Baseball Essay, Research Paper
Baseball is a game of skill that is played with a hard ball and a bat between two teams of nine players each at a time on the playing field at once. Although many different people play Baseball all over the world it is most popular in the United States. It is so popular in fact, it is referred to as the national pastime of the United States because of the tradition and popularity associated with the game. Baseball consists of many complicated rules. It also has a very elaborate history. One can not fully understand the game America has grown to love until learning about not only the rules but also the history.
A popular legend of the history of baseball claims that Abner Doubleday, who was a Union officer during the American Civil War, invented baseball in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. However, there is little support for this story.
A more accurate response to the question of how baseball originated would be that many scholars believe that baseball was invented long before one would think. For instance there is evidence of games played with a ball and a stick even in the earliest of civilizations such as the ancient cultures or the Persians and Egyptians. Such games continued to be played by civilizations throughout history but it was not until the early 1600s that Europeans first brought games involving a ball and a stick to the Americas. There were various games played with a ball and a stick but the one that most resembled baseball was an English game called Rounders. The rules of Rounders are more primitive than the ones of modern day baseball but it was from this game which baseball as we know it most directly originated from.
HOW BASEBALL IS PLAYED
The rules of baseball may seem very complicated but they are most easily understood by watching the game itself. First of all a baseball game is divided up into 9 different periods called innings. After nine innings are up the team that scored the most runs wins the game. Play begins when a pitcher throws the ball toward a player on the opposing team. The pitcher tries to throw the ball in the strike zone, which is an imaginary box. If the ball is in the strike zone, it is a strike if not it is a ball. The player whom the ball was thrown at tries to hit the ball onto the playing field. A run is scored when a player hits the ball and runs around a series of bases before a player on the other team can get them out. A player can be put out in many different ways. Each inning is divided into two halves, the bottom, and the top. In each half of an inning one team bats while the other plays the field. If the score is tied after nine innings are over then the game is continued into extra innings and is concluded when one team is winning after an extra inning. These are the basic rules of baseball.
THE FIELD AND EQUIPMENT
Baseball is played on a field, which usually covers about two acres. The field is divided into an infield and an outfield. These two parts are considered fair territory and the rest of the field is considered foul. The infield is in the shape of a diamond and is 90 ft on each side. One point of the diamond is home plate which batters hit from. The other three points are bases: first, second, and third base. In the middle of the diamond is a pitchers mound which is slightly raised off the ground. The edges of the diamond from home plate to first base and home plate to third base are the foul lines, which extend all the way to the wall in the outfield. Behind first base is right field, behind second base is called center field, and behind third base is called left field. Fences are placed at the farthest limits in the outfield. In foul territory beyond the foul lines in the infield are dugouts where players sit when they are not playing or waiting to bat.
Baseball also consists of many pieces of equipment. Baseball equipment includes the following: a hard ball which has a cork center and has a circumference of 9 in., a bat made out of wood or aluminum, a padded leather glove which each player uses to catch the ball, cleated shoes, and a helmet worn by batters. There are certain rules that limit the size, weight, and shape of certain equipment.
THE BASEBALL TEAM
A baseball team has nine players on the field at once. Each player plays a specific position. The pitcher throws the ball from the pitchers mound to start play. Each throw is called a pitch. The catcher receives the ball and returns it to the pitcher unless the batter hits the ball first. Besides catching pitches, the catcher covers home plate as well. The first baseman, second baseman, and third baseman are each in charge of a base. The shortstop stands in between second and third base. The infielders are responsible for getting the ball and putting out runners when the ball is hit to them. There are three outfielders who each stand in left, right, and center field respectively. While one team is in the field the other one is at bat. The team bats in a specific order.
COACHES AND UMPIRES
Several people help keep the game under control such as managers, coaches, and umpires. The manager is the leader of the team and decides whom plays, where they play, and the order they bat in. Coaches assist the manager and make decisions such as if a batter should swing at a pitch or not. Umpires keep the game under control by enforcing the rules of the game and the rules of conduct. For instance, they decide if a pitch is a strike or a ball. If a player, coach, or manager violates the rules of conduct, the umpire might eject him from the game.
RUNNING THE BASES
If a player hits the ball and the fielders cant field it he is awarded a base hit. When the runner gets a base hit he tries to advance as many bases as possible without getting out. Once a batter reaches a base he can advance by stealing the base, running before the pitcher throws the ball, or when another player hits the ball in play.
A run is scored when a player successfully makes it around all the bases without being put out. There are different ways to get around the bases. If a batter goes around all the bases with one hit it is considered a home run. A home run is usually achieved by hitting the ball over the outfield fence. When a player hits a home run, all other players on base score also. If there is a man on all three bases and a player hits a home run it is considered a grand slam.
THE MAJOR LEAGUES
Although baseball is played professionally all over the world the most renowned league is the Major League Baseball Association of North America. The majors is made up of two leagues, the National League and the American League, with fifteen teams in each league. There are three divisions in each league with five teams in each division. Each team plays 162 games in a season and depending on their regular season record they may or may not make the playoffs. The six leaders in all the divisions all make the playoffs; in addition, the team with the next best record in each league makes the playoff as a wild card. The teams compete in series. The teams that win the most games in a series earn the right to move on to the next round of playoffs. The final series in the league playoffs determines which team wins the pennant, or championship, of their league. After that, the champions of each league play eachother in the World Series. The winner of that game is considered the world champion.
Many people may see professional Baseball as just a bunch of money hungry athletes competing for money not for their love of the game. This may or may not be true, but it was not always like that. Up until the 1850s baseball was only played to have fun and people played for their love and passion for the game not for money, but people started to see that money could be made from baseball so they started renting out big parts of land so people could play. After that leagues were established and athletes started to be paid to play sports. This was a sad day for all the people who loved the game of baseball and all the tradition that surrounded it. Although players were getting salaries the tradition was still carried with the great sport of baseball.
Even though some of the tradition was lost when the game of baseball started to be played for money there were still those players who played the game with all their heart and soul because they had a passion for it. So the people who started the tradition of baseball and made America?s pastime great such as Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, and Joe DiMaggio will always be remembered by those who play with the passion that resembles that of the men that were mentioned such as Ken Griffey, Jr. and Derek Jeter. These players will forever recognize what a great game they are so privileged to be a part of by its history, rules, and the players that made it all happen. Even if one does not have as much passion for baseball as others one probably still agree with The Babe (Babe Ruth) when he said,? Baseball was, is and always will be to me the best game in the world.?