The rules of baseball
The basic laws of baseball
Before you start out playing baseball, it’s best to know some of the key rules of the sport. The following simplified baseball rules provide a basic summary of the sport — so, if you’re starting out in baseball, check these out in order to get an elementary understanding of the game.
The baseball field of play
- The game of baseball is played on a diamond-shaped playing field. The four corners of the diamond are the home plate, first base, second base and third base.
- In the middle of the infield is a raised mound — known as the pitcher’s mound — where the pitcher stands when pitching the ball to the batter. The area beyond the infield, which is bordered by the first and third baselines, is called the outfield.
The game of baseball
- A baseball game is played between two teams of nine players who each have nine innings. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the ninth inning wins the game. If the scores are level at the end of both team’s ninth inning, the game can be extended into an extra inning.
- Play starts when the pitcher throws a ball overhand towards the batter, who tries to hit the ball into the baseball field. The home side always bats second.
- Players score runs by hitting the ball and running around a series of four bases (running in a counter-clockwise direction) before a player in the field is able to get them out. This can be done in stages or all in one go. If a player reaches the base before the ball, they are called ‘safe’.
- If the ball is caught direct from the batter’s hit, then that batter is out. The same applies if the ball is thrown to first base before the batter arrives at the base.
- A batter is also out if he or she fails to connect with the ball three times after three good pitches — which is often referred to as being ‘out on strikes’.
- After the batting team has three players out, the teams switch so that the other side does the fielding while the other bats.