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 Definition A ball game, using a small spherical ball and a striker called a bat, played between two teams of 9 players each on a field with a diamond shaped circuit consisting of 4 bases. [d] [e]
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 Workgroup categories Sports and Sociology [Categories OK]
 Subgroup category:  Baseball
 Talk Archive none  English language variant Not specified

Potential images for future placement

The Library of Congress has a ton of photos of early 1900's baseball, with no known restrictions here. --Todd Coles 19:57, 2 February 2008 (CST)

We do not sign our names in article space.

Robert, please don't revert my edit. We do not sign our names in main article space - that is saved for signing comments on talk pages. I'll be reverting it back. Thanks. --Todd Coles 22:22, 12 February 2008 (CST)

I'm sorry Todd if I stepped on your toes. I do however think the baseball page needs serious revision and I would love to work with you on this. The reason for my edit earlier was I thought you were claiming the page as your own (since you made no additional contribution adding or retracting from my comments, which if its a misunderstanding or attributed to my newbie staus, I apologize). So can we coordinate our efforts here? I would like to make the baseball page "official". I've done quite a bit of reading, research, and writing that I think I can make a significant contribution.


Robert, you are making great contributions to this article, which is great. But I think you also need to better familiarize yourself with how a wiki works. I've reviewed the edit history and I don't see anything Todd has done that could even be remotely construed as "claiming the page" for his own. You did, by signing your name at the top, which is never done. And by the way, please sign your posts here, on the Talk page, by hitting the tilde key four times. Shawn Goldwater 00:03, 13 February 2008 (CST)
Robert, please do continue to work on this article. The contributions you made are great. Plus, if I tried to claim the page as my own I think people would run me out of town. :) I am guessing what probably happened, is you accidentally hit the signature button, and didn't realize it signed your name at the top of the article - that's the only thing I was trying to clean up. I apologize if I came off harsh, you aren't stepping on anyones toes. And, like Shawn said, if you hit ~~~~ at the end of your posts on a talk page, it will sign our name and timestamp it. There is also a button you can hit above the edit window that will do the same. Don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions, and welcome to CZ. --Todd Coles 07:21, 13 February 2008 (CST)

hi Todd- thanks for your encouragement and understanding about my mistakes. I assure you that I intend to contribute more to the article but would like to know where my contribution would be best served. In other words, what do we need to do to get this "official"? Obviously this is a broad catagory but some things are more important than others. Any thoughts? Robert C. Starkins 02:27, 19 February 2008 (CST)

In my opinion, the two most critical sections of this should deal with 1) the history of the game, giving attention not only to the American game, but on the world stage as well and 2) the rules and gameplay. I, of course, can't give any definitive answer on what it will take to get it approved, since I'm not an editor.
I have been thinking about what to do with the terminology section. I think it will be helpful to someone who is completely unfamiliar with baseball in their understanding of the article, but I'm not sure it fits in right where it is. Maybe move it to a catalog subpage, I'm thinking. --Todd Coles 11:48, 19 February 2008 (CST)

Stats, the use of

Stat guru Bill James once wrote (disgustedly) that people frequently asked him what was the most "interesting" statistic he had ever encountered. That, he said, is like asking a carpenter what his most interesting tool was. Stats are merely tools to be used to study and analyze various aspects of performance and to develop new insights thereby. (Bill and I are both members of SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research.) Hayford Peirce 20:36, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

I hoped you might show up, Hayford, bem vindo. Watching some on the television last night, I was trying to make sense of it. This article isn't as bad as I feared it might be...but what is a home run exactly? 'This results in the current batter and all runners on base being allowed to score a run with no interference from the other team.' They just stand out of the way, and say, please go ahead? No, I think it is an automatic prize, like a four or 6 in cricket... Ro Thorpe 20:46, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, it is akin to, I believe, a 6 in cricket. When a baseball player hits the ball entirely out of the playing area, generally into the grandstands furthest away from him, or over the fence that surrounds the playing field (once again, in the areas furthest from where he is standing), he then runs to his right (or swaggers these days) to first base, steps on it, makes a left turn, goes to second base, steps on it, makes another left turn, goes to third base and steps on it, makes a final left turn and runs down to the place where he originally stood while trying to strike the ball. When he steps on "home plate", he thereby creates a "run", or score of 1. If a teammate had been on any of the three bases when he struck his home run, the teammate would have scored ahead of him and together they would have accounted for 2 runs. Two men on base would have meant 3 runs, and men on all three bases would mean 4 runs, a rather unusual happening. A hundred years ago, when the ball being used was dirty, misshapened, and never replaced, and the playing strategies were different, a typical game might end up with a score of 3-2 or 2-1. With Babe Ruth in 1920 and the advent of the frequent home run, scores rapidly mounted and a very good-hitting team in today's world will probably score around 850 runs in the course of a 162-game season, an average of about 5.2 runs per game. A second-rate team will probably average about 4, or even less, runs per game. Ralph Kiner, a celebrated home-run hitter in the late 1940s, who was frequently criticized for being able to do very little *except* hit home runs, remarked, "Home run hitters drive Cadillacs, singles hitters drive Chevrolets." In a day when the minimum salary was $6,000 and a *good* salary was $20,000, Ralph was pulling down around $80,000 per year. He also married a beautiful tennis player named Nancy Chaffee (I think) and lived happily ever after. He is still alive and known, like Yogi Berra for his malapropisms. Hayford Peirce 21:05, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
It really is like the rounders we played in primary school, except that I think there were more bases... But a home run is what? "...hits the ball entirely out of the playing area, generally into the grandstands furthest away from him, or over the fence that surrounds the playing field (once again, in the areas furthest from where he is standing), he then runs to his right (or swaggers these days) to first base, steps on it..." - so there is nothing automatic about it? You don't have to shake yer body (or swagger it) when you hit a 4 or a 6 - you just stand there & receive the applause; or, if you've been running, and the ball reaches the boundary, you just stop, and your movement counts for nothing extra (except that the batsmen may have changed ends...). Do you have to run for a home run? Ro Thorpe 21:26, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
You have to run in the sense that, yes, you do have to physically round the three other bases and return to home plate. And you have to *touch* each base with your foot -- occasionally someone will hit a home run and then find it nullified and his turn at batting over because he missed one of the bases. And if he runs too fast and passes one of his teammates already on base, then he is also out and his score negated. In the *old* days, when men were men and wimmin were sluts, players who hit home runs actually *ran* around the bases. Now they generally swagger and saunter. In the old days, had they done that, the next time they came to bat, a very hard, very fast baseball would have been directed at their head by the pitcher. Also, an *extremely* rare home run occurs when the batter hits the ball to, usually, the very deepest part of the playing field, but still within the boundaries, and then *really* runs around the bases, arriving back at home player before the fielders can gather up the ball he has struck and thrown it to home plate ahead of his arrival. In the old days, with *enormous* parks, and dead balls that were almost impossible to hit over the fences, this so-called "inside the park home run" was quite a bit more common than today. In 1910, say, the leading home run hitter of the year might have hit 9 altogether, of which 4 or 5 would be the inside the park variety. Ruth revolutionized the game in 1920 by hitting the unheard amount of 59 in a single year, more than all but *one* of the other 15 ball teams had for the entire team. He was pretty fast for a big man and might have had a couple of inside the park ones that year, but today it is only the extreme speedsters who do this, and probably not more than once or twice a year. Hayford Peirce 21:40, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, that's very clear. The outside the park variety is a kind of procession really, as the ball is out of play, but it's still a physical requirement, right? Ro Thorpe 22:00, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
That's it exactly, a kind of ceremony, but one that nevertheless requires certain standards to be met. (In these degenerate times, a player will sometimes hit a long fly ball and then, instead of hustling down to first base as he would have even 20 years ago, will stand and admire his "home run". Only to see it hit the fence, bounce back onto the playing field and be retrieved by a fielder, who will then hold him to a mere single or double. Or even, occasionally, throw him out before he can even get to first base. Players like this used to be called "hot dogs", who were "hot dogging it." There's probably some other name for them now.) Hayford Peirce 22:20, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Basic explanations missing

This article needs a simple introduction into the basic principles of the game. (Coming from central Europe I may be excused to say so ... ) When I was in Toronto I saw a game and a friend answered my the question, so I can read and follow the explanations of the terminology section and the rules. However, I doubt that -- without my advance knowledge -- I would comprehend what the game is about. Peter Schmitt 22:43, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Someone should probably pop over to WP, steal a couple of key paragraphs, paste them in here, then put them in to real English. Hayford Peirce 22:53, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
WP is out of commission at the moment. Anyway, Hayford, that's a good idea, and your further explanations are making sense...
Must be hard for Peter though. Read the cricket (sport) article? Just as incomprehensible? Ro Thorpe 23:04, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Maybe I could try to explain it from my rudimentary knowledge? This (perhaps) could help those who really understand the game to see what is missing. ??? Peter Schmitt 00:21, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Sounds like a good idea. Ro Thorpe 00:25, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
The same concern for the explanation of the basics of the game applies to the Softball article (Softball#The basics of a softball game). Would someone be so kind as to go there and read that section and offer a critique (preferably on the Softball talk page)? That is: does it say what is needed. It really is difficult to write such a description without feedback from someone who is perhpas not so familiar with the game. James F. Perry 02:55, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
I have inserted a paragraph which tries to explain the basics, as I understand them. It probably needs correction. Peter Schmitt 23:33, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
Quoting Peter's addition: 'He makes a mistake if he attempts to hit an incorrectly thrown ball (a strike)' - Or if he fails to hit a correctly thrown ball? Or both? Ro Thorpe 23:43, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
The above is so incorrect that I suggest it simply be deleted and wait for someone else to come along and rewrite it from scratch. I really think that while you may be bringing in outside points of view here, which is a virtue in trying to explain the inexplicable to non-believers, it might be easier for everyone to simply copy bits and pieces from WP and THEN, if you don't understand what the WP people are saying, query it and I'll try to make the copy clearer. But I don't want get involved in completely writing the BB article from scratch.... Hayford Peirce 23:54, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

...Or if he doesn't attempt to hit a correctly thrown ball?... Ro Thorpe 00:11, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Questions on rules

How are batters, pitchers and catchers determined.

The manager of each team decides, at least for each particular game. Many, many business people are involved in deciding which young players to bring up to the major leagues and where they should play. A whole section in itself. Hayford Peirce 00:02, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I simply meant how -- during a game -- the sequence is determined. Is it fixed between innings? Peter Schmitt 00:45, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Just before the game starts, the manager of each team gives the home plate ump the "lineup", the official list of the nine players who will start the game, in which position, and in which order they will bat. During the game players can be replaced, players can be moved from one position to another (v. seldom done), but the batting order canNOT be changed. If Bob Smith is batting fifth but is replaced by Tim Jones, Jones will then have to bat fifth for the rest of the game. And Smith cannot return to the game. Hayford Peirce 01:06, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Which players distributed in the field (how)?

It's an arrangement that has grown up over the years. Tradition guided by experience. Hayford Peirce 00:02, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
That is: no rules - just tactics. Peter Schmitt 00:45, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Essentially, yes. Except there are rules about the placement of the pitcher on "the pitcher's mound" and, I suppose, about the catcher. And I don't believe that any of the other players are allowed to station themselves in "foul territory." They can run *into* foul territory to chase a ball that has been hit or thrown there, but their initial position is always in "fair territory." Hayford Peirce 01:06, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

What happens if the pitcher makes mistakes?

If they lead to getting his team in trouble, ie, behind the other team, or in danger or falling behind, he is relieved by another pitcher and "is sent to the showers." Ie, he goes to the clubhouse and takes a shower and cannot return to the game -- whenever a player is removed from the game, for whatever reason, he cannot return during that same game. Hayford Peirce 00:02, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
But there is no rule that he has to go after (say) three mistakes? Peter Schmitt 00:45, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
No, no rule. And the word "mistake" is never used except in the sense of the pitcher telling a reporter after the game, "I made a terrible mistake in the third inning -- I threw Ro Thorp a fastball right down the middle (of the plate) instead of a curveball on the outside corner and the @#$%^&* hit it sixteen miles over the fence." There are no statutory rules for replacing players, such as the five-foul rule in basketball (or whatever it is). But the umpires can eject players for unsportsmanlike conduct, such as calling the ump a @#$%^&* or throwing at the head of the batter. Hayford Peirce 01:06, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Can the third batter only make a run if it is a home run?

Not at all, he can score a run in any number of ways, just like all the other batters. Hayford Peirce 00:02, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I misinterpreted the three out as "only three batters per inning".Peter Schmitt 00:45, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Each team continues to bat until it has made three outs. It's quite possible for a team to score 15 or more runs in a single inning (although extremely rare), in which case each player would probably have batted at least twice. I heard a game on the radio many years ago in which a couple of players came to bat three times in a single inning. Hayford Peirce 01:06, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

A diagram of the field would be very useful.

Surely there is a public domain one somewhere. Hayford Peirce 00:02, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

I hope my explanations of rules (so far) are correct. Peter Schmitt 23:15, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

I will, hehe, preserve a discreet silence as to that.... Hayford Peirce 00:02, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
comments by Peter Schmitt 00:43, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
So I should probably be out :-) Peter Schmitt 00:30, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Three strikes & you're out, said a politician of the recent past (Judy Ruliani?). But here we have 'three outs'. Some lexical clarification, please, Mr Baseman, sir. Ro Thorpe 01:29, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Two separate, but connected, things. An "inning", actually one-*half* of an inning, continues until the team at bat has made three outs in various ways. One way in which an "out" is achieved by the other team, or incurred by the team at bat, is for the batter to "strike out" or to be "struck out". If he fails to hit a proper pitch three times, that means that he has incurred three strikes. And three strikes on a single batter are the direct equivalent to ONE out. An extreme, but not exceptionally rare, example: the fire-balling pitcher from Liston, Rheaux Thorpe, the illegitimate great-grandson of Jim Thorp, faces the minimum of three batters in the first inning by throwing each of them three strikes, simply blowing his pitches past them so fast that they either can't remove the bat from their shoulder to swing or they swing and can't hit his blinding fast stuff. Each batter "strikes out" on three pitches. After the third batter is out (or "has been retired"), that half of the inning is over and the other team leaves the field and takes its turn to bat. Hayford Peirce 02:03, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
After a long period of study, I think I've got that. Three batters have been removed, or retired, because each were thrice bamboozled by this illegitimate guy, right? Ro Thorpe 19:51, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes. The first three batters of the Manassa Maulers, Bob Smith, Bill Jones, and Jim Green were all "retired" by the pitcher Rheaux Thorp, who threw them nothing but strikes. Bob and Bill each swung three times and were unable to even touch the ball. Each one of them, therefore was "out". The third batter, Jim Green, didn't even bother to swing at the pitches because they were so fast that he could barely see them. Each of those three pitches, however, was called a "strike" by the home plate umpire, who leans over the catcher's shoulder, because, *in his judgment* each of the pitches was in the so-called "strike zone" of that particular batter. The strike zone varies slightly from ump to ump, because they are, after all, trying to follow 100-mph pitches that also curve and dip. And they make mistakes. But the theory is that the "strike zone" is that area directly ABOVE the plate and between the bottom of the batter's armpits and the top of his knees. In order words, like a large "sweet spot" on a tennis racket. For a very *tall* batter, his strike zone will be larger than that for a very *short* batter. One reason, perhaps, that Michael Jordan couldn't make the transition to baseball -- he had a *very* large strike zone to defend. En somme, any pitch that goes through the "strike zone" is, if not hit by the batter, a strike. And "three strikes and yer out!" Hayford Peirce 20:17, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Your use of the expression "strike zone" enabled me to find again the picture in WP which looks rather like the batter is defending an elaborate 3-dimensional wicket, and it does help to think of it in that way, even though it is actually his body & there is no object a few feet behind. The bit about the umpire's judgment, too, reminds me of the lbw rule in cricket. But, to clarify: if the batter, as in the case of Smith & Jones in your example, swings at the ball & misses, the ball doesn't have to be in the strike zone to count as a strike? Ro Thorpe 22:04, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
That's a good pic at WP of the strike zone, What they don't say is this: if the plate is 17-inches wide (I think), the *real* strike zone is about 21 inches wide, because it is, usually in the judgment of the ump, a strike if an *edge* of the pitched ball hits just an *edge* of the plate, thereby making it a couple of inches wider in each direction. PLUS, the most important part, the *really* good pitchers, the ones who win 300 games in the course of a 20 or 25-year career, are the ones who can, time after time, throw the ball *just* on the edges of the strike zone, and even an inch or so outside but close enough so that the batter, desperate, swings at these pitches that probably aren't strikes in the first place. The more the pitcher can expand the strike zone, the more successful he is going to be. Almost *any* major league batter can hit a pure fast ball, even at 100 MPH, when it's thrown down the middle of the plate. It's when the pitcher teases him with a couple of fast balls that are just *off* the plate, then throws him a 75-MPH *curveball* that looks as it's going to be outside the plate, then swerves across a corner of it at the last moment, that the batter is confounded. Or, also with a curveball that looks as if it *will* be over the plate, but then curves *away* from it at the last moment.
And, no, the ball does *not* have to be in the strike zone if the batter swings at it and misses -- it's a strike no matter where it is. (Although I believe that if the ball first hits the ground in front of the plate and then bounces across the plate, it is a "ball", whether the batter swings at it or not. I could be wrong here.) The ineffable Yogi Berra, he of the many Yogi-isms, was a celebrated "bad-ball hitter" -- he would swing at *anything* -- many years ago, when I was a lad, and Yogi was my favorite player, I saw him win a game in Boston against the Red Sox by hitting a late-inning home run on a pitch that was up around his face. What was also remarkable about Yogi was the fact that in spite of swinging at a lot of stuff that was way out of the strike zone, he almost *never* struck out -- a really remarkable player.... Hayford Peirce 22:48, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Right, that's the picture I was referring to. '...a "ball", whether the batter swings at it or not' - "ball" synonymous with strike here? I think I've seen the word used in that sort of way elsewhere, here or in WP, I don't know. Ro Thorpe 00:11, 10 July 2009 (UTC) - Ah, I see from what Peter has just added, a 'ball' is an incorrect pitch?
Yes, the pitcher throws an actual physical "ball" or "baseball" or "the old horsehide" or a "pitch", and when he throws it the result is either a "ball" or a "strike", a "ball" being a pitch outside the strike zone that the batter has not swung at. It is, in a sense, a mistake, but not, all by itself, a very grave one, depending on the circumstances. There is *one* exception to a pitch *always* being either a "ball" or a "strike" -- if a batter has two strikes against him and he hits a pitch into foul territory (or into the stands) and it is *NOT* caught by a member of the opposing team, it is a null pitch in the sense that it is not counted as either a ball or a strike. There have been players over the years, with tremendous bat control, who, with two strikes against them, would "foul off" dozens of pitches -- thereby tiring the pitcher; perhaps inducing the pitcher to throw additional "balls" to him so that he eventually reached first base safely by means of a "walk" (receiving four "balls"); or, by fouling off pitch after pitch, he eventually receives a nice fat one right down the middle that he wallops for a hit. Guys who could/can do this are Kenny Rosewall types, not Pancho Gonzales.... Hayford Peirce 00:26, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
A walk -- I knew there was something about three (well, it is four) balls ...
... and, Ro, I thought you know the game :-)
Peter Schmitt 00:33, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
I can't imagine what gave you that idea. I'm an ignorant Englisch Dummkopf. But to summarise: a strike is when the ball is in the zone & the batter misses, or doesn't swing, a run is when the batter hits and, well..., and a ball is when the pitcher fails to make the zone but the batter didn't hit it anyway. And there is one exception...but let's not get ahead of myself. Ro Thorpe 00:55, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
You encouraged me -- so I expected you to correct my mistakes ... Peter Schmitt 01:23, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
I encouraged you because I thought you might make some progress, and you seem to be doing pretty well, but more I shall not say pending the return of the Baseman. Ro Thorpe 01:47, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Right, but what if 'he hits a pitch into foul territory (or into the stands) and it is *NOT* caught by a member of the opposing team' - but there are not 2 strikes against him? (I fear this extra question is showing up depths of incomprehension.) Ro Thorpe 01:11, 10 July 2009 (UTC) - I see you have sneaked in another bit while I was writing, Peter, to the effect that it would be a foul ball & count as a strike, which is very nice, because it MAKES SENSE! Ro Thorpe 01:17, 10 July 2009 (UTC) - the logic being that the pitcher has to <earn> the strike-out (right term?) with an unhittable ball?
Yes! The first two times that a batter hits a foul ball (one that isn't caught) *those* foul balls count as strikes. After that he has to *miss* the ball entirely for it to be called a strike. In which case he is out.
But don't forget: each team has 27 outs in a game (three outs per nine innings) -- a very, *very* good pitcher might strike out *10* batters in a game. So that although balls, strikes, and stikeouts are important, *most* outs in the course of a game come from other means. Hayford Peirce 01:57, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

lede paragraph

I'm sorry, people, but with all the good will in the world, the lede paragraph is absolute gibberish. Some of it is meaningful IF you really understand baseball and can figure out what is *trying* to be said, but if you showed this paragraph to an average guy in the Bronx or Brooklyn and asked him to comment, he would say, "Whaddya mean by dis?"

I don't think it is possible for someone foreign to the culture of baseball to try to write an article about it. Not unless he/she has half a dozen people like me around into order to spend an hour deleting and rewriting what the original person wrote in 10 minutes. And I myself, at least, am just not going to do it. There's a perfectly adequate article at WP that, obviously, needs to be rewritten so that it is directed towards adults rather than children, but until we have a committed cadre of real baseball fans to do this article, then I think that this one should be abandoned. In fact, it is now, I think, a major embarrassment-- here we have what is, in many ways, an American encycl. and its article about the American "national pastime" is a laughter....

I certainly don't want to hurt any feelings about this, and I do appreciate the work that has gone into it, but I really think that, for the moment, it ought to go into Cold Storage.... Hayford Peirce 05:29, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Having slept on it, I wonder if there isn't some other way of labeling this article, so that it can continue to be written as an alternative to the WP-sort of article? Baseball for the non-initiated, Baseball for the non-American (Japanese, Latino, etc.), Baseball for Europeans, etc., so that it *is* written in a way that drives me bonkers but that *does* convey real information to, say, an Albanian, who has no concept of what *any* of the terms mean -- that's my problem, and the problem of any other American who looks at what is being written here -- we're too close to the subject and can't see it as others do.... Hayford Peirce 14:22, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
I think that as long as the lede section is well written and the basic rules are explained, it should be okay. The lede should not concern itself with any but the most basic nature of the game (that it is a game or sport, a team sport, a bat and ball game) and its place in social development. The rules should be left to the Rules sectioni. Again, the rules section should not be terribly detailed, just enough to explain the basic play of the game (the infield fly rule, for example, doesn't have to be explained).
Provided this can be done at some acceptable level of quality, the article would then be incomplete (which is different from poor). Given that, I don't think the article should be relegated to cold storage.
A Baseball for Dummies article (by whatever name)? Provided the present article can be adequately improved in at least the lede and rules sections, I don't think it is necessary. We should be able to say something about the game sufficient to explain it to the "non-initiated" without insulting those more familiar with the game. I mean, if we start writing Baseball for Dummies articles, where does it end? Every article could then have a Dummies version (by whatever name). ::James F. Perry 17:33, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, everything you say is very true, James. And, of course, I *had* considered the implications of Baseball for Dummies.... You're doing a fine job with the lede -- I'll try to edit a little from time to time: I couldn't bear the thought of major rewriting, however. Thanks for your efforts! Hayford Peirce 17:48, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
First of all, I never had the intention to write about baseball. When I discovered the page (in recent changes) I got curious and hoped to learn about it. However, as I have said above, I was disappointed to find an article which was no help. And though it probably did not contain a wrong statement, it was incomplete, and incompleteness can also be incorrect if essential information is missing. I only started to edit the page because I felt encouraged, and counted on knowledgable people to keep an eye on it.
Of course, the page should not be kept with incorrect information (but as an aside: I am not at all sure that all other pages here on CZ are correct), But instead of removing it, it might be better to edit it: You say, that an American ecyclopedia must not have a bad article on baseball -- but may it have no article at all? And you should not think of CZ as an American enterprise: CZ has and wants readers and contributors from all over the world.
The case of an article about baseball seems to be similar to that of articles on mathematics. You want an introduction (at least) that can be understood by "all" (or a large group) of readers. That means, you have to avoid jargon as much as possible, but, of course, nevertheless you have to be correct. Mathematicians will not need this introduction, and possibly not like it all. Similarly, an introduction that helps an uninitiated non-American will bore an American who knows the game since childhood.
Furthermore, after the introduction, the basic rules of the game should be given (complete and correct, but without bells and whistles) in order to explain the mechanics of the game. Details (such as the size of the strikezone), subtleties (such as curved balls or what can go wrong on a home run), and tactics (such as the tricky use of foul balls), should be postponed to later sections.
The WP article is not good in my opinion: The lead is confusing for an uninitiated, and the rules are explained only much much later (and with too much details). There has to be a summary of the play before giving the basic rules, or else one cannot understand their significance.
Peter Schmitt 20:59, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Hi, Peter, thanks for your comments. I didn't mean to imply that Americans own CZ -- in my inept way I wanted to convey that if CZ had been founded by an Englishman and had its legal charter in England, a Brit might be upset if the article on Cricket seemed rife with mistakes; or, if it were an Austrian encycl. in inception, the article on Sachertorte was badly done. That's why the baseball article ought to be either improved or removed. (Cold storage is the equivalent of removal, roughly.) Right now, I would say that there are *at least* as many non-Americans contributing to CZ as there are 'Merkins, or even more, and the quality of their contributions is *extremely* high. But I don't think they should try their hand at baseball unless they *really* understand it - like cricket, I'm sure, there are a million subtlties that even for most 'Merkins are hard to really grasp. On the other hand, I'm very interested to hear that you find the WP article about baseball very bad -- that is almost certainly because you are seeing it from a different perspective than your American friends -- what is obvious to us, and comprehensible, even if it is badly stated, makes no sense to you because it is written based on unconscious suppositions of knowledge that the writers are not aware of. So I think that it would still make a *lot* of sense for you, Rheaux, and any others to constantly query the meaning of whatever is written in the present article. If you can't understand what something means, then we ought to be able to find a way to explicate it.... Hayford Peirce 22:05, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
I think it was a good idea to remove the glossary from its top position (it perhaps could have been moved down) -- it is not the style wanted for CZ. And I can understand that you did not like my first sentence (no offense taken), but the new lead is, again, too short. It would be more interesting to have a short description of the essence of baseball instead of details on its history (my opinion).
Mine, too. Ro Thorpe 23:46, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
In any case, I still think there is a need for such a summary before the rules are described (more important than the statement that there are several slightly different versions). So far, my formulation of the batting rules (in their current form) have not yet been criticized -- may I conclude that they are acceptable?
I think I ought to be able to find them quickly, but I can't. Ro Thorpe 23:51, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
I could continue with the rules for the runs in the same form. One open question would be: Are there more than one player allowed on a base? (And another one: Is the catcher significant in any way? What if he does not catch a ball?) Peter Schmitt 23:26, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Only 1 player allowed on a base; catcher fumble just gives more running time for the batters. Right? Ro Thorpe 23:51, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
I'll look over what you've written about the various rules after dinner. In the meantime, there can be no more than one man on each base. The maximum number of men on base (runners) is therefore three. If the batter hits a home run with men on all bases (a "grand slam home run"), then 4 runs will be scored. This doesn't happen very often. And the catcher is *very* significant. A.) He is the person to whom the pitcher throws the ball. Without him to catch the ball, if there were any runners on base, they would be able to advance when the pitch went past the batter and rolled all the way to the stadium wall. (Unless it hit the umpire in the head.) B.) A player on first base might try to "steal" second base at the same time that the pitcher delivers his pitch to the batter. The catcher will catch the ball and throw it to second base, hopefully before the player trying to steal it arrives there. The catcher, therefore, must be both adept in catching even the worst pitches and in having a strong throwing arm. C.) The catcher is the person who signals (by wiggling his fingers in a code) what each pitch to the batter should be, ie, a low fastball, or a curveball on the outside of the plate, or a "slider" on the inside, etc. After the pitcher, the catcher may well be the single most important man on the field for the defensive team. There was a 20-year period in the 50s and 60s during which catchers were chosen, at the end of the season, as the leagues' Most Valuable Player far more often than players from any other position, even when their batting statistics were not as good as many other players. Hayford Peirce 00:07, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) Thanks, this is all very interesting -- but most of it is not for the basic rules, but for the discussion of the subleties. (But an answer leads to another question: If there are two players on bases then the catcher cannot throw the ball to both bases?) Well, hope your dinner was fine -- I'm on my way to bed. Peter Schmitt 00:28, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

If there are runners on first and second, say, and they both attempt to steal at the same time ("a double steal"), the catcher, having just caught one ball thrown by the pitcher, can, of course, only throw to one base. Probably he would throw to third base, since the distance to third is much shorter than it is to second. Most stolen bases are by runners on first stealing second. Hayford Peirce 15:43, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
And I have seen a pitcher, as he appeared to be about to pitch, throw the ball suddenly towards first base, presumably... Ro Thorpe 00:52, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the pitcher is either trying "to hold him close" to first base or to "pick him off", ie, throw the ball to the first basement in time for him to tag the runner before the runner can get back to the base, in which case he would be "out" and return to the dugout. Holding him close is common, but actually picking him off is fairly rare. Hayford Peirce 15:43, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
Ro and Peter: all of the terms in the just removed Glossary will be defined in the course of the explication of the rules. Thus, the previous Glossary section was (or will be) entirely redundant. Perhaps a new Glossary section consisting of other terms not directly defined or explained in the course of the article could be added towards the end of the article later on. James F. Perry 02:06, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

OK, it's Friday

It does, however, make me nervous to see so many adjacent change references to baseball and grenade. I shall go and find drugs. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:10, 10 July 2009 (UTC)


Italy and Holland have taken turns as European champion for many decades. The level here in Holland is not so bad, a couple of days ago our National team beat Taiwan in a tournament in Rotterdam[1] (although I don't know whether Taiwan came with their strongest team, they called themselves Taipei, does that cover Taiwan?). Holland won 2-1, earlier in the tournament they lost 8-3.--Paul Wormer 06:08, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

In the Little League World Series, which teams from Taipei (or some other city over there) won regularly for many years, they were actually cheating by assembling the best players from all over the island (Taiwan) and calling them a Taipei team. Finally the rules were changed enough, or enforced enough, to keep them from doing this, and Taipei stopped winning the annual event. As for the event mentioned above, who knows? Hayford Peirce 15:56, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

"Mistakes", "eliminated" and "incorrect"

These words are used frequently, particularly in the "play of the game" but, to an American ear, they ring absolutely false -- they simply aren't used to describe baseball in any way. I can't think of an *easy* way to simply replace them with a single *correct* word. It's like taking a quintessentially French phrase, or way of saying something, oh, "Je vous prie, cher monsieur, d'accepter l'expression de mes sentiments les plus onctueux," or such-like and trying to put it into literal English. Can't be done. The English equivalent is simply, "Sincerely yours." In other words, much of your explanation will have to be rewritten by someone who is interested enough to do so. Hayford Peirce 15:52, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

I can understand that -- you miss the jargon. But on the other hand, if you want to explain it to someone who does not know that jargon, then he will have problems to understnad you. (As I already said: I am in the same situation when I try to explain mathematical topics to non-mathematicians. But while abstact concepts sometimes cannot be said in plain language, the action in a game can be described by using common words.) I still think that the first part of the page should explain the game to readers who do not know it (or just see their first game in TV). The rest of the page can be written for experts. Peter Schmitt 23:19, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
Sigh, you're probably right, but I'm hoping that a genius will come along and find a compromise that pleases everybody. Hayford Peirce 23:35, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
You really screwed me up, Hayford! I had just entered a lengthy response - and, no, he is not right - and the dreaded edit conflict (page changed since I started my edit) came up. I lost the entry. James F. Perry 23:48, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
I feel for you, I really do! That drives me *bananas*! If you have done a "Save preview" before trying to save, however, you can almost *always* get the text back, one way or another, either with the Previous Arrow or the Refresh circle or some combo thereof. But if you haven't at least previewed it, you're a goner! Hayford Peirce 23:55, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
In case of an edit conflict you just have to copy your text from the bottom of the page to the top. Peter Schmitt 23:52, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

It is not just a matter of using common language in place of jargon. Let us examine an earlier version of the Rules section:

The opposing pitcher (positioned on the pitcher's mound) throws the ball towards the batter (positioned on the home plate) who tries to hit the ball. He makes a mistake

if he fails to hit a correctly thrown ball (a strike), or
if he attempts but fails to hit an incorrectly thrown ball (a strike), or
if he bats the ball into foul territory (a foul ball) which also counts as strike, unless it would be the third strike.

He is eliminated

after three mistakes (a strikeout), or
if his ball is caught by a member of the defensive team (an out).

A pitch is incorrect (a ball) if the ball does not pass the prescribed area above the home plate (the strike zone).

It is not necessarily a mistake for a batter to take a strike ("fail to hit a correctly thrown pitch"). It is in fact very common for a batter to examine the first pitch (or sometimes even two) in order to better determine what kind of "stuff" the pitcher has, or to getting his timing down right. Or maybe he is just waiting for a certain type of pitch, or a pitch in a particular location. Likewise, batting a ball into foul territory is not always a mistake. He might be protecting a runner, for example.

As for the pitcher, there are numerous situations where a pitch outside the strike zone is not a mistake in any sense of the word. A pitch-out, for example, designed to foil an attempted steal or squeeze play. Or the pitcher might have two strikes on the batter, in which case, a pitch not too far outside the strike zone can put a lot of pressure on the batter. Or, if the defensive team thinks that a hit-and-run is on, they might pitch outside the strike zone. In such a case, failure of the batter to contact the ball (even if just to send it foul) can leave the runner caught in no-man's land. Ina bunt situation, a high pitch can foil the batter's strategy as they are difficult to bunt and can eaisly be popped up for an easy put-out or even adouble play.

The pitcher has several balls (pitches outside the strike zone) available. There are many possible reasons to use them in order to better ascertain the batting team's strategy. Also, if Kimi Pohlman is up with runners on 2nd and 3rd and first base open and you are protecting a one-run lead, is it a mistake to walk her? Walking the batter in such a case sets up a force play at all bases.

While I can understand the desire to use common terminology rather than jargon, there is the danger that the result will be to mislead folks concerning the strategy of the game. And the specialized terminology isn't all that difficult. James F. Perry 00:07, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, this, of course, is just exactly why, a couple of days ago, I objected so vigorously to the lede para, which used "mistake" etc., plus those words were then found throughout the article. Unlike you, however, I didn't feel like taking the time to explain just *why* these so-called "mistakes" might NOT be mistakes after all. Frankly, I don't know what the answer is -- both of you have positions that are very tenable.... That's why I said I hoped that a genius would come along to resolve things. Maybe it's you, James? Hayford Peirce 00:15, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
I hope you still tolerate me making you angry :-). Of course, there is a lot to say about the possibilities to exploit the rules to one's advantage. But to understand this, one first has to know the rules. (Maybe, this is only my mathematical thinking?) For example, the chess rules do not tell you that sacrificing a queen may be a brilliant move. One could have a sentence like: "One should be aware that tactical considerations may lead to intentionally perform actions which the rules punish as "mistakes"." Or one could replace the "He makes a mistake" and use something like:
"In this situation the following can happen" Peter Schmitt 10:11, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Simple rules

I saw Peter's comments and looked at the article. I see that the basic idea: a batter has to round the four bases ("cushions"), after having hit the ball, is not given in the beginning of the article. Neither is it stated how the field players can make this not happen. (I have more but my wife wants me to eat). --Paul Wormer 15:57, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

I hope it's snert that she has prepared for you, although it's probably too hot to enjoy that fine dish -- I sure love my own homemade version of it in the wintertime, however! To absolutely explain the playing-out of a baseball game is going to be a *long* business -- I wonder if, like speaking Basque, you have to be born into the culture to fully grasp it.... Hayford Peirce 16:46, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
A very brief overview of the game objectives - in the lede section - is coming. James F. Perry 17:01, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
Hayford, are you kidding, snert in Arizona? Even in your winter it is much too hot to really appreciate the dish. --Paul Wormer 11:21, 12 July 2009 (UTC)


Somehow, I thought there was a Glossary subpage. I guess I was wrong. Does that mean any glossary must be part of the main article? James F. Perry 17:06, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

'Tagged out' needs defining. A glossary seems like a good idea. Ro Thorpe 17:49, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
"Tagged out" means that a runner has been physically touched by the in-play baseball while it is being held by a member of the other team. An example: there's a base runner on first base. The batter hits the pitch into the outfield between the center fielder and the right fielder for a clean single. The runner advances to second base with no problem (even I, or my old granny could do that), but the runner then decides that the ball has been hit deep enough to the outfield that he can advance to third base also. So, running like crazy, he dashes past second base and heads for third. But, in the outfield, Rocket Arm Rheaux has retrieved the ball and throws it like a laser beam to the third baseman, who is crouching over his base like a hockey goaltender. The ball arrives a tenth of second before the runner (who is, of course sliding into the base), the third baseman catches it a foot off the ground, sweeps his glove down between the actual third base and the incoming feet -- and the runner is out! He has been "tagged out" by the third baseman. (In the old, *old* days, before gloves were used, the ball itself would have touched him. Now it is considered a legal "tag" if the glove *holding* the ball touches the runner. Baseball does evolve, but slowly, slowly....) Hayford Peirce 23:51, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
Just discovered this, very graphic, you should take up writing, Hayford, you really should. I think that was a part of our rounders games, actually. Ro Thorpe 00:10, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Writing!? Can people get paid for writing???? Hayford Peirce 00:18, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
I would have deleted the glossary myself, but did not want to do such a drastic step.
I think terms should be defined where they are used first (or very soon afterwards). (But, may be, there could be a Catalog of baseball jargon?) Peter Schmitt 23:07, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
I think words have to be defined as they're used. If you have to go to a link, or a Catalog to find out what a word means while you're reading the article, you have, in my opinion, destroyed the purpose of the encyclopedia. But somewhere, yes, there should be a list of terms. Hayford Peirce 23:51, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, indeed. And there could be references to cricketing vocab: for example, I didn't know that 'caught' was called a 'fly out'. And we need grammar too, verb or noun or both & how used. And in rounders, I'm pretty sure a catch ends the inning of the whole team. Ro Thorpe 00:18, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Does it matter if you're grey or white?

By the way, I notice one team usually seems to be in white, the other in grey. Is this significant? Home and away, perhaps? Ro Thorpe 17:56, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

In the old days, most of the teams on the road wore dull gray -- at home they were more colorful, or at least more fanciful. The classic example was the Yankees, who had their natty pinstripes on white at home, dull gray on the road. Today *many* on the uniforms are far more colorful than they used to be -- also they change more or less according to fashion. All except the Yankees and, mostly the Los Angeles Dodgers. There may be others. But all teams *do* have home uniforms and away uniforms. Don't ask me why.... Hayford Peirce 18:29, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I've seen a black one. Perhaps it's for illiterates, who can't read the logos. Ro Thorpe 18:50, 11 July 2009 (UTC)


It would not be difficult for me to draw something like [2]. I would skip the metric distances and make it ***.png (not ***.svg). Would it be of use?--Paul Wormer 08:18, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it would. In fact, I anticipate that this article will eventually be illustrated with several photos and diagrams. It would simplify in particular the explanation of the rules, description of the field of play, etc. James F. Perry 18:01, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Please comment on this drawing.
PD Image
Baseball field. Distance (in feet) from home plate to fence differs between 302' to 355' on the foul lines and 390' to 435' at center field.
(I can fix things). I already see that the lettering is small. --Paul Wormer 13:44, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
It's good. Ro Thorpe 16:15, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
It might be worth mentioning somewhere what the apostrophe actually means (people not familiar with baseball may not be familiar with these units either). --Daniel Mietchen 12:33, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

[unindent] I looked at this picture with a newly installed IE 8 and see the old version of the drawing (lettering in white boxes, infield white). Several times I cleared the cache, to no avail. Odd!--Paul Wormer 17:13, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

I would suggest removing the word "grass" from the outfield area (as well as the words "grass line"). In point of fact, the playing surface may be grass, but any more, is often artificial turf. It is enough just to leave the coloring without labelling (other than the word "outfield"). The caption or article section can explain about the playing surface. James F. Perry 17:55, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
Will do. Must "(dirt)" go to? (For the time being I deleted it.) --Paul Wormer 05:10, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
The latest version looks too dark and cramped on my own screen, particularly the smaller version in the Main Article. It looks better on the Talk page but doesn't seem as accessible as earlier versions. Hayford Peirce 16:39, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Fixing cramped is easy: in the talk page the size is 650px, while in the main page it was 450px. I assume that you don't like the brown, I uploaded a lighter version. When you or somebody else knows about RGB (s)he can give me the colors (s)he likes. There are three: outfield, infield (outside the bases) and infield (within the bases). PS. Don't forget to clear your cache! --Paul Wormer 07:14, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

watching baseball

A remark (question?) off-topic: While I appreciate that baseball is a developed game which is much more than throwing, hitting, running, I wonder what makes its fascination for crowds observing it in a stadium. I have once been at a game (in Skydome in Toronto) and it mainly consists of waiting, and very short, very quick action which hardly can be observed because all happens much too far away. Peter Schmitt 11:25, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Your comment concerns the appeal of the game to fans. Of course, here in America, we have grown up with the game, so that is one very important consideration. Even so, the large stadiums, with the fans somewhat removed in distance from the action, can seem very impersonal even to many who have grown up with the game. Add to that, there are the huge salaries of the players and the fact that the professional game has become a matter of big business.
As for myself, each Spring, I videotape the Redmond High School girls fastpitch (softball) games. In such a situation, one is a lot closer to the game, the field is scaled down, and you have real grass, real dirt, and real people. To me, it's the way the game is meant to be played. Also, as a youngster, my contact with organized baseball was with the Fort Walton Beach (Florida) Jets of the Class D Alabama-Florida League. Small time, small town minor league baseball. Today, you couldn't drag me into a major league baseball stadium to watch what I consider over-hyped glitz and show.
Each Fall, I also videotape the Issaquah H.S. girls soccer games. Many 'Merkins look at soccer (excuse me , Association football) as a bunch of people running around all over the place! There's just no accounting for taste, is there? James F. Perry 13:59, 12 July 2009 (UTC)


1. From 'Field of play': 'The region beyond the outfield fence but within the extension of the foul lines is home run territory.' This had me puzzled at first: wouldn't it be a good idea to mention the spectators?

2. What does 'bunt' mean?

3. The rest I understood, so well done. That's all, folks! Ro Thorpe 00:29, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

In answer to question #1: yes.
As for question #2, there will be a glossary.
James F. Perry 01:27, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
Please, if any of you two want any changes/additions to the drawing be very specific. I've never been in a MLB park in my life (but I do know the game, I played it a lot when in school). PS I don't think that it is stated explicitly that the fielders wear a special glove on their "wrong" hand (left hand for right-handed persons). --Paul Wormer 07:01, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
I think it would be easier to say that the glove is worn on their non-throwing hand. Hayford Peirce 17:24, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Glossary terms

Please add terms proposed for inclusion in the glossary section:

Pitching: strike, ball, balk, wild pitch, passed ball

Fielding: putout, assist, error, double play

Baserunning: stolen base, interference

Batting: bunt, hit-and-run


Playing field:

"soft" ball

Henry, can you substantiate the claim that softball uses a "softer" ball? Everything I've ever read about the subject says that the ball is just as hard, but larger. Have you have *caught* a "soft" ball with your bare hand when it was hard hit? Ouch! Hayford Peirce 14:47, 24 February 2011 (UTC)