With the Division Series finished and the league championships in full swing, it is time to brush up on your baseball! This is an exciting World Series as the Cubs are in! The team hasn’t won the World Series title in 107 years! That is certainly something to watch. If you want to watch history but aren’t a big baseball fan, this rundown of the basics of baseball is for you.
There are 2 leagues in the MLB (Major League Baseball). There are 30 teams total. These teams also have AAA, AA, A and rookie/farm teams. Players typically start in one of these levels before heading up to the majors. In the MLB, there are two leagues: the American League and the National League.
The American League consists of Los Angeles Angels, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Toronto Blue Jays.
The National League is made up of Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburg Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants.
During the season, which spans from early April until the World Series starts October, the teams play 162. These games normally take place in series which is 3 games against the same team. The World Series consists of the pennant (championship) winners from each league in a best out of 7 series. There are 9 innings in college and major league baseball, most if not all high schools only play 7.
First, you have the pitcher (P) and the catcher (C). The pitcher stands on the pitcher mound in the center of the dirt and the catcher sits squats behind home plate. Next, you have the 4 infielders, first base (2B), second base (SB), shortstop (SS) and third base (3B). Then you have the outfielders, left (LF), center (CF), and right (RF). The American League also uses a position called a Designated Hitter (DH) who bats for the pitcher.
There are 12 types of pitches I am going to list them all but there is no way a guy would expect you to know them all. 4-seam fastball, 2-seam fastball (sinker), cutter, splitter, forkball, curveball, slider, slurve, screwball, change-up, palm ball, and circle change-up. What you really need to know is a fastball is just that, fast. The first 4 pitches listed are types of fastballs. A change-up is slower than a fastball but thrown in the same way. The curveball curves down once it reaches home plate. It is much slower than a fastball. A slider is a mixture of a fastball and a curveball. Then there is the knuckleball which usually has no spin and is uncontrollable.
You can hit the ball foul which means it is outside of the foul lines (the extended baselines). (A “ball” means it is outside of the strike zone aka zone batter should hit it in.) You can hit a fly ball which is where it goes in the air. A grounder or ground ball is when it skids on the ground. A line drive is when you is hit in the air but more at body level. A bunt is when the batter holds the bat in front of you and tap it. It usually lands between the catcher and the catcher. If you swing and miss (or it falls in the strike zone) it’s a strike.
There are a few ways to get out. If you get 3 strikes, you’re out. You can get out if your ball is caught in the air or if the ball reaches first base before you. If you are running to another base and it is a force out (aka there is another runner on the base behind you) or you are tagged by the ball you are out. The first 2 hit fouls count as strikes. If you get 4 balls then you are walked (free pass to first base). You also get walked if the pitcher hits you with the ball.
For the love of God know how to read a scoreboard. There is nothing more irksome than going to a game and hearing someone ask what all those numbers mean or even worse what the score is.
The numbers under the numbers 1-10 are the number of runs (points) scored in that inning. (An inning is 1 at bat for each team.) Under “R” you will find the total runs and under “H” is the total number of hits. “E” stands for the errors made by the team.
Bonus: A “K” is a strike out.
If you have an corrections or comments please feel free to write them below. Let me know who you’re rooting for to win the 2014 World Series!