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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Who Pays if You Get Smacked by a Foul Ball?

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?

What is the fourth out?

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.

Did Jackie Robinson really break baseball's color barrier?

Everyone knows Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier. But is that the whole story? Who are some of the unsung players who paved the way for Robinson's momentous breakthrough?

How many ways can a batter reach first base?

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.

How Umpires Work

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.

What’s the infield fly rule?

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.

How Bunting Works

Sometimes in baseball you have to think beyond the blast. It's a game of tactics, and occasionally a bunt -- dropping the ball short and slow, right where it will give the infield fits and maybe score the runner on third -- wins games.

How to Break In a Baseball Glove

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.

What causes the yips?

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?

How Spring Training Works

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.

How Baseball Bats Work

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?

How the Negro Leagues Worked

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?

5 Most Expensive Baseball Cards in the World

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.

How the World Series Works

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?

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

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

How Baseball's National League Works

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?

What's the difference between the American and National Baseball Leagues?

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?

Quick Reference: Baseball Positions and Their Equipment

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.

What's the obstruction rule in baseball?

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?

What is a balk?

It's probably one of the most confusing rules in baseball -- the balk. So what is it and why is it so hard to understand?

When should you overrun first base?

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?

Baseball Hits: Fair or Foul?

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

What are the 9 baseball positions?

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.

What's a double play in baseball?

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

Why does the strike zone change in baseball?

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


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