Learning to Play Baseball
For baseball, Little League is the major governing body throughout the country, with leagues in almost every town, so if you child can't wait to start playing, look online for information on joining a local league near you. Baseball season is usually held in the spring -- but as children get older, more developed, select leagues take place during the summer and fall, enabling a spirited player to participate year-round.
What if your daughter wants to play Little League? No problem. This is completely normal at all levels of Little League, so you do not have to guide your daughter towards softball if baseball is her sport of choice.
Baseball is a relatively easy sport to outfit. Here's the equipment you'll have to buy:
- baseball pants
- a protective cup (for boys)
Teams will supply the rest, including hats, bats, helmets, catcher's gear, socks, and belts. Some players may want to add batting gloves and sunglasses to their gear.
Intro to Baseball
For new baseball parents who are unfamiliar with the game, here are your CliffsNotes:
- Nine players play in the field, including one pitcher.
- At some lower levels of Little League, a pitching machine, parent or coach will pitch to ensure strikes and a quicker game, while a player stands next to him as the "pitcher's helper."
- There is a catcher and four infielders: third base, shortstop (positioned between third and second base), second base (positioned between second and first base), and the first baseman .
- Three players normally roam the outfield (left, center and right), but some younger leagues allow for four outfielders.
The rules can seem complex, but once you get the hang of it, baseball is no more difficult to understand than the Weekly Planner on your refrigerator.
- A team scores every time a player is able to circle the bases and cross home plate before three outs are made in an inning.
- A strike is a pitch that crosses the plate above the batter's knees but below the lettering in his jersey, or anything he or she chooses to swing at but misses. Any other kind of pitch is called a ball.
- An out is recorded every time the ball is caught in the air, or in the case of a ground ball, a fielder gets the ball to a base before the runner reaches it, or if a batter gets three strikes (a foul ball counts as a strike but a player cannot be out on a foul ball unless it is caught by an opposing player).
- A baserunner is forced to run on a groundball when he is on first base, or on second base if there is another runner on first, or on third if there are runners and second and first. In those cases, fielders need only to step on the bag to get the advancing runners out.
- If the runner is on second, and there is no other runner on first, or on third with either first or second base open, he does not need to run on a groundball.
- Runners are never forced on a flyball or popup and should not run. Here's why: If the ball is caught with the player off the base, then any player in the field can tag the base initially occupied by the baserunner before the pitch, thus getting out both the batter and the baserunner -- this is a double play.
- Once the team in the field records three outs, the teams switch, and the team that was just in the field goes in to hit. Every player in the lineup gets one at bat before the batting order starts over again.
Now that you know the basics, you and your child are ready to play ball!