Baseball Basics

Understanding the Basics of Baseball will help you better appreciate the game. In this section you can find out how to throw a curve ball and how ballparks get that cool cross-hatching look after being mowed.

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All Major League Baseball parks extended the protective netting that keeps the most dangerous of foul balls from zipping into the stands. But is it enough to protect fans?

By John Donovan

Baseball: It seems so deceptively simple. And then you try to explain it to someone who's not familiar with the game. And then you get even crazier and start ranting about the fourth out in a sport that's supposed to have only three.

By Nicholas Gerbis

Who's on first? And how did he get there? Believe it or not, there are dozens of ways for baseball players to get to first base.

By Laurie L. Dove

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Baseball is a game of inches, and umpires hold the tape measure. Sometimes they succeed, other times not. When they don't, it's not hyperbole to say that umpires are perhaps the most vilified people in sports.

By John Perritano

Don't feel frustrated if you find the infield fly rule tricky to figure out. Even umpires sometimes get confused by it. Here's why.

By Patrick J. Kiger

This is one of those rituals with a dozen different "surefire" recipes. We'll look at what really works – and what's only half-baked – when it comes to breaking in a baseball glove.

By Julia Layton

They may sound like a group of characters in a Dr. Seuss book, but the yips are actually a serious malady for many athletes. What's behind this bewildering problem?

By John Perritano

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Spring training reminds fans of how baseball used to be – cozy ball fields, lower prices and players willing to sign autographs and chat a little. But spring training is also a multimillion dollar tourist attraction for Florida and Arizona.

By Dave Roos

A well-known baseball poem celebrates "the sound of the crack of a bat." What makes baseball bats crack – and break? And how do you find the sweet spot?

By Patrick J. Kiger

The Negro Leagues may have been borne out of discrimination, but for generations of African-American ballplayers, they offered a real chance at fame and autonomy. How did the leagues start, and how was the color line finally broken?

By Julia Layton

It's just a piece of cardboard with a picture of a baseball player on it, right? If you look at some of the price tags on these rare mementos, along with some of the history behind them, you'd think twice.

By Jeff Harder

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Baseball's biggest stage, the World Series, takes place in the fall between the American League and National League champions. How do you get to the October Classic?

By Brian Boone

Baseball is known as the great American pastime. Learn about some of baseball's most famous -- and infamous -- players and teams.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Major League Baseball is made up of two different leagues: the American League and the National League. How did the National League get its start, and how has it thrived to this day?

By Dave Roos

Most baseball fans know about the existence of Major League Baseball and the two leagues that comprise it. But do most fans know about the one major difference between them?

By Linda C. Brinson

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Baseball has a lot of fans, but how many of them know exactly what a player does once he takes the field? Do they know what they use to do their jobs? Here's a primer.

By Linda C. Brinson

Without the obstruction rule, Major League Baseball would be more of a contact sport -- or even resemble the NFL. But what exactly is off limits?

By Mark Boyer

It's hard to truly gun it for first if you're worried about screeching to a halt once you get there. What are the rules regarding overrunning first base?

By Clint Pumphrey

What determines whether a ball is fair or foul? And who determines it?

By Chris Opfer

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For those who find baseball as exciting as watching paint dry, knowing a little something about the sport just might increase your interest level. Let's start off with a basic explanation of the nine positions.

By Caitlin Uttley

A double play is any combination of two outs in one single play. So how do the fielders make that happen?

By Chris Opfer

The strike zone is one of the most subjective and disputed elements in the game of baseball. Why is that?

By Caitlin Uttley

Anything called an error can't be good. But if it doesn't directly affect the score of a game, then why does it even exist? And how do you make one?

By Clint Pumphrey

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Everyone expects professional athletes to make a mistake once and while. But what happens when a player seems to lose their talent almost completely, suddenly and for no good reason?

By Christopher Neiger

Maybe you feel the cold hand of death creeping toward you at this very moment; or maybe you think you've got some time before the final strike is called. Either way, see these fields before you go.

By Jamie Page Deaton