How to Play Baseball: Roles of the Players

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How to Play Baseball

Baseball can be described as being “American”. The greatest of all sports is a term used by former President Herbert Hoover to depict his thoughts on the game of baseball. Baseball is made up of two teams of nine players that contend with one another on a “diamond” (a square field). The teams are made up of a catcher, pitcher, a first, second, and third baseman, right fielders and center, a shortstop and left. The following are the rules for how to play baseball:

The Role of the Catcher

The catcher stands at the rear of the batter and gestures the pitcher as to what kind of ball to pitch. A game is comprised of nine innings. If the home team is leading (meaning if they have scored more runs) at the conclusion of the middle of the ninth inning, the home team is the winner.

The baseball field is made up of four bases that are spaced 90 feet apart from one another. The batter’s box, which is the area where the batter stands, is positioned sixty feet and six inches away from the pitcher’s mound. The two foul lines run the distance of the field and describe the playing area.

The Role of the Batter

The objective of the batter is to get a hit. When the ball is hit, batter is now known as the runner and aims to make it to first base prior to the ball being caught by the first baseman. At the moment the ball is caught, the first baseman touches the base prior to the runner getting there or the runner is tagged. A “single” is called when a batter arrives at a base safely.

A “double” happens when a batter is able to run to second base and a triple happens when a batter manages to make it to third base. A home run occurs when the batter runs around all the bases and makes it to home plate before the ball. The batter can hit a home run if the ball goes over a fence or a wall in the outfield.

The role of the defensive team in the field is to keep the offensive team’s batters from making a score. One way of achieving this is to get the batter out by pitching three strikes. A strike occurs when a batter does not try to hit a ball within the strike zone or swings and misses. On the occasion a batter has two strikes and hits the third in foul territory, it does not count as a strike. Under all other conditions a foul ball is considered a strike.

A “ball” is called when a pitcher throws a ball that does not cross home plate between the batter’s armpits and knees. The batter is able to go to first base devoid of having to hit the ball (this is technically called a “walk’) which happens when four balls are thrown by a pitcher to the batter. When the ball is hit and is airborne, the players in the field try to catch the ball prior to it hitting the ground. If a line or fly ball is caught, the batter is out. In the instance of a ground ball being caught, it is thrown to a base in an attempt to get the runner out.

Players can also slide into base to avoid being tagged out. All games consist of having at least one umpire to call strikes and balls. In major league games there are four umpires with each base having one.

The Role of the Pitcher

In baseball, most people consider the pitcher the most important defensive player on the team. This position holds the most control over the game and is the most physically demanding. A good pitcher must have excellent control over the ball so that the ball is thrown where he or she targets it. Some have even been known to throw balls that reach 100 miles per hour.

A pitcher has a variety of styles of throwing the ball in order to achieve different results. A “slider’ is a mixture between a curve ball and a fast ball and gives the impression that it is sliding from the batter.

The Role of Infielders and Outfielders

One of the three outfielders catches high, long, or ground balls that go past the infield. The outfielders must possess an exceptional throwing ability. Of the three outfielders, the center fielder is usually considered the fastest since they have the greatest amount of area to cover. They must also possess a physically powerful arm because they have to throw balls to home and third plate repeatedly throughout the game.

In addition, the role of the infielder who is on bases and the shortstop, is to try to thwart balls from making it into the outfield. They also try to tag or throw out the batter when a ball is hit. The shortstop has a very demanding position and must have quick reactions and a very powerful throwing arm. This position is very important to the team.


With baseball, other areas are addressed such as equipment and clothing, and playing techniques. This game is considered one of America’s favorites sports and has been a welcomed passtime for both young and old for many years. This article is intended for educational purposes on how to play baseball.


The Physical Education Learning Packets # 11 Baseball Text 2000 The Advantage Press Inc.