It’s not called the Great American Pastime for no reason!
Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the United States and Canada, and although it isn’t as popular in the rest of the world, Baseball has millions of dedicated fans who live and breathe the game.
Baseball can also be very exciting to play, and there’s no greater feeling than swinging that bat and watching that baseball fly.
However, if you want to learn how to play baseball like the pros, there are a few rules that you’ll need to wrap your head around.
8 Essential Baseball Rules
1. Batting Order
Baseball is a game between two teams of up to nine players.
Each player on each team has a position to play on the field when they’re not batting. However, when a team is batting, each player will have a chance to step up to the plate and bat.
There is a specific batting order that will be followed throughout the game. This batting order is usually given at the beginning of the game and must be followed strictly.
If a player steps up to bat out of order, the umpire—AKA the baseball referee—has the right to declare the offending player out of the game.
2. Strike Zones
A strike zone is an area in which a batter can effectively take a swing at the ball, and only throws which pass through the strike zone before being caught by the catcher will be called strikes.
If a ball passes above or below the strike zone without the batter hitting it, then it is declared a foul ball, and the batter can walk to first base.
The strike zone is usually known to start above a batter’s knees up to his shoulders in the space above the home plate.
This can vary between umpires, though, as each umpire can decide whether a ball is in or out of the strike zone.
Every sport has rules for safety, and baseball is no exception.
Baseball is very strict with players keeping their helmets on during the game. If you take your helmet off while on the field for the first time, you’ll be warned. Do it a second time, and the umpire has the right to disqualify you.
Helmets protect players’ heads from the impact of the baseball, just in case it hits them. A baseball usually travels at high speeds, and if one hits your head, you could suffer a potentially fatal injury.
4. Fair And Foul Balls
If you’re stepping up to the plate to bat, you’ll need to know whether the ball you hit is a fair or foul ball.
A fair ball is a ball that flies in the area of the field, between the lines of first and third base.
If you hit a ball into that area, you can make a run for first base, and if you hit it hard enough, you can try for second, third, and maybe even a home run.
On the other hand, if you hit the ball past the area of first and third base, this is considered a foul ball.
Foul balls are considered strikes if a batter has less than two strikes. This means that while you can’t strike out on a foul ball, you can still drastically reduce your chances of getting a fair ball the more foul balls you hit.
If the ball hits the batter’s body in the batter’s box, this is also considered a foul ball.
5. Outing Players
Any player that is on the fielding team and is playing on the field must wear a baseball glove at all times.
This is especially true for the pitcher. In order to declare a running player out, a fielding player or the pitcher must tap him on the body with the ball before he gets to a base. The ball can be held in a glove while out a player.
If a fielder or the pitcher catches the ball before it hits the ground, then the player who hit the ball is automatically out.
6. Tie Rules
When a fielder gets the ball to a battery at the same time that he makes it to the base, this is considered a tie, and usually, the benefit is given to the batter.
This means that instead of being called ‘out,’ the batter will still be considered to be ‘safe’. This also differs from umpire to umpire, as they might have different views on whether it was a tie or not.
This is the most well-known rule of baseball.
If a batter fails to hit the ball and the catcher catches it, this is considered a strike. A better can have up to two strikes without being out of the game, but get to three strikes, and you’re out!
There’s a special rule that says that if the catcher fumbles the ball during the last strike and the batter successfully makes it to first base, this is not considered a strike.
For information on the best bats, we’ve a general guide here on the best baseball bats for youths, go check out out.
8. Running Bases
Once you hit the ball, you’ll need to run to each base and touch it, scoring a point once you reach the home base again.
If you miss touching a base, you’ll have to go back and touch it properly. If you’re able to hit the ball hard enough to be able to run all around the field without getting out, then this is considered a home run.
If you’re running the bases, you cannot pass a runner who was ahead of you. You need to keep at least a 3-foot distance between you and the next runner at all times.
You can generally run one, two, or three bases depending on how much risk you want to take and how long before the ball makes it to you.