Baseball appeals to kids and adults alike. If kids will be playing baseball, give them a comprehensive rundown of the rules beforehand. Although the method of play isn’t complicated, kids should know various rules that will help them play and enjoy the game.
The game of baseball requires two teams with nine players on each team. The object of baseball is to score more runs than the other team. Players score runs by hitting the baseball, running the bases and making it back to home plate without the other team tagging them out. Each team takes turns playing offensively to try to score runs while the other team plays defensively to try to prevent runs from scoring.
A baseball field -- known as the diamond -- has an infield with four bases and an outfield. Home plate is one corner of the diamond, where the batter stands to bat the ball. At each corner of the diamond, bases one, two and three sit in successive order. In the center of the diamond sits the pitcher’s mound and behind home plate sits the catcher's box. Nine players play catcher, pitcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, right field, center field and left field.
Players take turns batting to try to hit the ball out into the field. The pitcher tries to throw pitches that the batter cannot hit and the batter tries to hit balls despite the pitcher’s skill. If the pitcher does not throw hittable pitches and the player does not swing, an umpire calls the pitches “balls.” If the pitcher throws hittable pitches and the player either swings and misses or doesn’t swing to hit, the umpire calls the pitches “strikes.” Batters can have four balls and three strikes for each at bat. If a batter receives four balls, he is “walked” and he advances to first base automatically. If a batter receives three strikes, he is out and his turn to bat ends.
After a batter hits the ball, the batter must put down the bat and run to first base. Overrunning first base is permissible, but runners cannot overrun the other three bases. A runner must advance around the bases, tagging each base before a player from the other team tags either the player or the base while holding the ball. Only one runner can occupy a base at a time. A runner might be forced to run if another runner is advancing. In this circumstance, the baseman would only need to tag the base while holding the ball to get the player out, according to the Baseball Rules website.
Once the batter hits the ball, the players in the field must try to catch or retrieve the ball as quickly as possible to prevent the runner from advancing around the bases. After a player has control of the ball, he must throw it to the fielder at the base in which the runner is advancing. The fielder playing that base must catch the ball and tag the base or the player in an attempt to get the runner “out.” Tagging a runner out sends the runner back to the bench without scoring. If a batter hits a ball into the air and a fielder catches the ball without it hitting the ground first, the batter is automatically out on a fly ball. After three outs, the batting team and the fielding team switch places.
Scoring and Winning
A runner scores when he advances all the way around the bases and makes it back to home plate safely. Each player that makes it back to home plate scores one run. One inning consists of each team playing once in the field and once at bat. Play continues for seven or nine innings, depending on the league. At the end of the prescribed innings, the team in the lead wins.