AN INTRODUCTION TO BASEBALL. Four basic comparisons between baseball and soccer (football):

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1 AN INTRODUCTION TO BASEBALL Four basic comparisons between baseball and soccer (football): 1. A soccer game can contain both time-based segments (the two 45 minute periods) and opportunity-based segments (a penalty kick shootout at the end of a tied game.) Unlike most team sports, baseball has no time-based segment. It is entirely opportunity-based. Each team will have 9 opportunities (innings) to score points (runs) on a rotation basis like a shootout. If the score is tied at the end of those 9 innings, another inning will be played. If the score is still tied at the end of the 10 th inning, another will be played and this will continue until one team has more runs than the other at the end of an inning. 2. In a soccer game, players are moving continually between offensive and defensive activities as the ball moves up and down the field. In baseball there are clearly defined periods when players are on offense and on defense. In each inning, one team will be on the offense and the other team will be on the defense for half the inning. For the second half of the inning the teams will reverse positions. These switches from offense to defense will take place each time the offensive team has had three unsuccessful activities (outs.) The analog in soccer would be the following: assume that instead of having a player make one penalty kick during each round of a shootout, a series of players would keep making penalty kicks until the goalie stopped three of them. All the goals scored on the successful penalty kicks up to that time would count. At that point the teams would switch positions and the players from the other team would kick until the goalie stopped three of their kicks. 3. In both soccer and baseball, partial performance is not rewarded. A soccer team can move the ball all the way up the field but no point is added to the team s score unless a goal is scored. In baseball, a run is scored only if a player moves all around the bases (first, second and third) and crosses home plate. Players who are still on a base when an inning ends three outs have been made do not count in the score. 4. In both soccer and baseball, as in many team sports, there is a contested space which the teams fight over. In soccer it is the goal area and in baseball it is the strike zone. In soccer the defense protects that space and the offense has the ball. In baseball, the pitcher (defense) has the ball and the batter (offense) protects the space. 5. The playing field: Fair territory is all of the space within the 90 degree triangle formed by home plate and the two foul poles. Foul territory is all the space in the other 270 degrees. A ball hit in fair territory is called a fair ball and a ball hit in foul territory is a foul ball.

2 The infield is the space in fair territory between home plate and the dirt arc just beyond the bases. The outfield is the remaining space in fair territory beyond the infield. A fair ball hit over the fences in the outfield is a home run. The dugout is where the players stay when they are on the offense or when they are not playing. The bull pen is where the relief pitchers stay until they have been put in the game. The people: Each team has 25 players. There are usually 5 starting pitchers and 6 relief pitchers on a team. The other players have specialized positions when they are on the defense: catcher, first baseman, second baseman, shortstop, third baseman, left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder. Players often have the ability to play more than one defensive position and a team will have several players who can play each position. When the game begins, the manager (coach) identifies which players will play each position on defense and the order (batting order) they will hit on offense. The batting order stays the same throughout the game but a player may be substituted for. Like soccer, once a player has been removed from the game for a substitute he may not go back into the game. In addition to the manager, each team has a number of coaches who help players with various aspects of the game. During the game, when a team is on offense, one of these coaches stands near first base and another coach stands near third base. There are four umpires (referees) who apply and interpret the rules. There is one umpire at each base and one behind home plate. There are 30 major league teams: 15 in the American League and 15 in the National League. There are two teams in Chicago: the White Sox (South Side) in the American League and the Cubs (North Side) in the National League. Each team plays 162 games (about 6 per week) in the season which runs from early April to late September. Five teams in each league will qualify for the playoffs in October. Eventually the winning team in each league will meet in the World Series. The first team to win four games in the World Series is the champion. The game: There is no clock baseball. It is an opportunity-based game where each team will have 9 opportunities (innings) to score points (runs) on a rotation basis. If the score is tied at the end of those 9 innings, another inning will be played. If the score is still tied at the end of the 10th inning, another will be played and this will continue until one team has more runs than the other at the end of an inning.

3 In each inning, one team will be on the offense and the other team will be on the defense for half the inning. For the second half of the inning the teams will reverse positions. These switches from offense to defense will take place each time the offensive team has had three unsuccessful activities (outs.) The objects of the game are simple: when a team is on the offense it wants to score runs. When it is on the defense it wants to get three outs. The offense needs to put men on base and move them around so they can score. The defense wants to keep men off the bases and remove them when they are on base. At the heart of the game, and its most important element, is the confrontation between the pitcher on defense and the batter on offense. This confrontation is fought in the strike zone. The strike zone on each batter is the width of home plate and runs from the batter s knees to the top of his stomach. Any ball thrown by the pitcher which crosses this zone is called a strike and the batter is expected to swing at it. It is also called a strike if the batter swings at the pitch and misses it, regardless of whether it was in the strike zone or not. A foul ball is also called a strike. Conversely, any ball thrown by the pitcher which does not cross the strike zone is called a ball. A batter will be out (strike out) if he gets to three strikes (a foul ball can not be a third strike). He will get to first base (called a walk) if the pitcher throws four balls. The number of balls and strikes on a batter at any time (known as the count) influences the respective performance pressures felt by the batter and the pitcher. Pitchers will try to vary the speed of the pitch, its location when it crosses the strike zone, and the movement of the ball to make it harder for the batter to hit the pitch. Besides strike outs, batters will make outs if they (1) hit a ball that is caught by any fielder before it hits the ground; (2) fail to reach a base they must get to before the ball gets there or (3) are tagged by a fielder with the ball anytime they are not on a base. These are the four ways most outs are made. Besides the walk, batters may get on base by making a hit. Depending on the number of bases a batter gets to when he hits the ball the hit is called a single, double, triple or home run. Earlier batters who are on base (once on base batters are then called runners) when the current batter hits the ball or walks will move up as much as they can while avoiding making an out. Since runners may move to the next base at any time, they will sometimes try to do that while the pitcher is in the process of throwing the ball to home plate. If they reach the next base before they are tagged with the ball, they have made a stolen base. When players are in the field on defense, they are expected, within reason, to catch and throw the ball successfully. When they fail to do that, those mistakes are called errors. Other information: National Anthem Just before the game starts, the players and fans will stand up, remove their hats and sing the Star Spangled Banner, the country s national anthem. This is the custom at most sporting events in this country.

4 Seventh Inning Stretch At the middle of the seventh inning, fans will stand up and sing a traditional song Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Supposedly, this tradition goes back to the early 1900s when a President of the country was attending a game and he stood up in the middle of the seventh inning. The fans, believing the President was leaving the game, stood up to show their respect. He then just sat down and this became known as the seventh inning stretch. White Sox games at U.S. Cellular Field The Scoreboards In enter field there is a large video screen which will be used to show some plays, information about the players, and various other displays. There is another screen in right field used primarily to show what is happening in other games being played around the country. It also shows the speed of the pitches and the number of pitches thrown by the current pitcher. A screen in left field shows inning by inning scoring. Sensory Overload/Food Unlike Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular has much more music, noise and visual stimulation. To compensate, the food is generally more varied and tastes better! There are lots of things to eat at the ball park. Here are my personal recommendations. 1. Only buy food from the people who are actually cooking it on the concourse behind the seats. Some vendors may come through the stands selling hot dogs. These are not nearly as good as the freshly cooked ones. 2. The best sandwiches obviously a matter of taste are the Polish sausages, Italian sausages and bratwursts. They all have more flavor than the regular hot dog. Get them with grilled onions or, in the case of some stands, grilled onions and peppers. Most people in Chicago at least those over the age of 18! do not put ketchup on any of these sandwiches. Most of the stands have yellow mustard. I suggest you take your sandwich to a stand that has the spicy brown mustard it is much better. 3. If you have to move past people in your row to leave or return to your seat, please try to wait until between pitches or, better yet, between innings. That way you are less likely to block the view of people behind you. Seat Prices Because the Sox do not draw as well as the Cubs, they often offer special deals on seats for certain games. Cubs games at Wrigley Field The Scoreboard Behind center field, there is a large green scoreboard which will show the scores in the other baseball games going on around the country. It will also show the number of outs and the count on the batter. Another smaller electronic scoreboard in right field will show information about the pitcher and the batter.

5 The Rooftops A unique feature of Wrigley Field are the stands built on the rooftops of the buildings beyond the outfield seating area. Wrigley field is one of the oldest ball parks in the country and when it was built there were residential buildings surrounding the area. Over the years, the owners of these buildings realized that they could build seating areas on their roofs and charge people admission. Several years ago the owners of the Cubs threatened to build high fences on the stadium wall to block the view but eventually the building owners and the Cubs game to an agreement and now the building owners share some of their revenue with the team. The Curse It has been over 107 years since the Cubs last won the World Series and over 65 years since they have even played in the World Series. This is the longest time that any baseball team has gone without winning the World Series. The other team in Chicago, the White Sox, won the World Series in There are many reasons why people believe the Cubs have not won in such a long time and those reasons are generally referred to as the curse.

6 (bull pen) (bull pen) (pole) center fielder left fielder (outfield) right fielder (pole) (fair territory) (fair territory) (foul umpire (2nd base) (foul territory) shortstop 2nd baseman territory) umpire (infield) umpire 3rd baseman 1st baseman (3rd base) pitcher (1st base) coach (mound) coach (home plate) (dugout) catcher (dugout) umpire Dimensons 27 meters between each base 18 meters between pitcher's mound and home plate 100 meters between home plate and outfield foul poles 120 meters between home plate and center field wall home plate is 44 centimeters wide Abbreviations I: the current inning or the number of cumulative innings B: balls thrown by the pitcher to the current batter S: strikes thrown by the pitcher to the current batter O: outs made so far by the current team hitting R: runs made by this team in this inning or so far in the game H: hits made by this team in this inning or so far in the game E: errors made by this team so far in the game AB: at bats HR: home runs W or BB: walks SB: stolen bases K: strike out AVE batting average - this is the number of hits by this batter divided by the number of at bats

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