Baseball for Aliens

The More I learn, the Less I Know

Baseball for Aliens


A BRIEF OVERVIEW FOR PEOPLE AND OTHERS
WHO THINK THEY WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND IT

INCLUDING A CURIOUS LESSON IN AMERICAN ENGLISH
FOR THE UNINITIATED


FOREWORD

In the course of my life I have often encountered people, mostly abroad, who profess a complete inability to fathom baseball. Apparently, our national sport remains baffling even to many who are genuinely interested–first generation Americans, for instance, who wish they could appreciate the game that their own children play with such enthusiasm. Hence I decided to try to put together a sort of primer to address this problem, convinced that a gradual and logical unfolding of the principles of the game will end the mystery and open an avenue to great enjoyment for anyone who makes only minimal effort.

Actually, the object of the game and the rules of play are basically simple and intuitive, although exceptions and corollaries are numerous. Grasping the rules and some of the complexities is the first difficulty the aspirant will face in gaining an appreciation of baseball, but one which I hope I can alleviate by consigning much of that detail to the
Appendices, which with the Glossary comprise nearly half of this work.

A second difficulty, in actually watching the play, arises from the speed at which things happen. True, unlike soccer or basketball, the players are not constantly in motion. There are pauses, essentially timeouts, between actions that are longer and more numerous than even in American football. But when the action begins, it takes place with lightning speed, with sometimes many players scrambling, and is over in a few seconds. This can be hard to follow without a fair amount of experience, even if you have mastered the rules.

A third obstacle is that understanding baseball requires learning another language. Conversations about a game or descriptions such as play-by-play commentary or post-game summaries by sports announcers call upon a bewildering thicket of specialized terms. This is true of all sports, but especially of baseball because any baseball game exhibits a large variety of very different and often complex events, most of which are identified by terms with very specific and not always obvious meanings. The very richness of this specialized vocabulary can be overwhelming, but unfortunately or not, it is difficult to progress beyond a basic idea of the game without becoming familiar with a fair amount of this jargon. I am particularly sensitive to this aspect of the task I have taken up, and I shall take pains to introduce the most important terminology gradually with explanations and examples.

The reward of surmounting these two difficulties is to be able to watch a game with understanding and thus to witness stunning feats of physical skill, elegantly executed combinations, and winning strategic moves. It will allow you to share in the moments of great tension when the tide of a game may turn or the outcome be decided by a single play. On completing this exercise, the reader may open YouTube and follow a complete game, to which I have supplied a play-by-play elucidation. Finally, a collateral objective of this exercise is to highlight the important impact that baseball and its particular jargon have had on our language. For those who are not native speakers of a North American dialect, it is hoped that this aspect will be useful, considering that much of baseball jargon appears ubiquitously in American speech in metaphorical senses far removed from the game, much like nautical terms that originated in British English. Even those ignorant of the game, the reader, in fact, to whom this effort is addressed, may use many of these expressions without being aware of their derivation. At the end of this exposition is an appendix which in which the reader will find the terms and their definitions handily collected in one place along with notes on how they have come to be used in contexts that have nothing to do with the sport.

I. Fundamentals

A. The Object of the Game

1. Baseball is a sport played beetween two teams of nine players on a uniquely designed Field shaped like a pie slice with a square at the corner. The object is for a team to score points by executing successful Plays that result in Runs. At the end of the game, the team with the most Runs is the winner.

2. To this end, players on one team take turns standing with a special Bat at Home Plate, which is located at the vertex of the slice, and trying to hit a ball thrown by one of the other team. If successful, the Batter runs from corner to corner of the square while the other team endeavors to stop him according to definite rules. The goal is for one or more of those running to make the full circuit and arrive at the starting Home Plate again. A player who succeeds has Scored a Run for the team.

3. The following sections will explain when a Runner is allowed to proceed around the track and how the opposing team can frustrate his progress. But first let me describe the playing field, the organization of the combat, and the positions of the players.

B. The Field

1. A baseball Field as a whole is shaped roughly like a quadrant of a circle or a quarter slice of a pie, and is covered mostly with grass (or artificial turf). Professional and many other organized ball Clubs play in a stadium, with seating in Grandstands or Stands along both sides or even all around the Field. In recent times, covered Indoor Stadiums have been built so that games can be played in all weather.

Figure 1. A photo of a night game in an open stadium showing the size and layout of the field and the spectators’ Grandstands.

The Field is divided into the Infield and the Outfield. (See Figure 2.)

2. The boundaries, like the edges of a slice, are straight lines stretching from the right angle of the slice to the far boundary, which varies in shape and distance officially at least 50 feet (76.2 m.), but more often 300 to 400 feet (91.44-121.92 m.) at some points. These edge boundaries are called Foul Lines, for reasons that will be clear later. Marking the exact point of the angle is Home Plate, or simply The Plate, a five-sided slab of white rubber embedded in the dirt.

3. The border at the far ends of the Foul Lines is called the Outfield Boundary and is edged by the Outfield Wall or Outfield Fence, a barrier of no specific height or material. In diagrams it shows as an arc, but in practice it can be irregular, partly straight lines, partly wall, partly fence, with or without spectator Stands. Now Major League Ball Parks have tall Foul Poles mounted at the ends of the foul lines.

4. The Infield

a. The heart of the Infield is the square, called the Diamond, 90 feet (27.43 m.) on a side, just inside the Foul Lines, one corner being Home Plate and the other three corners marked by flat canvas bags called Bases. The Bases are about 15 inches square and 3 to 5 inches thick, filled with soft material, and firmly fixed to the ground.

b. The Bases are called, in counter-clockwise order, First, Second, and Third Base. Along the sides of the square connecting the Bases are dirt paths.

c. In the center of the Diamond is a low dirt mound 18 feet in diameter called the Pitcher’s Mound. Inside and just behind the middle of the Mound, officially 60 feet, 6 inches (18.39 m.) from the center of Home Plate, is a white rubber rectangle called the Pitcher’s Rubber, or simply the Rubber.

Figure 2. The Baseball Diamond showing part of the Outfield.

d. The Infield extends from Home Plate to the Outfield Line or Grass Line, a curve with a radius of 95 feet (28.9 m.) from the Pitcher’s Rubber.

e. The Baselines and (usually) the area from the Baselines to the Grass Line are Dirt, that is, clear of grass.

5. The Outfield

a. On either side of the Plate are brackets, a rectangle, or a trapezoid drawn in white on the Dirt called the Batter’s Box. Behind the Plate is another rectangle called the Catcher’s Box.

b. The Outfield is the grass-covered area from the Outfield Line to the Outfield Wall or Fence.

c. It is notionally divided into three unmarked areas called Right Field, Center Field, and Left Field, from the point of view of one standing at Home Plate.

C. Equipment

1. The players wear unique uniforms displaying the team colors, one mostly white when playing At Home, and one gray for playing Away, or Visiting.

2. The Bat used to hit the ball may be of different materials, but in professional baseball it is made from a single tapered piece of wood, usually ash. One end is narrow for gripping and the other end that hits the ball is thicker.

3. The defending players each wear a single special padded Gloves, different in style depending on the player’s function. A right-handed player wears it on his left hand, and vice versa.

4. The Catcher wears a face mask, chest and neck protectors, shin guards, and a special glove called the Catcher’s Mitt.

5. When batting, a player wears a protective helmet. If he runs, he discards it when he reaches a base, unless it has fallen off before that.

Figure 3. A right-handed Batter, wearing the visiting team uniform and a helmet, the Catcher, and the Home Plate Umpire. (Photo by Victor Grigas, license creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

6. The ball is covered in cowhide stitched with red twine, around 2.85 inches (7.24 cm.) in diameter. It is often called a Hardball to distinguish it from the larger so-called Softball used in a less demanding variant of the game.

Figure 4. A worn Ball
(Photo by Schuyler at English Wikipedia)

II. How the Game Works

A. Organization: Acts and Scene

1. As stated, the object of the game is to Score Runs. A Run can be scored only by an individual player. Beginning at Home Plate, he must run counter-clockwise around the Diamond, touching all the Bases in succession and ending back at Home Plate.

2. At any given time, then, one team is on offense, that is, trying to score Runs, and the other on defense, trying to prevent Runs and make Outs.

3. In goal sports like soccer or basketball, the offense and defense are very fluid. Either team may score points at any time by wresting control of the ball from the other team and conveying it to a goal. In baseball, the opposite is true. The defending team controls the ball, and the offensive player essentially tries to avoid it.

4. Because the two sides are performing different actions with different equipment in different configurations, the action takes place in a series of discrete units comparable to acts and scenes in a play.

5. The game is organized so that each team is given an equal number of opportunities to Score. In order for this to happen, the game unfolds in periods called Innings, each divided into Halves. In one Half one team is At Bat trying to Score, and the defending team is In the Field. In this way, each team has an equal opportunity to Bat. The first Half of an Inning is called the Top of the Inning, and the second the Bottom. When the teams have completed nine Innings, the game is over (unless there is a tie—more on that later).

6. Unlike quarters and halves in football or basketball, Innings and their Halves have no set time limit, but are determined by the outcomes of a series of discrete Plays of indeterminate length. The Half is over when the defending team is able to put three of the opposing players Out, not by blocking or tackling but according to the simple Rules of Play that it is my purpose here to make clear.

7. At the start, or Top, of an Inning, the team At Bat sends an individual player, the Batter (or Hitter), to the Plate where he attempts to hit the ball thrown by an opposing player called the Pitcher. He is said to be At Bat or Up. He takes a stance at the ready in the Batter’s Box, either to the left or right of the Plate, to await the Pitch. If he hits the ball into the field, he can run and try to get at least to First Base, where he is Safe. If he fails to get on base his turn is over, and he is Out. A player who is Out leaves the field and does not bat again until is turn comes around. Whichever the outcome, the Play is ended, another player Steps up to the Plate, and a new Play ensues. A player can be Out in a number of ways, which I shall enumerate presently.

8. Once three players are Out, the Half Inning is over, and the other team Comes to Bat.

B. The Players and their Positions

1. Each player on a team actually has two positions. When a team is At Bat, the player has a position in a fixed sequence of batters. When in the Field, each player has a specific function or position: Pitching, Catching, or Covering a specific part of the field.

2. The team At Bat

a. Players take their turns Up or At Bat according to a prearranged and announced sequence called the Batting Order or the Lineup. This Lineup continues throughout the game and cannot be reordered. It can be changed only by removing a player (for the remainder of the game) and substituting another. Thus a player At Bat is not Up again until all the other players have Batted.

b. While waiting their turn, the players are basically inactive, waiting their turn in the Dugout, a covered bench area so called because it is ordinarily a step or two below ground level on the right side against the Stands. The Home Team’s Dugout is on the right, the Visiting Team’s on the left.

c. The Batter must stand in the Batter’s Box while waiting for a pitch. If he steps out of the Box, as he sometimes may, the Pitcher cannot throw.

d. The next Batter in the Lineup warms up with practice Swings in the On-Deck Circle.

3. The Defending Team

a. In the Field, the nine players each take a specific, standard preassigned Position. In professional practice, players usually specialize in one position and play the same rôle in every game. Their job is to Field the Ball.

b. The defensive positions are referred to as Infielders, Outfielders, and the Battery.

c. The Battery consists of the Pitcher and the Catcher. The Pitcher stands on the Mound and throws the ball to the Batter. He must have one foot on the Pitcher’s Rubber when Pitching. The Catcher, in his protective gear, squats behind the batter in the Catcher’s Box, catches the Pitches that the batter does not hit, and throws back to the Pitcher. The Catcher must be in the Catcher’s Box during a Pitch.

d. The Pitcher has an especially demanding and critical job, and are frequently taken out and replaced in the course of a game. Relief Pitchers are always ready, often warming up by throwing practice pitches in the Bull Pen, a long screened space against the Right Field wall or stands.

e. The Infield has four positions, effectively covering the space between the Bases. They are called First Baseman, Second Baseman, Third Baseman, and Shortstop. The First and Third Basemen stay close to their bases. The Second Baseman stands between First and Second Base. The Shortstop stands between Second and Third Base. Their rôle is to stop hit balls from reaching the Outfield when possible, and to prevent Runners from advancing to a Base or to Home.

f. The Outfield is manned by three Outfielders, a Left Fielder, a Center Fielder, and a Right Fielder. They basically take positions near the center of their area and Field balls that come their way.

f. In addition to the players, there are Umpires and Coaches. Umpires (or familiarly, Umps) are neutral officials who act as judges and enforce the rules. They wear distinctive uniforms, usually blue, so that they are easily distinguished from players. One Umpire, heavily padded, stands behind the Catcher and Calls the Pitches (I’ll explain that in the next section). He may inspect the ball for damage or illegal tampering at any time and has a supply of fresh balls to replace any that are removed or get lost in the stands. He also carries a brush to sweep dust off the Plate periodically. Another Umpire stands near each Base. Coaches belong to the teams and give instructions and signals to their players from their Boxes outside the field (see Figure 2).

Figure 5. Diagram of the field snowing the defending positions with their conventional abbreviations and shorthand numbers.
(Diagram by Michael J, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

III. Rules of Play

A. The Pitch.

1. The game begins officially when the Home Plate Umpire ritually sings “Play Ball,” but practically, with the first Pitch in the First Inning. The Batter is in the Batter’s Box, the Catcher behind him in the Catcher’s Box. The Pitcher stands on the Rubber and Winds Up, i.e. prepares to Pitch.

Figure 6. A Pitcher winding up to thtrow. (Photo by R. Dikeman at English Wikipedia, license CC BY-SA 3.0)

2. The Pitcher aims the ball to arrive at Home Plate within the Strike Zone, or an area between the edges of the Plate and roughly between the Batter’s armpits and knees. Since there is no physical demarcation, it is up to the Home Plate Umpire to judge what the Strike Zone is and whether a Pitch is within it or not.

a. A pitch outside the Strike Zone is said to be Low or High or Inside or Outside, or a combination, depending on how it arrives to the Batter.

b. The Pitcher throws different kinds of Pitches with the aim of frustrating the Batter.

c. The Pitcher is the team’s first line of defense. He is able to Retire (or put out) a Batter all by himself, simply by pitching successfully, as we shall see.

B. Batting.

1. The Batter begins by taking his position in the batter’s Box. A right-handed Batter stands to the left of the plate; a left-handed Batter to the right. Some right-handed players choose to bat left-handed. There may be an advantage to this, since he is a couple of feet closer to First Base. Some Batters are Switch-Hitters, meaning they hit either right- or left-handed, and may even change sides during an At Bat.

2. When the pitched ball comes to the Batter, he has three choices. He can Swing at it, attempt to Bunt, or do nothing.

a. In a Swing, the Batter, grasping the Bat with both hands together, dominant hand on top, brings it down in an arc to a horizontal orientation with maximum force and follows through the arc with his arms and body. The aim is for the Bat and the ball to meet at the midpoint so that the force of the collision drives the ball as far as possible, ideally out of the Field for a Home Run.

Figure 7. A batter preparing to Bunt. (Parkerjh at English Language Wikipedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

b. Bunting is basically hitting the ball without Swinging the bat, typically by holding the bat horizontally with the hands apart and making the ball bounce forward into the field.

3. If he swings, there are several possible results:

a. He can hit the ball so it lands on the ground inside the Foul Line in Fair Territory (a Fair Ball). He then immediately runs to reach First Base. Depending on how far the ball goes and how it is Fielded, he may be put Out, or he may be Safe on First (or even further if he hits a long ball–more on that as we move on.)

b. He can hit the ball so that it falls beyond the Home Run Fence, out of the park, in which case he automatically scores a Run called a Home Run and makes a circuit of the bases, usually at a leisurely trot, without opposition. Any other players on bases also Score Runs. This is called Clearing the Bases.

c. He can hit the ball so that an opposing player catches it before it lands (whether or not it is Fair or Foul). This is called a Fly Ball, and the Batter is Out.

d. He can miss. This is called a Strike. If a player gets three Strikes in one At Bat, he is Out.

e. He can hit the ball so that it comes down in Foul Territory, that is, outside the Foul Lines. This is a Foul Ball and counts as a Strike (unless the Batter has already had two strikes).

4. If he Bunts:

a. He can miss, for a Strike.

b. If he connects with the ball and it falls in Fair Territory, he runs.

c. If he connects with the ball and the catcher or another player catches it on the Fly, he is Out.

d. If he hits the ball foul, it is counted as a strike even if the batter already has two strikes. There are other special rules about Bunts and Foul Tips that need not concern us here.

5. If he does not swing or Bunt.

a. If the pitched ball reaches the Plate in the Strike Zone, it counts as a Strike, referred to as a Strike Called or Called Strike. The Umpire decides whether a ball is within the Strike Zone. The batter thus suffers a penalty for ignoring a good pitch.

b. If the ball is High, Low, Inside, or Outside, that is, not over the plate or above or below the Strike Zone and the Catcher gets control of the ball, it is called a Ball. If the batter has four Balls before getting three Strikes, he gets to advance to First Base. This is called a Base on Balls or a Walk. Thus the Pitcher may hurt the team by not throwing into the Strike Zone.

c. If the ball hits the Batter or his uniform despite his attempt to dodge it, the Batter may advance to first base.

d. The Batter may advance as the result of a Wild Pitch or a Passed Ball.
We can save that for later.

6. When a batter has a Count of 3 balls and 2 strikes, it is known as a Full Count (or a Three-Two Count). This is obviously a special moment because the next pitch is likely to be decisive.

7. The Batter’s action and the result are a Play. Once the Play is concluded, if the team At Bat does not have three outs, the Pitcher Pitches to the next Batter.

C. Getting on Base

1. In order to have a chance at Scoring a Run, a player must first get at least to First Base. Once the Batter has hit the ball or Walked, he is a Runner.

2. Only one Runner can occupy a base at a time, but Runners may occupy different bases simultaneously during an Inning.

3. Besides running on a Wild Pitch or Passed Ball (all fairly rare), a Batter can normally get on Base in two ways.

a. He can Walk, as mentioned above.

b. He can get Hit by a Pitched Ball (HPB), more common than one might think.

c. He can get a Hit, that is, hit the ball Fair so that he can reach a Base before the opposing team can get the ball there.

4. A batted ball that clears the infield and lands in the Outfield without being caught On the Fly usually results in a Hit.

a. When the nearest Outfielder catches a ball on the bounce, he immediately throws the ball to the appropriate Infielder to minimize advancement.

b. A ball falling in the near Outfield so that the Fielder runs forward to catch it on the bounce is usually a Single, or Base Hit, i.e., good for one base. A typical trajectory for a Base Hit is one that is straight and low that reaches the Outfield more quickly than a ball with a high arc. The fielder has less time to be in position to catch it on the Fly. The term for this is Line Drive.

e. A special case. A ball hit into Fair territory that goes Out of Play in any way other than by clearing the Outfield Wall awards the Batter and any Runners on base two Bases. This is known as an Automatic Double. Different fields have different sorts of hazards that might make the ball impossible to Field, so each field has in addition its own Ground Rules that may award a Ground-Rule Double.

Example 1: There is a man on Second Base. The Batter hits a ball deep into Right field. Before the Right Fielder can reach it, it lands inside the Foul Line but then bounces over the fence into the adjacent spectator stand. The ball is Out of Play. The Batter is allowed to advance to Second, and the Runner on Second goes Home for a run.

Example 2: The batter hits a ball to the Center Field fence but instead of going over or bouncing off, it lands in a gap between two fenceboards and is stuck. That is an Automatic Double. (This actually happened.)

4. Once on a base, the Runner anticipating the next Pitch might Take a Lead, that is, leave the base to have a head start toward the next. However, this is a risk because without a foot actually touching the Bag, he can be Tagged Out.

5. Note: A Runner may advance or a Batter remain at Bat because of an Error. An Error occurs any time a player in the field misplays the ball in a situation that, in the judgment of the official scorer, should have resulted in an Out. The distinction is important for the purpose of Statistics (an important consideration in professional ball, as I’ll have a word about later).

Example 3: A ball is hit into Left field just inside the Foul Line. The Left Fielder runs to catch it, but the ball bounces off his glove into the stands. The Scorer calls it an Error on the Left Fielder because he should have caught it. The Batter is entitled to Second Base as if it were an Automatic Double, but the Batter is not credited with a Hit.

Example 4: A ball is hit toward left field but outside the Foul Line. The Left Fielder runs to catch it, but he Muffs the catch by Dropping the Ball. The Foul Ball is counted as a Strike according to the normal rule, but the Fielder is not charged with an error because the Fumble did not result in any advantage for the other team.

Example 5: The Batter hits a Fly Ball into Right Field, but the Fielder misjudges its trajectory, and the ball hits the ground a few feet in front of him. The Batter has just enough time to get to Second Base. The Scorer calls it an Error because the Fielder was close enough and should have been in position to catch it.

D. Advancing

1. Once a Runner, say, Walks or hits a Single and is Safe On First, he may advance to Second Base, and thence to Third and Home, in the following ways.

a. Another batter may hit or Bunt the ball Fair and run toward First Base. In that case, the Runner on First is Forced, i.e., he must run to Second. But only if the ball lands. If the Batter has hit a Fly Ball, the Runner must return to First Base.

b. If a Runner is on Second Base with no one on First Base when a Batter hits a Fair Ball, he may run or not (depending on his assessment of chance of success). He is not Forced.

c. Another Batter may Walk, in which case a Runner on First advances without opposition because he is Forced. A Runner who is not Forced may not advance.

d. Another batter may be hit by a pitched ball, the result the same as a Walk.

e. At any time while the ball is In Play, typically when the Pitcher has the ball, if a runner thinks he can run and be Safe on the next base, he may attempt it. This is called Stealing a Base. It’s a big risk.

f. Runners may not run from a Base if a Batter hits a Fly Ball, until after the ball is caught. If a Runner is Off-Base at that moment, he must return and Tag Up or Touch Base before attempting to Run. Success in this case is rare unless the Fly lands far in the Outfield or unless the Fielder Fumbles the Ball or otherwise fails to throw it promptly to the Infield.

g. A Foul Ball that is not caught or any ball that goes off the Field into the Stands or is otherwise Out of Play is called a Dead Ball. Runners may not advance on a Dead Ball (except, of course, in the case of a Home Run or Automatic Double).

h. Runners may advance because of an Error, as in Examples 3 and 5, or in the following sequence:

Example 6: There are men on Second and Third. A Batter hits a ball low that bounces toward the Shortstop. Normally, the Shortstop would scoop up the Ball, but in the event the ball just grazes the Shortstop’s glove and bounces into Left Field, causing the ball to remain in play but out of control for a few crucial seconds until the Left Fielder, say, can retrieve it–enough time for the Batter and all the Runners to advance and one to score a run. Depending on the judgment of the Scorer, this might be an Error for the Shortstop or a Single for the Batter.

2. When Runners occupy all three Bases, we say the Bases are Loaded. This is another special moment, since the defending team is in a precarious position. A classic nail-biting situation arises with “Two outs and the Bases Loaded,” which is as much as to say, “Do-or-die.” Hitting a Home Run with the Bases Loaded, called a Grand Slam Home Run, scores four Runs and is the ultimate Play in baseball, equivalent to drawing a Royal Flush in poker.

E. Defending, or getting the Opponent Out

1. The object for the Fielders is to get three players Out without allowing any Runs. The object for the Pitcher is to get three outs without allowing any Hits or Walks.

2. We have discussed two ways of recording an Out:

a. Striking the Batter Out.

b. Catching a Fly Ball.

3. In addition, the Batter may Ground Out.

a. When a Batter hits the ball that lands on the Infield so that the Fielder catches it “On the Bounce,” it is called a “Ground Ball” or a “Grounder.”

b. If he is near the Base, the Fielder may put the Runner Out at first by simply stepping on the Bag.

c. He may throw the ball to another player who can.

d. Usually it is the First Baseman who makes the Out, but it could happen that the First baseman catches the Grounder at some distance from the Base. In such a case, the closest other player, the Pitcher or Second Baseman must run to the Base to receive the throw.

4. A Runner may be Forced Out on a Fielder’s Choice or a Double Play.

a. If a Runner is on First when the Batter hits a fair ball, he is Forced to run to Second. The Fielder who gets the ball may Tag Second Base with his foot or throw the ball to another Fielder who can, or he can throw to the First Baseman for an out at First. This is recorded on the scorecard as Fielder’s Choice.

b. If there are men on First and Second, both are forced, and the Fielder must decide which Runner to try take out. Again, Fielder’s Choice.

Example 7: There is a Runner safe at First. The Batter hits a ball that is Fielded by the Shortstop. The Runner on First is Forced to run to Second. The Shortstop throws the ball to the Second Baseman, who Tags his base and then throws the ball to the First Baseman. The first runner is almost sure to be Out at Second (Fielder’s Choice). If neither Runner gets to the Base before the ball does, they are both Out. This is called a Double Play. (With two men On, a “Triple Play” is also possible, but understandably rare.)

5. A Runner may be Tagged Out.

a. A Runner is Tagged, if an opponent manages to touch him with the ball or with a glove holding the ball.

b. A Runner attempting to reach a Base or Home Plate who is not Forced must be Tagged for an Out.

Example 8: A Batter hits a ball to Right Field with no men On. He runs easily to First and decides to try for Second. The Fielder retrieves the ball on the bounce and throws it to the Second Baseman, who has moved to the Base in expectation. In this situation, the Second Baseman must catch the throw and Tag the Runner before he can Dive or Slide to the base. Merely touching the base is not enough, since the Runner is not Forced at Second. Speed and accuracy are crucial, and that’s part of the beauty and excitement of a Play.

Example 9: There is a runner on Second Base with no outs. The Batter hits a grounder between First and Second Base, which is Fielded by the Second Baseman. The man on Second has a good chance of making it to Third, so he runs. The Second Baseman with the ball has two choices. He may throw to the First Baseman to get the Batter Out, in which case the Runner on Second has a better chance of advancing; or he may decide it’s more important to keep the Runner from reaching Third so he throws to the Third Baseman. The Third Baseman cannot just touch the Bag, but must Tag the Runner, since the Runner may try to run back to Second. In such a case the Batter is likely to be Safe at First. The other Runner may be Tagged or Safe at Third or he may try to run back to Second and be Safe or Tagged there.

Example 10: A Runner on Second waiting for the next Play, notices that the Pitcher with the ball is not paying attention when he takes a “Lead” off the base toward Third. The Pitcher notices, turns, and throws the ball to the Third Baseman who can then try toTag the advancing Runner. If the Runner then turns to run back to Second, the Third Baseman can throw the ball to the Shortstop or Second Baseman, whichever is more likely to be able to make the Tag. The two Fielders toss the ball back and forth, closing in until one of them Tags the Runner out, a procedure known as a Rundown. A Runner thus threatened may sometimes escape being tagged by Diving or Sliding under the ball to touch the base before the ball touches him (see Figure 6).

Figure 8. A dive into First Base. The Runner took a long lead, and the Pitcher threw to the First Baseman to tag him hout. The runner returns and is Safe because he is touching the bag while the ball is still in the air. (Licensed under GNU Free Documentation License 1.2)
Figure 9. A Runner attempts to slide to home. (Licensed under GNU Free Documentation License 1.2)

6. On the third Out, the Half is immediately ended, and all Runners on bases leave the field. If a Runner reaches Home Plate after the Out is made, he does not score a Run. (You can see an instance of this if you watch the Sample Game in Appendix II.)

F. Ending the Game

1. At the end of nine Innings, the game ends, and the team with the most Runs wins.

2. If the game is tied at the end of the 9th Inning, the game continues into Extra Innings. Innings continue to be added until one of the teams scores a run. If the run is scored in the Top of the Inning, the opposing team still has a chance to even the score in the Bottom. If the tie-breaking run is scored in the Bottom, the game is over.

3. The Record for extra Innings was set in 1984 when the Chicago White Sox beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7 to 6 in 25 Innings! This was the longest game in Major League history, and lasted 8 hours and 6 minutes. The crowd got their money’s worth. A Minor League game in 1981 between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings lasted a total of 33 Innings and took 8 hours and 25 minutes. It began on April 19 and was suspended after 32 Innings. The game was resumed on June 23 and was over in 18 minutes with a Single with Bases Loaded in the Bottom of the 33rd. That crowd did not get much entertainment that day.

IV. Skills and Specialties

A. Batting

1. Stance and Swing are important. The player knows he must adjust his swing to make the best connection with any kind of Pitch.

2. Strength, of course. A great Hitter has to have a powerful Swing, which calls for muscular arms and legs and powerful body movement.

3. Judgment: the Batter has to decide how to address a pitch. This requires a good eye and experience to judge how the Pitched ball is going to arrive.

4. Bunting: Batting is not only Swinging, but knowing how (and when) to Bunt skilfully is an asset.

5. “Switch Hitting”: some Batters are able to bat either right- or left-handed. Such versatility is clearly an asset.

6. Aim: a Batter obviously cannot control every aspect of a Swing or Bunt, but there are ways he can attempt to influence where the ball goes. Split-second differences in when the Batter takes a swing can determine whether a squarely hit ball goes to Left, Center, or Right Field.

7. Experience: Knowing the pitcher, his typical pitches and his strong and weak points is useful. Professional ball players study the other teams’ pitchers to have some idea what to expect.

B. Running

1. Speed: obviously, an especially fast Runner has an advantage, At Bat and in the Field.

2. Maneuvering, the ability to jump, swerve, dive or slide to reach a base and avoid being Tagged are essential.

3. Some players are especially skilled at Stealing bases. When one of them is on base, the defending team is likely to be nervous and especially watchful.

C. Pitching

1. A Pitcher is a specialist whose skill is crucial to any game.

a. He is the only player who is constantly active when in the field, putting great stress on his arm. Consequently, a Pitcher does not play every game, and a team must have a stable of several Pitchers.

b. He is the only player who can actually win a game single-handedly, by striking out every batter through nine Innings. As far as I know, this has never happened in Major League games. On the other hand, the so-called Perfect Game, in which no player at bat ever gets on base during a game, i.e., every batter is Out at every At Bat, has happened 23 times in Major League history. More common are a game in which a Pitcher does not allow a single hit (a No-Hitter or No Hit Game) and a game where the opposing team does not score a run (a Shutout).

c. A Pitcher’s objective is not to allow men on base. If there are a lot of Hits or Walks, it is prima facie the Pitcher’s fault. Pitchers are often replaced during the course of the game for just this reason.

2. Accordingly, a Pitcher does not simply throw the ball into the Strike Zone. He must develop a repertory of different Pitches or specialize in a kind of throw that is very difficult to hit. The worst thing he can do is throw the Batter balls that are easy to judge and thus easy to hit. Different Pitchers are famous for their mastery of particular deceptive Pitches. Without going into detail, here are a few common terms for Pitches that deceive or befuddle Batters.

a. The Fastball—a skilled pitcher is able to grip the ball in such a way and throw it with such power that it travels too fast for the Batter to judge and hit it accurately. A Fastball my travel at 100 mph or more.

b. A Changeup is a Pitch that is thrown to appear to the Batter like a Fastball but is released from the Pitcher’s hand earlier and with less force. The Batter cannot perceive that it is traveling more slowly than he expected until it is too late. He is likely to Swing too early.

c. A Breaking Ball is a Pitch that moves, or changes direction before it reaches the plate. How a ball Breaks, whether it Curves to the right or left or is a Sinkers or a Slider, depends on how the fingers grip the ball, how it is released, and whether the Pitcher is righthanded or lefthanded.

d. A Knuckleball is a special kind of Breaking Ball—a rare skill and a difficult trick to master. By gripping a ball with two fingers bent and nails against the surface of the ball, a Pitcher can deliver a throw that has no spin and thus travels slowly in an irregular course subject to air currents and other atmospheric phenomena in its path, making it very difficult to judge and hit. Very few pitchers attempt this because the risk is too great: if a Knuckler is not done with perfect accuracy, if there is a little spin, it simply becomes a straight, slow ball that is easy to see and hit.

3. Varying pitches, changing from a fastball to a Changeup or different kinds of Breaking Balls, is part of the strategy of keeping the Batter off guard. A Pitcher will throw differently to a Left-handed batter than to a Right-handed one. A Pitcher should also know a given Batter’s strengths and vulnerabilities and Pitch accordingly.

4. Signals: It is Important for the Catcher to know what kind of Pitch to expect so that he is prepared to catch it if it goes by the batter. Traditionally the catcher, and now often the Manager or a third-base Coach uses secret hand signals to communicate a suggested Pitch.

5. Illegal Pitches: from time to time in the history of baseball pitchers have devised tricks or stratagems that have been deemed unfair and outlawed. Examples would be sanding the ball to make it rough or applying saliva (Spitball) or hair products to make it slippery.

6. Pitchers are usually weak hitters and are often placed last in the Batting Lineup, or not allowed to run at all. They may often be replaced simply to have another player Go to Bat for them. Sometimes the motive is not to risk injury to the Pitcher’s arm. (See Appendix I: Designated Hitter.)

D. Fielding

1. In addition to running Speed, a good Fielder needs other skills and endowments.

2. A strong Throwing Arm, particularly Outfielders, to be able to heave a ball from Right Field, say, to the Infield or even to Home Plate to prevent a Run.

3. A trained Eye so that he can know where to be and where to put his glove to catch the ball.

4. Perfect Aim so the ball goes to the player who needs to catch it.

5. Quick Reflexes, since every second counts in the race against the Runner.

6. Attention and Judgment so that at any moment every player knows what the greatest danger is and to whom to throw the ball for the easiest or most important Out.

V. Conclusion

At this point there is not much more that needs to be said. If you have learned the above basics, you are equipped to follow and appreciate the play. The curious will find details, a few more terms, and special rules in Appendix I.

I recommend that you start by looking at some of the numerous compilations of plays to be found in YouTube postings. These are extracts from actual live telecasts with the announcers’ commentaries. Now you should be able not only to feel their excitement but also to understand what they are saying. Also, many of the plays are followed by replays” from different angles so you can really see what’s happening. You can find many collections just by searching “Baseball Plays,” but here are some really good ones:

Top 100 plays from 2018: Some really incredible displays Batting and Fielding:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-8zrTdvxSA&t=778s

Interesting Plays Compilation 2018 Year End: Some great plays and some spectacular errors:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2JR99KXkKc

Great Escapes, examples of Runners skillfully eluding Fielders:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwnhA7bR1oc

Hidden Ball Tricks, showing that the Runner always has to know where the ball is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzloezfHR-U

Afterword

From this exposition, I hope the reader can easily see how baseball differs from most other team sports in its basic structure and ethos. Football, soccer, baseketball, and hockey all involve equally matched teams vying to drive, throw, or carry a contested object into a goal. The control of the ball or puck shifts unpredictably from one team to another. Baseball, in contrast, is more about eluding a ball and winning a race. It pits one player, the Batter, against an opposing player, the Pitcher, and then as a Runner against nine opponents.

A second distinguishing feature of the game is that, unlike the other sports (with the partial exception of American football), it proceeds in many distinct segments. During many of these, most of the players may not actively participate, though they are all tensely attentive in case the action changes. Some Innings may be completed with only the Pitcher, the Batter, and the Catcher involved. In others, there are Plays in which the ball is Fielded by three or four players.

A third characteristic, and one of the great beauties of Baseball, is that there is no hierarchy of players. Each member of the team has chances to shine. As a batter and runner, each player has an equal opportunity single-handedly to turn the fortunes of the game. In his own defensive position, he is responsible for taking opponents Out or assisting teammates in the effort. To be sure, the Pitcher has a very special and crucial rôle, but that does not mean he is automatically the leading agent of the outcome of the game.

Fourth, though this is not unique to the game, it should be noted that baseball is not technically a “contact sport,” like American football, boxing, or rugby, where bodies deliberately collide and the adversary is physically overwhelmed. Of course, in the
rush of a play, there are collisions and injuries, but about the only intentional contact permitted is Tagging. Infielders do not block or tackle Runners, and Runners may not fend off or deliberately physically prevent Fielder from Tagging him or a Base.

In this respect, Baseball embodies quintessential American mythic values. It glorifies the lone individual confronting a concerted opposition, or two skilled and cunning adversaries squaring off against each other. It celebrates the spirit of unity and cooperation combined with clever strategy and allocation of talents that have gained the nation its position in the world. And it elevates skill and strategy above force and violence.

Finally, I cannot resist drawing another similitude, one that I find consistent with other concerns of this website. The reader may scoff, but I see many parallels between baseball and opera. Innings and halves are like acts and scenes, and plays are like the numbers that make up many operas. Each player, in the field, or at bat, has his aria moment, the pitcher and batter form a hostile duet, Infielders executing a play against runners are much like the operatic ensemble that occurs at a point of dramatic tension, and the wild celebration of the winning team recalls a triumphant choral finale. All of which is to say that there is much in baseball that is art.


APPENDIX I

I. Selected Fine Points and Other Topics Not Covered

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Even though I have argued that baseball is essentially simple and intuitive, there are also many puzzling situations or gray areas that need to be adjudicated. Accordingly, the czars of professioinal ball are constantly considering new rules to clear up ambiguities and make the game more “fair.” Here are some along with other miscellaneous points not dealt with in the preceding text.

A. General

1.Which Team Bats First? In Professional League ball, where Teams belong to certain Cities and play part of their games in the opponents’ stadiums, the rule is that the Visiting Team Leads off.

2. End of a Play. A play is over when all movement is stopped and the ball is returned to the Pitcher or when a ball is Dead and the Umpire tosses out a new ball. At that point the Pitcher and the Catcher are responsible for monitoring Runners to prevent Stolen Bases.

3. Dead Ball. A ball Out of Play is a Dead Ball. Runners cannot advance or be Tagged when a ball is Dead. In the case of a Foul Ball, Runners who started running expecting a Fair ball return without interference to where they were when the ball was Pitched. Any ball that goes off the grounds (over the fence, into the stands, etc.) is Dead, and no one moves. Exception: in the case of a Home Run, all the Runners get to run Home.

4. Foul Balls. A ball that lands or clears a wall in Foul Territory is Out of Play. However, if it lands near the Foul Line between Home Plate and First or Third Base and then rolls or bounces on its own back into Fair Territory, it is a Fair Ball, and the Batter must run. If the ball lands fair in the outfield and then bounces foul, it is still fair. Note: Foul Territory is outside the Foul Lines or Foul Pole. The Lines and Poles themselves are Fair.

5. Substitution Replacing one player with another. When a player is replaced, he no longer participates in the game. (Exception: See Designated Hitter)

a. In an Offensive Substitution, the Manager replaces a batter who is about to be Up with another batter (a Pinch Hitter). A substitute player (Pinch Runner) may replace a runner on base between plays. The new player may continue in the position of the replaced batter or runner on the field and in the batting order, or the manager may substitute still another player.

b. In a Defensive Substitution. A Manager may remove a Pitcher and assign another. A manager may also substitute one or more Fielders for any reason, including injury.

c. All substitutions are reported first to the chief Umpire, who informs the official scorer.

6. Interference. Technically, Interference is any action or situation in which a person, intentionally or not, or an extraneous object alters the normal course of the game. When the Umpire determines that Interference has occurred, the ball is automatically Dead. Play immediately stops, runners return to their bases, and the batter remains At Bat. Examples:

a. A fielder blocks a runner from reaching a base while waiting for the ball to be thrown.

b. The batter hits a ball that bounces off the Second Base Umpire’s shoe, changing direction.

c. The ball collides with any extraneous object or unauthorized person (or bird) within the bounds of the field. This would apply to the case of a spectator reaching from the Outfield Stands, say, and catching or deflecting a ball before it lands in fair territory or a Fielder catches it, or an unlucky gull colliding with a Fly Ball.

d. A Runner comes in contact with an Infielder, say, who is about to catch a ball, causing him to miss the catch. The Runner is Out.

7. Warning Track All stadiums now have a cleared strip of Dirt around the
Outfield Fence. Outfielders getting into position to catch a ball often find
themselves running backwards while they keep their eye on the trajectory. This
obviously can lead to high-speed collisions. The player knows to be careful
when he is no longer on the grass. Walls and Fences are mostly padded as well
for extra safety.

B. Some more advanced terms and rules

1. Incomplete or Checked Swing. If a batter begins to swing at a ball but halts and does not complete the arc with a follow-through (“Break his Wrists”), it is not considered a swing. If he does hit the ball, and it goes Fair, the ball is in play and he runs. If the ball goes by in the Strike Zone, it is a called strike. If outside the Strike Zone it is counted a Ball.

2. Foul Bunt. A ball hit Foul when a batter already has two strikes is not counted as a third. No matter how many Fouls he hits after two strikes, he is not Out. However, if the Bunt goes Foul and is not caught, it is always a Strike, even if it is the third.

3. Foul Tip. A pitched ball that merely grazes the Bat and continues past the batter is a Tip and ends by definition in Foul territory. If it goes directly into the Catcher’s mit counts as a Strike, rather than an automatic Out. As with a Foul Bunt, the Foul Tip can be a third strike resulting in the Batter’s being Out. However, a Foul Tip that is missed by the Catcher and lands Foul is a Dead Ball counted as an ordinary Foul.

4. Automatic Double and Ground Rule Double. This is what amounts to a two-Base walk awarded to the Batter who hits a Fair Ball that does not clear the fence for a Home Run but goes somehow goes out of play is an Automatic Double. There are differences in the design and characteristics of the Outfield Wall or Fence in different stadiums, some features of which may result in a ball’s being impossible to field. Each stadium has developed its own rules for awarding what is called a “Ground Rule Double.”

5. Sacrifice Fly or Bunt. A Batter hits a Fly or Bunt that results in his being out in order to allow a teammate who is on base to advance. The rule regarding Sacrifices is of interest only for statistical purposes, but it’s good to know the term.

6. Designated Hitter. Since Pitcher’s are often weak hitters the American League
has adopted a rule that allows a tenth player to Bat and Run in the Pitcher’s place throughout the game. Without this rule a Pitcher’s turn at bat could be taken only by a Pinch Hitter. (See next)

7. Pinch Hitter. A Pinch Hitter is a player who joins a game in progress specifically to Bat in place of another player, perhaps because of an injury or because at a crucial point the Manager decides the team needs a stronger hitter than the player who would normally be Up. The latter player then exits the game. The Pinch Hitter may remain in the game, taking the vacant position, or he may be replaced, in which case he cannot re-enter the game.

8. Pinch Runner. A Pinch Runner can be substituted between plays for a player on Base. The player whom he replaces is then out of the game, and the Pinch Runner can remain.

9. Baselines. A Runner is not required to stay strictly within the baselines. Between First and Second Bases, where the dirt is wider, he normally takes a rounded path. However, when running toward an opponent with the ball, he must follow the straight line from where he is to the Base. If he deviates more than three feet on either side of the line, he may be called Out. In other words, he cannot run around as he likes to avoid getting Tagged, but he may maneuver a little or leap over the Tagger to reach the base. Exception: on the approach to First Base there is a definite “Running Lane” marked within which the Runner must stay. If he strays from the lane so that he interferes with the First Baseman’s receiving the ball or touching the base, he will be called Out.

10. Infield Fly Rule. An interesting special rule provides that certain batted balls that rise high (Flies) and fall into the infield are declared automatic Outs whether or not they are caught. This rule only applies if there are men on First and Second or if the Bases are Loaded, i.e., when Runners are Forced, and if the catch would require no more than “Ordinary Effort.” Here’s why. Remember, a Runner cannot advance on a Fly until after it is caught. Therefore, if Runners on Base see a high Fly to the Infield that will be dead easy to catch, they will not start to run. This situation creates an irresistible temptation for the Infielder. If he deliberately doesn’t catch the Ball on the Fly but waits for it to bounce (or catches it and lets it drop), the Runners will suddenly have to start Running. The delay will make it much easier for the Infielders to make a Double or Triple Play. It is up to the Umpire to declare an Infield Fly, and the rule may be applied even if an Infielder catches a fly beyond the Infield—meaning he cannot drop it then pick it up to throw a Double Play. Also, under this Rule, the Batter is Out, but, as with any caught Fly, the ball is still In Play and the Runner on farthest Base is free to Tag Up and risk arriving Safe at the next Base.

11. Intentional Drop This is a complicated subject, but it’s useful to know about one possible scenario. Unless it is a case where the Infield Fly Rule applies, it is legal for a player to catch a ball on the Fly in the Outfield and then deliberately drop it. A runner on First Bases, expecting the Fly to be caught, does not start running. When the Fly is not legally caught, it is too late, and the Double Play is likely.

12. Sometimes it happens that the Pitcher is facing a very strong Hitter at a dangerous moment—say there are two outs and a man on Second Base—and he and the Manager would prefer to skip this Batter and pitch to the next one instead. The solution is to throw an Intentional Base on Balls or Intentional Walk, where the Pitcher deliberately throws balls enough Outside that the Batter will not swing but that the Catcher can catch without stepping out of his Box. Usually, in fact, the intention is made clear to all, and the Batter waits in the Batter’s Box for the four pitches to complete. He is allowed to try to hit them, but rarely does. Nowadays, in fact, it is enough just to tell the Umpire of the intention to throw a Base on Balls, and the Batter can go to First without any pitches thrown. Thus the team puts another man on base, but reduces the greater risk of the Batter making a hit and driving in a Run.

C. Miscellaneous Details

1. Uniforms consist of a loose short-sleeved blouse (which may be worn over a long-sleeved jersey), loose belted trousers gathered above the ankle, high socks, leather shoes with cleats, and a characteristic cap with a short bill. The Catcher in addition wears a face mask, padded chest and neck protectors, and shin guards. Teams wear more colorful uniforms with white trousers when playing at their home stadiums (Home Games) and gray ones when Visiting, or Away.

2. The Bat is a solid piece of hardwood, usually ash, thick at one end and tapered, with a knob at the narrow end, where the player grasps it. Bats are of different lengths, between 34 and 42 inches, and of different weights. There may be tape wrapped around the narrow end to make it easier to hold tightly.

3. The Glove: all players while In the Field wear a single padded glove on one hand to aid in catching the ball. If a player throws with his right hand, he wears the glove on his left. Pitchers, First Basemen, other Infielders,and Outfielders wear gloves of different designs. Their purpose is to protect the hand and extend its reach, allowing the ball to be caught in webbing between the fingers as well as the palm of the glove. The Catcher’s Mitt is a more heavily padded round glove without flexible finger sleeves.

4. The Ball used in professional baseball is the Hardball, about nine inches in circumference, made of yarn wound tightly around a cork or rubber center and covered with white leather stitched with red cord. [A variant of baseball called Softball, meant to be less dangerous and easier to play with less skill, uses a ball about 11 or 12 inches in circumference and is played on a smaller diamond with modified rules.]

II. Professional Leagues and Teams

There are many Teams in countries that play baseball on different levels. Besides professional clubs, there are local amateur leagues, scholastic teams, and Little Leagues. Professional Teams in the US are associated with specific cities and are grouped into Major and Minor Leagues. This section is concerned with the North American Major Leagues.

A. Major and Minor Leagues

1. The Major Leagues are the most important and include 28 US and two Canadian teams, also called “Clubs.” The two Major Leagues are the American League and the National League. Each League has three Divisions, East, Central, and West, consisting of five teams each.

2. The Minor League teams belong to smaller cities and smaller budgets and audiences. The highest ranked Minor League teams act as Farm Teams for a specific Major, where players are scouted and may be groomed for promotion.

B. The Major League Season

1. In the course of the “Baseball Season,” which now begins in March and ends in October, all the teams vie for the Championship.

2. Teams within a Division play one another as well as other teams in the League. The season’s schedule is preset so that each team plays some games at their Home stadium and some at the opponents’ stadium. Each team now plays 19 games against the other four teams in the Division, or 76 games total. Each also plays 6 or 7 games against each team from the other two Divisions, or 66 more games.

3. At the end of this Regular Season begins the Postseason, in which each league first stages a complex elimination tournament to decide the league Champions, the team that will then go on to play the other League’s team in the World Series.

4. The World Series is a best of four-out-of-seven contest between the two top teams. This is the culmination of the season and may be the most exciting baseball one will ever see.

5. Near the middle of the season there is a special exhibition match called “The All-Star Game,” in which each league forms a team consisting of top players from its own clubs. In 2019 the game will be held on July 7 in Cleveland.

III. Statistics

As is the case with other sports, statistics on all aspects of play have been collected throughout the decades and form the backbone of baseball history and lore. They are also an objective public record that affects a player’s reputation and career prospects. Official scorekeepers at every league game record attributes of every play and award or charge them to players. Here are the most important:

A. For Batters

  1. At Bats
  2. Hits—also enumerating Singles, Doubles, and Triples
  3. Batting Average (Hits ÷ At Bats)
  4. Runs Batted In
  5. Strike-outs
  6. Sacrifices
  7. Home Runs
  8. Bases on Balls

B. For Pitchers

  1. Strike-outs
  2. Wild Pitches
  3. Hits
  4. Home Runs
  5. Outs
  6. Assists
  7. Errors

C. For Fielders and Catchers

  1. Outs
  2. Assists
  3. Errors
  4. Passed Balls (for Catchers)

APPENDIX II.

A Sample Game Complete

The Decisive Seventh Game of the 2014 World Series
between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals
Played at Kaufman Stadium, Kansas City

Here is an actual game posted to YouTube without commercial breaks and with commentaries of the sportscasters and occasional contributions by other observers. Below is my breakdown keyed to the video timer, explaining each play using the terminology you have learned.

2 hrs, 36 min, 50 sec.

The Lineup, the batters and their fielding positions

San Francisco Giants (Visiting)

  1. Gregor Blanco (CF) bats left-handed
  2. Joe Panik (2B) bats Left-handed
  3. Buster Posey (C) bats right-handed
  4. Pablo Sandoval (3B) bats left-handed (“Clean-up” batter)
  5. Hunter Pence (RF) bats right-handed
  6. Brandon Belt (1B) bats left-handed
  7. Tim Hudson (P) Starting–Michael Morse (DH) bats right-handed
  8. Brandon Crawford (SS) bats left-handed
  9. Juan Perez (LF) bats right-handed

Kansas City Royals (At Home)

  1. Alcides Escobar (SS) bats right-handed
  2. Nori Aoki (RF) bats left-handed
  3. Lorenzo Cain (CF) bats right-handed
  4. Eric Hosmer (1B) bats left-handed (“Clean-up” batter)
  5. Jeremy Guthrie (P) Starting–Billy Butler (DH) bats right-handed
  6. Alex Gordon (LF) bats left-handed
  7. Salvador Perez (C) bats right-handed
  8. Mike Moustakas (3B) bats left-handed
  9. Omar Infante (2B) bats right-handed

The Game

FIRST INNING
TOP HALF

San Francisco Giants (visiting team) at bat
Jeremy Guthrie (Right-Hander) Pitching

1. Gregor Blanco (Center Fielder) batting left-handed
1:41 1st pitch, batter doesn’t swing, umpire calls Strike 1. 0-1
2.05 2nd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 0-2
2:30 3rd pitch: Over the plate, but low, Ball 1 1-2
2:45 Pitcher “shakes off” the sign from the catcher, then nods
2.49 4th pitch: Foul ball out of play, same count 1-2
3:15 5th pitch: High fly ball to Center Field, easy catch by Cain (CF) Out 1

2. Joe Panik (2nd Baseman) batting left-handed
3:58 1st pitch: Low, batter stops his swing, Ball 1 1-0
4:15 2nd Pitch: Batter doesn’t swing, Strike 1 Called 1-1
4:32 3rd Pitch: Grounder between 1st and 2nd, fielded by Hosmer (1B)
4:37 Guthrie (P) runs to 1st Base to catch the throw, tags the base Out 2

3. Buster Posey (Catcher) batting right-handed
5:17 1st Pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
5:42 2nd Pitch: Batter hits the ball, breaks the bat, a grounder
5:45 Moustakis (3B) dives to catch it on the bounce !!, throws to Hosmer (1B) in time for the Out. Out 3
Side Retired in order

[Replays]

BOTTOM HALF
Kansas City Royals (home team) at Bat
Tim Hudson
(Right Hander) pitching

6:33 Hudson steps to the mound

4. Alcides Escobar (Shortstop) batting right-handed
7:03 1st pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
7:25 2nd Pitch: Low, ball 1 1-1
7:49 3rd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 1-2
8:15 4th pitch: Swings, hits foul, same count 1-2
8:50 5th pitch: Low and outside, ball 2 2-2
9:12 6th pitch: Batter hits a high Fly Ball to Left Field
9:16 Perez (LF) makes the catch Out 1

5. Nori Aoki (Right Fielder) batting left-handed
9.53 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
10:11 2nd pitch: Low, batter stops his swing, Ball 1 1-1
10:32 3rd pitch: hit Foul, out of play, Strike 2 1-2
11:03 4th pitch: very low, batter stumbles, Ball 2 2-2
11:42 5th pitch: Outside, Ball 3 (Full Count) 3-2
12:14 6th pitch: Low and inside, Ball 4 Walk

Aoki on 1st Base, 1 Out

6. Lorenzo Cain (Center Fielder) batting right-handed
12:39 1st pitch: Inside, Ball 1 1-0
12:27 Aoki takes a lead off base
12:30 Hudson (P) throws to Belt (1B), but Aoki returns safe
13:50 2nd pitch: Inside, Ball 2 2-0
14:20 3rd pitch: Grounder hit to Sandoval (3B), who
14:23 Throws to Panik (2B), Forced out for Aoki Out 2
14:25 Panik throws to Belt (1B), but not in time. Cain is Safe on Fielder’s Choice[

Replays]

Cain on 1st Base, 2 Outs

7. Eric Hosmer (1st Baseman) batting left-handed (Clean-up batter)
15:16 1st Pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
15:47 2nd Pitch: High and inside, Ball 1 1-1
16:15 3rd pitch: Strike 2 called 1-2
16:52 4th pitch: Cain starts running, Strike 3 called Strike-out Out 3
Cain reaches 2nd Base, but but the Strikeout ends the Inning
Side Retired, one man left on

SECOND INNING
TOP HALF

Giants at Bat
Guthrie pitching

1. Pablo Sandoval (3rd Baseman) batting left-handed
17:19 1st pitch: Strike 1 Called 0-1
17:34 2nd pitch: Hit by pitched ball (HPB), goes to 1st base HPB

Sandoval on 1st Base

2. Hunter Pence (Right Fielder) batting right-handed
18:11 1st pitch: Foul back out of play, Strike 1 0-1
18:32 2nd pitch: Strike 2 called 0-2
18:56 3rd pitch: Grounder gets past the infielders into Left Field Single
19:01 Rolls to left Fielder, both runners Safe

[Replays]

Sandoval on 2nd Base, Pence on 1st

3. Brandon Belt (1st Baseman) batting left-handed
19:44 1st pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
20:02 2nd pitch: High, Ball 1 1-1
20:23 3rd pitch: Hit Foul to the right 1-2
20:54 4th pitch: High, Ball 2 2-2
21:17 5th pitch: Hit to Right Field, Aoki (RF) throws to Infante (2B) Single
But Sandoval is Safe at 3rd, Pence at 2nd

[Replays]

Bases loaded, Sandoval on 3rd, Pence on 2nd, Belt on 1st —NO OUTS

4. Michael Morse—Designated Hitter for Hudson, batting right-handed
22:14 1st pitch: hit Foul, Strike 1 0-1
22:40 2nd pitch: Fly ball to Right Field, caught by Aoki (RF) Sacrifice Fly Out 1
22:46 Sandoval tags up and runs home, Pence tags and goes to 3rd RUN
Belt stays on 1st

Score 1-0, Pence on 3rd, Belt on 1st, 1 Out

5. Brandon Crawford (Shortstop) batting left-handed
23:34 1st pitch: low, Ball 1 1-0
23:54 2nd pitch: low, Ball 2 2-0
24:22 3rd pitch: fly ball to Center Field, caught by Cain (CF) Sacrifice fly Out 2
24:32 Pence tags up and runs home RUN

Score 2-0, Belt on 1st Base, 2 outs

6. Juan Perez (Left Fielder) batting right-handed
25:11 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
25:25 2nd pitch: Hit foul into Left Field stands, Strike 2 0-2
25:52 3rd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 3 Strike-out Out 3
Side retired with 1 man on

SCORE: Giants 2, Royals 0

BOTTOM HALF
Royals at Bat
Tim Hudson pitching

1. Billy Butler (Designated Hitter) for Guthrie
26:25 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
26:45 2nd pitch: Ground ball past Crawford (SS) into Center Field, picked up by Blanco (CF), Butler safe on 1st with a Base Hit Single

Butler on 1st base, no Outs

2. Alex Gordon (Left Fielder) batting left-handed
27:35 1st pitch: Hit far into left Center Field (Single )picked up on the bounce by Blanco (CF), throws to Pence (RF), who throws to Posey (C), but Butler is Safe at Home RUN

Score 2-1, Gordon on 1st Base, no Outs

3. Salvador Perez (catcher) batting right-handed
28.39 1st pitch: hit on the left leg by the ball above the knee, Perez goes to 1st base HPB

Gordon on 2nd Base, Perez on 1st, no Outs
Long pause

4. Mike Moustakas (3rd Baseman) batting left-handed
32.20 Pitcher checks runners on base
32.23 1st pitch: low, Ball 1 1-0
32:58 2nd pitch: hits a high fly to Left Field, caught by Perez (LF) Out 1
33:06 Butler tags and runs to 3rd base, Moustakas dives to the Bag before Perez gets to Sandoval (3B), so Moustakas is safe Sacrifice Fly
[ Replays]

Butler on 3rd Base, Perez on 1st, 1 out

5. Omar Infante (2nd Baseman) batting right-handed
34:02 1st pitch: Breaks outside, but Strike 1 called 0-1
34:35 2nd pitch: high fly ball to Center Field, Hudson (P) runs to the 3rd base line Sacrifice Fly Out 2
34.43 Butler tags and runs home, Belt (1B) moves in to catch the throw, but the ball bounces off his glove, and Butler scores the run. RUN
[Replay]

Perez still on 1st, 1 out
Score 2-2

6. Alcides Escobar (SS) batting right-handed
35:33 1st pitch: Hits a low ball that bounces off Sandoval’s (3B) glove into the Outfield to Juan Perez (LF). Single
Salvador Perez advances to 2nd

Perez on 2nd, Escobar on 1st
Pitcher substitution: Hudson is replaced by Jeremy Affeldt (left-hander)

7. Nori Aoki (Right Fielder) batting left-handed
37.17 1st pitch: low and outside, Ball 1 1-0
37:40 2nd pitch: ball hit to 2nd base, where Crawford (SS) catches it on the bounce standing on the Base, putting Escobar out. Out 3
Side retired with 2 men on base, 2 runs

THIRD INNING
SCORE: Giants 2, Royals 2

TOP HALF
San Francisco Giants at Bat
Guthrie pitching (Right hander)

1. Gregor Blanco (Center Fielder) batting left-handed
38:05 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
38:22 2nd pitch: Swing and miss, Strike 2 0-2
38:40 3rd pitch: short grounder hit to Guthrie (P), throw to Hosmer (1B) Out 1

2. Joe Panik (2nd Baseman) batting left-handed
39:16 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
39:32 2nd pitch: Swing and miss, Strike 2 0-2
39:56 3rd pitch: low and inside, Ball 1 1-2
40:16 4th pitch: low, Ball 2 2-2
40:39 Guthrie shakes off sign
40:42 5th pitch: Strike 3 called Out 2

3. Buster Posey (Catcher) batting right-handed
41:14 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
41:29 2nd pitch: Foul ball 0-2
41:52 3rd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 3 Out 3
Side retired

BOTTOM HALF
Kansas City Royals at Bat
Affeldt pitching (Left Hander)

1. Lorenzo Cain (Center Fielder) batting right-handed
42:22 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
42:41 2nd pitch: not quite in the Strike Zone, Ball 1 1-1
43:00 3rd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 1-2
43:23 4th pitch: Foul ball to the left 1-2
43:51 5th pitch: Foul ball again 1-2
43:18 6th pitch: Foul ball again 1-2
44:45 7th pitch: Outside, ball 2 2-2
45:12 8th pitch: Hit to Right Field, Pence (RF) catches it on the bounce for a Base Hit Single

Cain on 1st base, no outs

2. Eric Hosmer (1st Baseman) batting left-handed
46:02 1st pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
46:44 Affeldt (P) throws to Belt (1B) to hold Cain on Base
47:09 Pitcher throws to Belt again
**47:32 2nd pitch: Grounder hit up the middle, brilliant flying catch by Panik (2B), Short Stop covers 2nd base, gets the throw to get Cain out on a Fielder’s choice, Out 1
then throws to Belt (1B) for a double play. Hosmer is called safe, but it is very, very close, so the call is CHALLENGED. The Replay Umpire studies the video footage. The call is reversed: Hosmer Out Double Play, Out 2

No men on, 2 outs

3. Billy Butler (Designated Hitter) batting right-handed
51:55 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
52.13 2nd pitch: Ball 1 1-1
52:35 3rd pitch: Outside, Ball 2 2-1
53:00 4th pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 2-2
53:37 5th pitch: Foul ball, count stays the same 2-2
54:05 6th pitch: Low and outside, Ball 3, Full Count 3-2
54:34 7th pitch: Foul ball 3-2
55:06 8th pitch: Foul ball again 3-2
55:43 9th pitch: Grounder hit Crawford (SS), throw to Belt (1B) in time Out 3
Side retired

FOURTH INNING
SCORE Giants 2, Royals 2

TOP HALF
San Francisco Giants batting
Jeremy Guthrie pitching (right-hander)

1. Pablo Sandoval (3rd Baseman) batting left-handed
56:08 1st pitch: Strike called 0-1
56:25 2nd pitch: Outside, Ball 1 1-1
56:41 3rd pitch: Ball 2 2-1
56:57 4th pitch: Grounder hit to 2nd baseman, who slips and doesn’t throw fast and far enough to get Sandoval out at 1st. Single

Sandoval on 1st Base, no outs

2. Hunter Pence (Right Fielder) batting right-handed
57:43 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
58:05 2nd pitch: Inside, Ball 1 1-1
58:25 3rd pitch: Line drive hit to Center Field, picked up on one bounce, both runners safe on base. Single

Sandoval on 2nd Base, Pence on 1st, no outs

59:00 Coach conferring with Guthrie, but he stays in for now.

3. Brandon Belt (1st Baseman) batting left-handed
59:49 1st pitch: Strike 1 called (over the inside corner of the plate) 0-1
1:00:10 2nd pitch: high and outside, Ball 1 1-1
1:00:36 3rd pitch: high fly ball to Left Field caught (sacrifice fly) Out 1
1:00:43 Sandoval tags and runs to 3rd base. Throw to 3rd is too late.

Sandoval on 3rd Base, Pence on 1st, 1 out
Guthrie out, new pitcher Kelvin Herrera (right-hander)

4. Michael Morse (Designated Hitter) batting right-handed
1:02:02 1st pitch: Foul ball, Strike 1 0-1
1:02:32 2nd pitch: Foul ball, Strike 2 0-2
1:03:03 3rd pitch: Base hit to Right field, picked up on 3rd bounce. Single
Pence runs to 3rd, Sandoval scores RUN

Score Giants 3- Royals 2
Pence on 3rd Base, Morse on 1st, 1 Out

5. Brandon Crawford (Shortstop) batting left-handed
1:04:05 1st pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
1:04:28 2nd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 0-2
1:04:58 3rd pitch: Foul ball, off to the right 0-2
1:05:36 4th pitch: Low and Inside, Ball 1 1-2
1:06:03 5th pitch: Strike 3 Called, Strike-out Out 2

6. Juan Perez (Left Fielder) batting right-handed
1:06:39 1st pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
1:07:03 2nd pitch: Grounder to Escobar (SS), easy throw to Hosmer (1B)
for the out. Out 3
Side retired, 3 hits, 1 run, one man left on base

BOTTOM HALF
Royals Batting
Affeldt pitching (left-hander)

1. Alex Gordon (Left Fielder) batting left-handed
1:07:25 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
1:07:38 2st pitch: Low, Ball 1 1-1
1:08:00 3nd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 1-2
1:08:29 4th pitch: Low, passes Posey (C), Ball 2 2-2
1:08:56 5th pitch: Pitch hits Gordon on the right shoulder, goes to 1st. HPB

Gordon on 1st Base, no outs

2. Salvador Perez (Catcher) batting right-handed
1:09:49 1st pitch: Grounder to Panic (2B), throws to Crawford (SS), who tags 2nd Base to put Gordon Out, Out 1
then throws to Belt (1B) to put Perez Out–Double Play Out 2

No men on, 2 outs

3. Mike Moustakas (3rd Base) batting left-handed
1:10:32 1st pitch: Foul ball to the right, Strike 1 0-1
1:10:57 2nd pitch: Outside, Ball 1 1-1
1:11:19 3rd pitch: Strike 2 called 1-2
1:11:39 4th pitch: Low, Ball 2 2-2
1:12:11 5th pitch: Grounder to Sandoval (3B), throws to Hosmer (1B) in time Out 3
Side retired in order, no hits, no men left on

FIFTH INNING
SCORE: Giants 3, Royals 2

TOP HALF
Giants at bat
Herrera pitching

1. Gregor Blanco (Center Fielder) batting left-handed
1:12:37 1st pitch: Long fly ball to Left Field, caught by Gordon (LF) Out 1

2. Joe Panik (2nd Baseman) batting left-handed
1:13:16 1st pitch: Attempted bunt, Foul Tip, Strike 1 0-1
1:13:46 2nd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 0-2
1:14:17 3rd pitch: Foul ball to the left 0-2
1:14:43 4th pitch: Foul just outside the 1st baseline 0-2
1:15:26 5th pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 3 Strike-out Out 2

3. Buster Posey (Catcher) batting right-handed
1:16:01 1st pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
1:16:22 2nd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 0-2
1:16:52 3rd pitch: Outside, Ball 1 1-2
1:17:12 4th pitch: Strike 3 called Strike-out Out 3
Side retired in order

BOTTOM HALF
Royals at bat
New pitcher: Madison Baumgarner (left-hander)

1. Omar Infante (2nd Baseman) batting right-handed
1:18:16 1st pitch: Outside, Ball 1 1-0
1:18:38 2nd pitch: Strike 1 called (inside corner) 1-1
1:19:04 3rd pitch: Drive hit to deep right field, fielded by Pence (RF) on one bounce Single

Infante on 1st Base, no outs

2. Alcides Escobar (Short Stop) batting right-handed
1:19:53 1st pitch: Low, Ball 1 1-0
1:20:23 Baumgarner throws to Belt (1B) to hold Infante
1:20:43 2nd pitch: Low and inside, Batter almost hit (“brushback pitch”), ball 2 2-0
1:21:13 3rd pitch: Sacrifice bunt, Escoarout at 1st so Infante can reach second Out 1

Infante on 2nd Base, 1 out

3. Nori Aoki (Right Fielder) batting left-handed
1:22:45 1st pitch: Outside, Ball 1 1-0
1:23:07 2nd pitch: Low and Outside, Ball 2 2-0
1:23:39 3rd pitch: Strike 1 Called 2-1
1:24:01 4th pitch: Low fly ball to far left, running catch by Perez (LF) Out 2 !!

Infante still on 1st Base, 2 outs

4. Lorenzo Cain (Center Fielder) batting right-handed
1:24:54 1st pitch: Strike 1 Called 0-1
1:25:19 2nd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 0-2
1:25:43 3rd pitch: Ball 1 1-2
1:26:07 4th pitch: Foul ball 1-2
1:26:40 5th pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 3 Strike-out Out 3
Side retired, one man left on

SIXTH INNING
TOP HALF
Giants at bat

Herrera pitching

1. Pablo Sandoval (3rd Baseman) batting left-handed
1:27:03 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
1:27:24 2nd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 0-2
1:27:53 3rd pitch: Very low, Ball 1 1-2
1:28:20 4th pitch: Line Drive to Gordon (LF), caught rolling Single

Sandoval on 1st Base, no outs

2. Hunter Pence (3rd Baseman) batting right-handed
*1:29:00 1st pitch: Grounder to Escobar (SS), who throws to Infante (2B) to force Sandoval out Out 1
then Infante throws to Hosmer (1B) in time for a Double Play Out 2

No men on Base, 2 outs

3. Brandon Belt (1st Baseman) batting left-handed
1:29:59 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
1:30:18 2nd pitch: Foul ball to the right, Strike 2 0-2
1:30:52 3rd pitch: Ball 1 1-2
1:31:25 4th pitch: Hit low into Right Field, caught on second bounce by Aoki (RF), Belt safe on 1st. Single

Belt on 1st base, 2 outs

4. Michael Morse (Designated Hitter) batting right-handed
1:32:15 1st pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
1:32:41 2nd pitch: Foul ball back, Strike 2 0-2
1:33:13 3rd pitch: Strike 2 Calles Strike-out Out 3
Side retired, one man left on

Score Giants 3, Royals 2

BOTTOM HALF
Royals at Bat
Baumgarner pitching

1. Eric Hosmer (1st Baseman) batting left-handed
1:33:37 1st pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
1:33:55 2nd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 0-2
1:34:15 3rd pitch: Pop up fly to shallow Center Field, Crawford (SS) runs back to catch it. Out 1

2. Billy Butler (Designated Hitter) batting right-handed
1:34:59 1st pitch: Outside, Ball 1 1-0
1:35:16 2nd pitch: Inside corner, Strike 1 1-1
1:35:41 3re pitch: Strike 2 called 1-2
1:36:03 4th pitch: High, Ball 2 2-2
1:36:23 5th pitch: Foul ball to the left 2-2
1:37:11 6th pitch: Fly ball to shallow Center field, caught by Cain (CF) Out 2

3. Alex Gordon (Left Fielder) Batting left-handed
1:37:56 1st pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
1:38:14 2nd pitch: Fly ball foul to the left, three players run to catch it, but it lands out of play in the Stands 0-2
1:38:53 3rd pitch: High fly to Center Field, caught by Cain (CF) Out 3
Side retired in order

SEVENTH INNING
SCORE: Giants 3, Royals 2

TOP HALF
Giants at Bat
New pitcher Wade Davis (Right-hander)

1. Brandon Crawford (Shortstop) batting left-handed
1:39:14 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
1:39:34 2nd pitch: Inside, Ball 1 1-1
1:39:55 3rd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 1-2
1:40:19 4th pitch: Low, Ball 2 2-2
1:40:46 5th pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 3 Strike-out Out 1

2. Juan Perez (Left Fielder) batting right-handed
1:41:20 1st pitch: Outside, Ball 1 1-0
1:41:41 2nd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 1-1
1:42:01 3rd pitch: Swings and tips Foul, Strike 2 1-2
1:42:28 4th pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 3 Strike-out Out 2

3. Gregor Blanco (Center Fielder) batting left-handed
1:43:06 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
1:43:25 2nd pitch: Attempted bunt, but low, Ball 1 1-1
1:43:51 3rd pitch: Strike 2 called 1-2
1:44:20 4th pitch: Outside, Ball 2 2-2
1:44:45 5th pitch: Inside, Ball 3, Full Count 3-2
1:45:11 6th pitch: Grounder to Escobar (SS), throw to Hosmer (1B) in time Out 3
Side retired in order

BOTTOM HALF
Royals at Bat
Baumgarner pitching

1. Salvador Perez (Catcher) batting right-handed
1:45:45 1st pitch: Strike 1 Called 0-1
1:46:00 2nd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 0-2
1:46:27 3rd pitch: High fly to Right Field, caught by Pence (RF) Out 1

2. Mike Moustakas (3rd Baseman) batting left-handed
1:47:07 1st pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
1:47:34 2nd pitch: Strike 2 called 0-2
*1:47:53 3rd pitch: Grounder to Sandoval (3B), throw to Hosmer (1B) !!, out Out 2

3. Omar Infante (2nd Baseman) batting right-handed
1:48:44 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
1:49:04 2nd pitch: Foul ball to the left, Strike 2 0-2
1:49:36 3rd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 3 Strike-out Out 3
Side retired in order

EIGHTH INNING
SCORE: Giants 3, Royals 2

TOP HALF
Giants at Bat
Davis pitching

1. Joe Panik (2nd Baseman) batting right-handed
1:49:52 1st pitch: Foul ball to the back, Strike 1 0-1
1:50:13 2nd pitch: High, Ball 1 1-1
1:50:32 3rd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1-2
1:50:57 4th pitch: Outside corner, Strike 3 called Strike-out Out 1

2. Buster Posey (Catcher) batting right-handed
1:51:30 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
1:51:50 2nd pitch: Grounder to Infante (2B), throw to Hosmer (1B) in time Out 2

3. Pablo Sandoval (3rd Baseman) batting left-handed
1:52:38 1st pitch: Strike 1 called 0-1
1:52:52 2nd pitch: Low ball hit past the Shortstop into far Left Field !!, retrieved by Gordon (LF), but Sandoval makes it to 2nd Double

Sandoval on 2nd Base, 2 outs

4. Mike Pence (Right Fielder) batting right-handed
1:54:09 1st pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
1:54:35 2nd pitch: Grounder to Panik (2B), throw to Hosmer (1B) in time Out 3
Side retired, one man left on

BOTTOM HALF
Royals at Bat
Baumgarner pitching

1. Alcides Escobar (Short Stop), batting right-handed
1:55:09 1st pitch: Outside, Ball 1 1-0
1:55:29 2nd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 1-1
1:55:55 3rd pitch: Swings, foul tip, bouncing off Posey (C), Strike 2 1-2
1:56:32 4th pitch: Outside, Ball 2 2-2
1:56:50 5th pitch: Escobar fails to check swing in time, Strike 3 Strike-out Out 1

2. Nori Aoki (Right Fielder) batting left-handed
1:57:36 1st pitch: Inside “Brushback”, Ball 1 0-1
1:57:56 2nd pitch: Ouside corner, Strike 1 1-1
1:58:13 3rd pitch: Hit foul out of play, Strike 2 1-2
1:58:41 4th pitch: Groundersto Crawford (SS), who throws to Belt (1B) in time Out 2

3. Lorenzo Cain (Center Fielder) batting right-handed
1:59:25 1st pitch: Low and Inside, Ball 1 1-0
1:59:44 2nd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 1-1
2:00:06 3rd pitch: Strike 2 called 1-2
2:00:26 4th pitch: Foul ball out of play 1-2
2:00:53 5th pitch: Foul ball out of play 1-2
2:01:20 6th pitch: Low, Ball 2 2-2
2:01:48 7th pitch: High Fly to shallow Center Field caught by Panik (2B) Out 3
Side retired in order

NINTH INNING
SCORE: Giants 3, Royals 2

TOP HALF
Giants at Bat
New pitcher, Greg Holland (right-hander)

1. Brandon Belt (1st Baseman) batting left-handed
2:02:17 1st pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
2:02:39 2nd pitch: Low, Ball 1 1-1
2:03:01 3rd pitch: Grounder to Infante (2B), throw to Hosmer (1B) in time Out 1

2. Michael Morse (Designated Hitter) batting right-handed
2:03:47 1st pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
2:04:09 2nd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 0-2
2:04:45 3rd pitch: Outside, Ball 1 1-2
2:05:10 4th pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 3 Strike-out Out 2

3. Joe Panik (2nd Baseman) batting left-handed
2:05:50 1st pitch: Outside, Ball 1 1-0
2:06:11 2nd pitch: Ball 2 2-0
2:06:31 3rd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 2-1
2:06:55 4th pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 2-2
2:07:22 5th pitch: Low, catcher drops ball, Ball 3 Full Count 3-2
2:07:51 6th pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 3 Strike-out Out 3
Side retired

BOTTOM HALF
Royals at Bat
Baumgarner pitching

1. Eric Hosmer (1st Base) batting left-handed
2:08:42 1st pitch: Low and Outside, Ball 1 1-0
2:09:12 2nd pitch: Ball 2 2-0
2:09:30 3rd pitch: Strike 1 Called 2-1
2:09:50 4th pitch: Foul left out of play, Strike 2 2-2
2:10:21 5th pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 3 Strike-out Out 1

2. Billy Butler (Designated Hitter) batting right-handed
2:10:57 1st pitch: High, Ball 1 1-0
2:11:13 2nd pitch: Strike 1 called 1-1
2:11:31 3rd pitch; Pop fly Foul, but caught by Belt (1B) Out 2

3. Alex Gordon (Left Fielder) batting left-handed
2:12:20 1st pitch: Pop-up Foul, back out of play, Strike 1 0-1
2:12:46 2nd pitch: Hit to deep Center Field, bounces, then bounces off Blanco’s (CF) Glove, rolls to the wall, Perez (LF) kicks it away, so Gordon gets to 3rd Base before the ball is thrown in Triple !!

Gordon on 3rd Base, POTENTIAL TYING RUN

4. Salvador Perez (Catcher) batting right-handed
2:13:59 1st pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 1 0-1
2:14:21 2nd pitch: High, Ball 1 1-1
2:14:45 3rd pitch: Swings and misses, Strike 2 1-2
2:15:15 4th pitch: High, Ball 2 2-2
2:15:45 5th pitch: Foul ball 2-2
2:16:16 6th pitch: Pop-up Foul Ball near 3rd Base, Sandoval (3B) moves over to make the catch, spreads his arms and falls backwards in a victory gesture Out 3

GAME OVER, Giants 3, Royals 2,
Giants win the 2014 World Series

Great work:
Very exciting playing in 2nd Inning, with both teams scoring 2 runs.
Great fielding by rookie Joe Panik (2B) in the 3rd Inning.
After the 3rd Inning, no more Runs are scored, thanks largely to superior pitching on
both sides.
Wining pitcher Madison Baumgarner, brought in for the last 5 innings (with only 2
days rest), limits the Royals to only a few hits and no runs.

APPENDIX III

Glossary of Baseball Terms and Tropes

This word-list concentrates on terms used in this guide and is by no means an exhaustive list of official terms let alone slang that announcers use. For a more advanced survey of baseball jargon, see this entertaining article by Teri Silver:
https://howtheyplay.com/team-sports/Understanding-Baseballs-Unique-Jargon

All-Star Game
A single special game each season in which the best players chosen from the American League play those of the National League.
Assist
The credit a fielder earns for fielding and throwing the ball to the player who makes the Out. See also putout.
Automatic Double
A two-base walk awarded the Batter and any runners on base when a ball goes out of play in fair territory but is not a home run.
Bag
Synonym for base
Balk
One of many possible illegal motions a pitcher may make when runners are on base that when enforced can result in a dead ball and runners advancing. The word came into English from Old Norse, but has taken on this specialized meaning in baseball. Pitchers are restricted in how they may position themselves and handle the ball, and any violation of the restrictions can result in a balk. The most obvious would be a pitcher’s going through the motions of a pitch but not releasing the ball and turning and throwing it to a baseman instead, hoping to assist a tag.
Ball
1. The baseball or hardball used in the game of baseball. 2. A pitch that arrives outside the strike zone at which the batter does not swing, called by the umpire.
Base hit
Synonymous with a single.
Base
One of three safe points which a runner must pass on the way to home. A player who reaches a base may stay there until he can advance. When his side is retired after three outs, he does not keep the base. Touch Base: The runner must at least touch the base, usually with the foot, when advancing. If running on a fly ball, the runner on base must touch it (also tag up) with a foot after the ball is caught, something not normally attempted. Trope: To make contact with someone, usually to inform or be informed of something. Trope: “Not Get to First Base”: Fail to achieve anything in a transaction or negotiation with another person or persons. To be unsuccessful at even the first step of some process. Trope: The Bases. (slang) Terms for female erogenous zones in reference to a man’s advances toward sexual intimacy. “Getting to First Base” means kissing, second is touching a breast, third is touching genitals. Home Base is having intercourse, or Scoring. A man who has no success in attempting to engage with a woman is said to have Struck Out with her.
Base on Balls or Walk
A free advance to first base awarded a batter to whom the pitcher has thrown four balls Before the batter has made three strikes. Intentional Base on Balls or Intentional Walk: A decision by a defending team not to risk allowing a strong batter to hit, but to take a walk instead. Originally, a pitcher threw four balls very wide of the plate. The catcher must remain in the catcher’s box. The batter is allowed to swing, but normally does not. Since 2017 the rule has changed so that the Manager may simply ask the Umpire for an automatic walk without any balls thrown.
Baseline
The narrow line or path between Home and First or Third and Home, within which the runner must stay.
Bat
The wooden club used to hit the ball. Go to Bat: To take a turn at batting. Trope: “Go to bat for s.o.” to be an active supporter of s.o., to work on s.o.’s behalf. At Bat: To be taking one’s turn to bat. An at bat is a player’s batting session, counted as part of the statistics. Bat 1000: To have a batting average of 1000, or 100%, meaning to have made a hit every time at bat. Trope: To achieve a perfect record of successes in any endeavor.
Batting Average or BA
A statistic representing the number of hits a player has made divided by the number of At Bats. It is expressed in writing as a decimal of three places, but spoken as a whole number. Statistics are kept for each season as well as for a player’s lifetime. A player who has batted 40 times in a season and had 13 hits is said to be “batting 325.” Other calculations are now recorded that include Walks or count distinguish different hits. OBP (On-Base Percentage), a more informative statistic in evaluating a hitter’s scoring potential because it includes getting on with a Walk. Also, the Slugging Percentage (SLG) is also considered a more telling indicator because it accounts for power, specifically giving Extra-Base Hits more value than Singles, but does not count Bases on Balls or hit-by-pitches as at bats. The OPS (On-base Plus Slugging) has become a still more relevant number because it combines the OBP with the SLG. These alternatives to the BA are relatively new, while the Batting Average enjoys a traditional popularity, presumably due to custom and a certain ineffable sentiment  Trope: A person’s record of successes in any field.
Batting Order, also Lineup.
The preset order in which players go to bat in a game as decided by management. Batting revolves in this order throughout the game. Usually, a team’s batting order in fairly constant through the season. Typically the first four in the order are the strongest hitters, and the weakest, the Pitcher, is last. The fourth batter is the one deemed most likely to hit a Home Run. He is called the cleanup batter.
Bean ball
A pitched ball deliberately aimed to hit the batter’s head. Technically, it is illegal for any player to attempt to injure another, but a bean ball has to be especially egregious for an umpire to impose sanctions, which include expulsion from the game and possible suspension.
Bleachers
The part of the grandstand that is beyond the Outfield boundary, so called because, at least in the past, it was the part of the field that got the most sun. Bleacher seats are also the cheapest tickets, and the seating is traditionally on staggered backless benches. Trope: Now any seating arrangement of benches raised in tiers is called bleacher seating.
Bottom
Used in combination with the number of an inning, meaning the second half, as in “the bottom of the seventh.”
Box
Any of the rectangles drawn in chalk on the field indicating where a participant is
to stand. A standard field has two batter’s boxes, a catcher’s box, and two coach’s
boxes.
Breaking Ball
A pitched ball that changes course slightly at some point in its trajectory. Principal types are curve ball, slider, sinker, and knuckleball. Breaking is effected by gripping the ball with the fingers a certain way and releasing it at a certain point so that it acquires a spin.
Brush-back pitch
A pitch thrown inside deliberately forcing the player to jump or bend back to avoid being hit.
Bull Pen
A long narrow enclosure along the left or built into the outfield stands where relief pitchers wait and warm up.
Bunt
A technique of hitting the ball without swinging the bat.
Changeup
A slower pitch following directly after a fastball, intended to induce the batter to swing too early.
Cleanup Batter
The fourth player in the Batting Order, so called because if any of the first three batters get on base, he is the most likely to be able to bat in one or more runs. He may also be said to be “Batting Cleanup.”
Club
Often heard as a synonym for a team.
Coach
A member of a ball club whose function is to stand on the sidelines and advise players on strategy.
Count or Pitch Count
The number of balls and strikes on a batter at any point in his turn. The number
of balls is stated first, so an announcer will say, “The count is 3 and 1,” meaning that the
batter has three balls and one strike. Full Count: A count of three and two against a batter. Unless he hits a foul ball the next pitch will either put him out or on base.
Curve Ball or Curve
A breaking ball that veers to the right or left unexpectedly, leaving the batter less able to judge when and where to swing. Trope: When one party in a negotiation, transaction, or any conflict introduces new information or insists on a condition that alters the discourse or frustrates the other party, he “throws a curve ball.” The implication is of unfairness or
deliberate deception. One might also say “Fate threw me a curve” when something unpleasant and unanticipated happens.
Dead Ball
A ball that is out of play. This could be when a ball is hit foul or is irretrievable, or when an umpire calls interference on a player. When a ball is dead the game is interrupted until the ball is returned to the pitcher and the umpire signals to resume.
Designated Hitter (DH)
A relatively recent exception to the rule of substitution observed in some baseball leagues. It allows for a 10th player to be assigned to bat and run in place of the pitcher throughout the game.
Diamond
The square within the infield bounded by the bases and home plate. It is sometimes used to refer to the whole field, particularly in public parks and playgrounds where the playing area is not enclosed by walls or fences.
Dirt
The parts of a baseball diamond that are clear of grass, primarily the batting area, the pitcher’s mound and the lines or spaces between bases.
Dive
A maneuver where a runner throws himself off his feet head first toward a base in order to reach it with his hand, or where a fielder throws himself forward to catch a fly ball.
Double
A hit by which a batter is able to advance to second base. Also called a “Two-Bagger.”
Double play
A defensive achievement in which two runners are put out in a single play.
Double Switch
I’m not even going to go there. See the Wikipedia entry “Defensive Substitution.”
Dugout
A long narrow area along the right stands with benches, usually covered and a few steps below ground level, where the team at bat sits when not batting or running.
Error
Any failure of defense in the execution of a play that results in a player getting to a base or continuing to bat when, in the judgment of the scorer, with “ordinary effort and skill” there should have been an out. Identifying and recording errors is important in compiling a player’s statistics.
Extra Innings
Additional innings played when the score is tied at the end of the ninth inning. Trope: This term could apply whenever a group activity requires more than the anticipated or allotted time.
Fair territory
All the area bounded by Home plate, the foul lines, and the outfield boundary.
Fair Ball or a ball hit fair
A batted ball that comes down in fair territory.
Farm Team
A minor league team associated with a Major League team.
Fastball
A pitch thrown at great speed. Fastballs often exceed 100 mph.
Field
(n) The playing area, usually thought of as all the grounds, fair and foul,
excluding the stands. Play the Field: To be in the field playing defense. Trope: In one’s romantic life, to prefer dating many people rather than seeking an exclusive relationship (a rather antiquated expression). The sense may be that playing the field, as in baseball, means being free to cover a wide area. Trope: (Come) “out of Left Field”: To arise totally unexpectedly or with no discernible connection to the present context, as an idea, a statement, or say, an unprovoked confession.
Field (the ball)
(v.) When playing defense, to perform any action dealing with a ball that is batted. Fielder’s Choice
A play made when there are two or more forced runners and the fielder with the ball throws to stop the most advanced runner instead of throwing to first base.
Fly or Fly Ball A ball hit in a high arc or any ball that is caught before hitting the ground. A high Fly has a slower trajectory than a Line Drive so a Fielder can usually to get into position to catch it. The term is normally understood to mean a ball that is caught, but a commentator may so characterize a hit ball before he knows whether it will be caught. Catch on the Fly: To catch a ball lands on the ground whatever the trajectory. Trope: Making a catch on the fly often requires quick and decisive action and also involves arresting a normal trajectory, so something done hurriedly or without premeditation or rehearsal could be said to be “done on the fly.”
Fly Out
To hit a ball that is caught on the fly (past and past participle Flied).
Force
The situation in which a runner cannot stay on a base but must run toward the next. This occurs when a runner on First Base, for example, must advance to the next base because the batter has hit a ball so that he must run to First. If there is a runner already on Second, he is also Forced. Force Out: Example: “The batter hit a single on the third pitch but was forced out at second on the next play.”
Foul Ball
A batted ball that comes down in foul territory whether caught on the fly or not. A foul ball is a dead ball.
Foul Line
Straight lines drawn in chalk marking the edges of the playing field from home plate to the outfield boundary.
Foul Territory The area of the field that is outside that bounded by the foul lines and
home plate.
Foul tip
A pitched ball that grazes the bat but continues so that the catcher catches it. It counts as a strike rather than as a foul ball caught on the fly (which is an out). Unlike a normal foul ball, it can be a third strike putting the batter out.
Fumble
A term common to other sports meaning a failure to hold onto a ball after it is caught. A fumble in baseball costs time and may result in a runner advancing or scoring, which would then be counted as an error.
Grandstand, Stands
The seating area in a stadium for spectators, as in all stadium sports.
Grass Line
The notional line between the infield and the outfield, usually marked physically as the line where the dirt ends and the outfield grass begins.
Ground Ball or Grounder
A ball batted so that it lands and bounces in the infield. The nearest infielder attempts to catch it and throw a runner out (at First or on a Fielder’s Choice). If the ball bounces past the infield to an outfielder, it may well be a Base Hit.
Ground (v.) or Ground Out
The designation for an out made against a batter who hits a grounder to the Infield and is thrown out at first. For example, when a batter comes to the plate, the announcer may remind the audience that “he grounded in the third and flied out in the sixth.”
Ground Rule
Special rules applying to a certain stadium based on peculiarities of its design or features. Trope: Rules applied to any specific conflict, transaction, or negotiation laid out and agreed upon before proceeding.
Ground-Rule Double
An automatic double awarded for a ball batted fair but out of play according to the stadium’s particular rules.
Half
One of the two parts of an inning in which one team is at bat and the other in the field.
Hardball
The name for the regulation ball used in baseball to distinguish it from the larger softball used in the baseball variant of the same name. Trope: “Play Hardball”: Approach a conflict mercilessly or with determination to win at any cost (see also Softball).
Hidden Ball Trick
A strategic maneuver in which a fielder makes it appear to runners that he has thrown the ball to another player when he has actually kept it hoping to tag a runner who unsuspectingly steps off base.
High
Describing a pitched ball that arrives above the strike zone.
Hit
A ball batted so that it cannot be fielded to the base in time to put the batter out. Normally, the batter is safe at first base, but he can hit a ball so that he gets to second or even third. For statistical purposes, a runner who reaches first base because of an error is not credited with a hit and his at bat is not counted. If he reaches first and then makes it to second only because of a fielding error, he is credited with a single but not the double.
Trope: Hit it out of the park (i.e. hit a home run) Perform a task brilliantly or with extraordinary success.
Home Plate or The Plate
The slab of white rubber marking the “home” corner of the diamond, which the runner must touch in order to score a run. Unlike the bases, which are bags laid (and fastened) on the ground, the plate is embedded so that the surface is on a level with the dirt. Step up to the plate: To go to bat. Trope: In a group or team context, to shoulder or volunteer to take responsibility for a task, particularly under challenging circumstances and with success. Also used to mean simply to do one’s duty willingly.
Home Run
A hit that allows a runner to round all the bases and score a run. Normally a home run is achieved by hitting the ball out of the park, that is, clearing the outfield fence or wall in fair territory. An inside-the-park home run is possible but very rare as it could only be counted as such if there is no error.
Home Team
The team playing in a game in its own stadium.
HPB = Hit by a pitched ball
The designation for a play in which a batter advances to first base because of being struck by a pitched ball.
In Play
A ball is in play when it is pitched, batted, or fielded until the play is finished. It is the opposite of out of play or dead.
Infield
The part of the field comprising home plate and the bases plus all the area within the foul lines within a radius of 95 feet (29.23 m) from the pitcher’s rubber.
Infield Fly
A fly ball that comes down in the infield, subject to a special rule whereby under certain circumstances it is an Out even if not caught. See the explanation in Appendix I, Section I.A.7.
Inning
A period of play ending when both teams have batted and made three outs. It is divided into halves in which teams alternate being at bat. A game consists of nine innings unless there is a tie, in which case the game continues into extra innings until the tie is broken.
Inside The term for a pitched ball that arrives between the strike zone and the batter. If
the batter does not attempt to hit it, it is a ball.
Intentional Drop
A ploy whereby a fielder lets go of a ball after catching it on the fly in order to gain an advantage in putting runners out.
Intentional walk See Walk.
Interference
Any action or event that disturbs the normal flow of the game or any accident or illegal action that deflects the ball or interaction with the ball or a player by someone not in the game, such as a spectator. When an umpire calls interference the ball is dead.
Knuckleball
A kind of breaking ball thrown so that it has no spin and travels slowly in an irregular trajectory, very difficult for the pitcher to control or the batter to hit.
Lead
The position of a runner when he risks advancing some distance off-base in anticipation of the pitch.
Lead Off
To bat first in the first or second half of an inning. Trope: To speak or contribute first in a discussion, or simply to begin an encounter or transaction. Also Lead-off Batter.
League
A group of teams that play one another. At the end of the season, the team that has won the most games is the league champion. That team may play the champions of another league in a final series. See also World Series. Trope: To be “out of one’s league” is to be attempting to accomplish or perform something beyond one’s capability.
Line Drive
A ball hit low and straight into the outfield. A line drive comes down more quickly than a pop-up or a fly ball so it is more difficult to catch and more often results in a base hit.
Lineup See Batting Order
Loaded
Said of bases when there are runners on all three.
Low T
Describing a pitch below the strike zone, which is a Ball if the batter does not attempt to hit it.
Manager = Field Manager
In any particular game, the team’s chief decision-maker for strategy during the game. He acts as head coach and dictates strategy and decides when to substitute players, usually together with assistant coaches. He is distinct from the General Manager, who is in charge of the long-term functioning of the club, including personnel decisions, scheduling, strategic planning, and contract negotiations.
Mitt
The special thickly padded glove worn by the catcher.
Mound see Pitcher’s Mound
No-Hitter, No-Hit Game
Self explanatory, and a victory for the pitcher.
Off Base
When a runner is not touching a base, so he is in danger of being tagged out. Trope: An adjective that may apply to someone who is wrong, mistaken, miscalculating, or on the wrong track.
On Deck
Describing a batter waiting to bat next. He waits in the Warm-up Circle, where he may practice swinging, usually with a weighted bat or two or three bats together. This expression is itself a trope. “Deck” by itself is not actually a baseball term but part of a phrase taken from nautical terminology. Trope–Present and ready to work.
Out
Describes a batter whose turn at bat has ended without a hit or a walk, or a runner who has been forced or tagged out. Also a noun, as in “three outs,” which retires the side.
Out of Bounds
A phrase common to many sports. In baseball it refers to the ball, not the player. A ball caught or landing outside the Fair area is Out of Bounds, or foul, and is a dead ball. Trope: The common phrase denoting something forbidden or taboo probably originated with goal sports. A specifically baseball-derived metaphor would be to “hit s.t. out of bounds,” directed at someone who has made an error of judgment.
Out of Play
Denoting a dead ball that cannot be fielded because it has fallen into the stands or is caught in an obstacle and unreachable.
Outfield The wide part of the field between the foul lines from the end of the infield to
the far boundary.
Outside
The term denoting a pitch that misses the strike zone wide of the plate on the side away from the batter.
Passed Ball
A pitched ball that passes the batter but is not caught and held by the catcher. The batter may run to first while the catcher attempts to retrieve the ball and throw it for a hoped-for out.
Perfect Game
A game in which a pitcher is credited with 27 consecutive outs–no hits, walks, or men otherwise on base. Such triumphs are extremely rare.
Pinch Hit
Substitute for another player in order to bat and run. The other player is no longer in the game. Trope: this can be used for any situation where one person substitutes for another.
Pinch Runner
A player who is assigned to run in place of another player. The other player is no longer in the game.
Pitch
(v.) To throw the ball to the batter from the mound. (n.) A throw by the pitcher to the batter. Trope: To make a promotional presentation about anything, or the presentation itself.
Pitcher
The defensive team member who throws the ball to the batter. Pitching is a highly specialized skill, and unlike the other players, pitchers do not play every game or frequently not even a whole game.
Pitcher’s Mound or The Mound
The elevated dirt circle between home plate and second base where the pitcher must stand when making a pitch.
Pitcher’s Rubber
A rubber rectangle embedded in the dirt of the mound 6 feet 6 inches from the center of the plate. The pitcher must have one foot on the rubber when the ball is released.
Play
The moments of activity between a pitch that is hit and the resulting out or man on base.
Pop Fly or Popup
A ball hit on the top part of the bat that rises in a steep curve, higher than the distance traveled on the ground. Infield flies are often popups.
Putout
The term for the credit a player earns for striking out a batter or tagging a runner or a base for an out. See also Assist.
Rain Check
A stub on a ticket to a baseball game that may be used for admission to a later game if the present one is called off on account of rain. This concession is no longer needed where stadiums are covered. Trope: Used when declining an invitation but expressing willingness to accept at some later date: “May I take a rain check on that?” One may also receive a “rain check” in a store entitling one to purchase an out-of-stock item later.
RBI see Runs Batted In
Road, On the Road, Road Games
These terms refer to a team’s traveling and playing at an opponent’s stadium. See also Visiting.
Rubber see Pitcher’s Rubber
Run
A completed circuit of the bases by a member of the team at bat. The total number of runs of each team is the score. The team with the most runs at the end of the game is the winner.
Rundown
The term for a play in which a Runner trying to advance (not forced) is caught between two Infielders, one of whom has the ball. The two Infielders toss the ball back and forth as the Runner changes direction and close in until either they Tag him or he evades the tag and makes it to a base.
Running Lane
The last half of the baseline between home plate and first base marked with chalk. The runner must here stay inside the lane or be called out.
Runs Batted In
The number of runs that are scored as a result of a batter’s hitting. This number is part of the player’s statistical record. A home run counts as a hit, a run, and a run batted in.
Sacrifice
A batter is put out at first so that another runner can advance. Sometimes a batter hits deliberately to make this outcome likely.
Sacrifice Fly
A fly ball which puts the batter out but allows another runner on base to tag up and advance to another base or Home.
Safe
Refers to a runner on base. As long as he has a foot on the bag, he cannot be tagged out.
Score
(n.) The cumulative number of runs made by each team at any point in the game. (v.) To make a run by circling the bases and being ruled safe at home plate. Trope: A metaphor that may have derived from any sport, to win some advantage, as in the expression to score a point, meaning to advance an argument, campaign, or endeavor, often against an opponent. Trope: Slang. (1) To purchase or otherwise acquire some desired object, such as narcotics. (2) To conclude a courtship with sexual relations, said of the initiating
partner (see also base).
Scorecard A printed chart with names of players listed in Batting Order and a grid of boxes representing the play for each batter in each inning and other boxes for counting up runs, hits, and other statistical minutiae. The segmented structure of baseball allows for a record of each play to be noted in simple symbols analagous to those used in recording chess games. Many fans like to do this, and purchase scorecards printed on card stock or sketch the grid themselves on a sheet of paper. Nowadays, scorecards can be downloaded and printed from the Internet, or games can be scored on an app. Figure 10 shows a blank scorecard that allows for the possibility of substitutions or of two extra innings.

Figure 10. A typical blank scorecard

The scorecard is printed on both sides so the teams can be scored separately. The players’ positions are represented by numbers and the type of play by a kind of shorthand using initials and numbers. The Pitcher is number 1, the Catcher 2, the Basemen 3, 4, and 5, and the Shortstop 6. The Outfielders, left to right, are 7, 8, and 9. The letter F represents a fly ball, and K a strikeout, among the many abbreviations. For example if the first batter strikes out, you write a K in the box (if the last strike is Called, you may want to write a backwards K or indicate it with a subscript c). If the second Batter hits a Fly Ball to left field you write F7 in the box. For a grounder to the Second Baseman who throws to First for the Out, the notation 4-3 suffices to make it clear. And so on. I refer the reader to the Wikipedia entry “Baseball Scorekeeping” for a detailed exposition. Trope: The expression “You can’t tell the players without a scorecard” has migrated from baseball to apply to any event or scenario involving many actors, so that it is difficult to parse without a reference source or aide-mémoire. It alludes to the prepared scorecards available at the stadium preprinted with the names of the players in the Batting Order.
Scorer
Professional games employ neutral scorers who record the plays on an official “Scorecard” and apply the complex rules for statistics, such as crediting hits and charging errors.
Scoring Symbols See Scorecard.
Series
Several games played in successioin between the same two teams. A visiting team stays in a city for three or four games, according to the schedule determined by the league before the beginning of the season.
Seventh-Inning Stretch
A traditional pause in professional games for the benefit of the spectators. Between the top and the bottom of the seventh Inning, there is a break in the game, like an intermission, when spectators may stand and stretch or walk around. There is usually a musical diversion as well, including a rendition or group sing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Some teams have other traditional activities between halves of other Innings.
Shutout (n.) or Shut Out (v.)
A game in which the losing team scores no runs. Trope: The verb is used to mean not allowing a party in a negotiation or conflict to participate or contribute, but this usage may antedate the baseball expression and be its source.
Signal
Secret signs made with fingers between coach or catcher and pitcher or coach and runner suggesting or instructing how to proceed where there is a tactical choice. See also Umpire.
Single
A hit that allows the batter to arrive safe at first base, also called a Base Hit.
Slide
A maneuver in which a runner throws himself feet first toward a base or the plate in order to arrive more quickly or evade a tag.
Softball
A larger baseball used in the variant form of the game, also called Softball. The ball is a bit softer, so less dangerous and easier to catch. Trope: “playing softball” or asking “softball questions” is equivalent to “pulling punches,” when facing an adversary, or avoiding sensitive topics in an interview. |
Southpaw
A left-handed pitcher, so named because in a normal stadium, which is oriented toward the north-north-east, the pitching arm is on the south side.
Spitball
An illegal pitch for which the pitcher has rubbed saliva on the ball to make it slippery when it makes contact with the bat.
Steal
To attempt to advance to a base between pitches. It is up to the pitcher or the catcher to throw to the baseman in an attempt to foil the maneuver.
Strike
A penalty against a batter who swings at a pitch and misses, hits a ball foul once or twice (third and subsequent fouls are not counted), or fails to swing at a pitch that is in the strike zone (q.v.). A player who has three strikes is Out. Trope: Any disadvantage in a situation, a handicap, or a demerit can be called a Strike against the person. Three Strikes against a person means total defeat, or severe penalty, as in the notorious “Three-strike rule” in criminal law.
Strike Out
(v. intr.) Said of a batter who has three strikes. (v. tr.) Said of the pitcher who throws three strikes to a batter. Trope: To fail at an endeavor, particularly in a negotiation or transaction with another person. See also Base.
Strike Zone
As judged by the umpire, an putative rectangular space over the plate where a pitched ball counts as a strike even if the batter does not swing and miss, roughly between the batter’s chest and knees. In modern televised transmissions, for the edification of the viewer, an actual rectangle can be digitally superimposed where the zone is presumed to be.
Strikeout (n.)
An out achieved by Pitching three strikes to a Batter, credited statistically to the Pitcher as a positive and to the Batter as a negative.
Swing
A motion in which the batter brings the bat down and around in a horizontal arc past the plate in an attempt to connect with the pitched ball.
Switch Hitter
A batter who can bat either left-handed or right-handed. Batting left- handed has a slight advantage since the batter starts on the right, closer to First Base, and finishes his swing facing the base. Trope: A bisexual person.
Tag (v. or n.)
To touch a runner with the ball (with or without a glove) or touch the base with any part of the body, usually the foot. The act of tagging. Tag Up: Said of a runner on Base, who must touch the Bag with a foot before he may run when a fly ball is caught.
On Tap
Said of a batters waiting their turn to bat. Trope: This phrase, meaning available to help or or contribute to an endeavor in some way, probably comes to baseball from beer service in bars.
Tip See Foul Tip
Top
The first half of an Inning.
Triple
A three-base hit, a hit that is so difficult to field that the batter is able to run safely to third base without an error by the other team. Also called a “Three-Bagger.”
Umpire
One of usually four or more officials who monitor home plate and the bases to judge plays and enforce rules. Umpires call strikes and balls and rule runners safe or out. Replay Umpire: An official in an offsite location equipped with video monitors recording every play from different angles, the ultimate arbiter in the case of contested calls by Umpires on the ground.
Umpire Signals
Umpires use hand signals to indicate how they rule on a play or a pitch. The Home Plate Umpire signals a strike by jerking his right hand up, elbow bent, but gives no sign for a Ball. An Umpire uses the right hand jerk to rule a Runner Out. If the runner is Safe, the Umpire stretches out both arms horizontally.
Up Synonymous with At Bat. Trope: Both expressions may be used in any situation when it is one’s turn to be a center of attention or perform individually before a group, as in a meeting or a competition.
Visiting Team
A team playing a game in the opponent’s stadium.
Walk See Base on Balls.
Warning Track
A wide strip of Dirt cleared along the outfield wall. The purpose is to prevent injury by signaling to a Fielder running to catch a ball that he is nearing the wall. Outfield barriers are also often padded.
Wild Pitch
A pitch so far out of the strike zone that the catcher is unable to catch it. The batter may run to first base. If the catcher does not retrieve and throw to the first baseman in time, the batter is safe. A runner already on base may try to advance as well, in which case the catcher must make a choice.
Windup, Winding Up
The motions a pitcher goes through before a pitch. Trope: This may refer to any preparation for an action. Not to be confused with a different use of the same verb, meaning to conclude or finish, which does not relate to baseball.
World Series
The final event of the Major League season in which the champion team of the National League plays that of the American League for the best 4 out of 7 games.

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