to a professional baseball game and watch a baseball game live, we suggest you do it. Who knows? You might come to love it and add baseball as your favorite sport.