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How to be a Great Baseball Fan

How to be a Great Baseball Fan

How to be a Great Baseball Fan

Whether you grew up watching your favorite baseball team with your family on the living room television or are just looking to become a fan of the game, baseball can be one of the best and most interesting sports to watch.  And while the rules of baseball may seem complicated, they don’t have to be. 

In fact, simply understanding the basic rules will help you quickly become acquainted with the game and will help you become a lifelong fan in no time.  Below, we are going to review the top ways to become a great baseball fan.  In addition, we will review some of the common rules in baseball to help you become better acquainted with the sport and its many facets.

Basic Baseball Rules

Before you can become a great baseball fan, you will first need to understand the basic aspects of the sport.  In fact, you really cannot be a great fan of baseball without understanding the basic rules, and this stands true for other sports as well, including hockey, soccer, football, and basketball.

Baseball is a relatively simple sport that can be complicated by more avid fans and sports commentators looking into specific nuances of the game.  However, if you are looking to just get started as a fan or viewer, then the basic rules of the game are below.

  • The object of the game is to score more runs than your opponent.  This is done by rounding the bases and crossing the home plate as many times as possible and more times than your opponent.
  • Baseball is played by two teams of 9 players
  • Baseball, as compared to basketball and football, is played in innings.  In a typical baseball game, there are 9 total innings, which each team being afforded three outs before the end of an inning half.  The completion of an inning is determined when six total outs have been completed against both teams combined.
  • Baseball games are played on a baseball diamond, so called due to its shape.  The baseball diamond consists of a pitcher’s mound, 4 bases, and an infield and outfield.
  • The fielding team, that is, the team on defense, consists of 9 total positions, which are:
How to be a Great Baseball Fan
  • The pitcher, who stands on the pitcher’s mound
    • The catcher, who stands behind the home plate and receives the pitcher’s throws
    • The 1st baseman, who stands near first base
    • The 2nd baseman, who stands near second base
    • The 3rd  baseman, who stands near third base
    • A shortstop, who is situated between 2nd and 3rd base
    • A leftfielder, who is situated in the outfield behind the 2nd and 3rd bases
    • A centerfielder, who is situated in the outfield behind the 2nd base
    • A rightfielder, who is situated in the outfield behind the 1st and 2nd base
  • To play a game of baseball, you will need a baseball bat, a batting helmet, baseball gloves for the fielding team, and 4 bases situated in a manner that resembles a square and that is equal distance between each base to the next, i.e., 90-feet from home base to the 1st base and subsequently 90-feet from 1st base to 2nd base, 90-feet from 2nd base to 3rd base and 90-feet from 3rd base back to the home base.
  • To start play, the visiting team will bat first while the home team will start on the field on defense.  The first batter steps up to the batter’s box, which is either side of the home plate and the batter must have both feet inside the box.
  • The batter will attempt to score a run by hitting the pitched ball past the outer field walls, so called a homerun.  However, hitting the ball into fair territory, or in a position where a fielding player is unable to catch the ball from its initial hit, will allow the batter to attempt to run to first, second, third, or the home bases.
  • The batter will be deemed “out” if he is assessed 3 strikes.
How to be a Great Baseball Fan
  • A strike occurs either when a batter fails to hit the ball that is thrown in the strike zone, which is the area between the batter’s shoulders and knees.  This can occur off of a missed swing or when a batter fails to swing at a pitch.  Similarly, if the batter hits a thrown pitch, but the ball is hit out of bounds and with fewer than two strikes are against him, it will be counted as a strike, so called a foul ball.
  • A batter cannot strike out on a foul ball.  If a batter has two strikes against him, there is technically no limit to the number of additional foul balls he is allowed to hit.  With two strikes, a batter can only strike out on a swing and a miss or on a pitched ball which he fails to swing at that is in the strike zone.
  • A “ball” occurs when the pitcher throws the baseball outside the strike zone and the batter does not attempt to swing at the pitched ball.
  • The batter is considered a runner if he hits the pitched ball into fair territory, after 4 balls are thrown by the pitcher, or he is hit by a pitch.
  • While a batter is considered out after three strikes, he can also be called out if he hits the ball and it is caught while in the air, also known as a fly ball.
  • However, a runner is out when a fielder tags him with the ball when he is no longer touching a base, when he runs more than 3-feet out of the baseline to avoid being tagged, or when he runs past a base runner that is ahead of him.
How to be a Great Baseball Fan

Becoming a Great Baseball Fan

Now that you have a basic understanding of the rules of the sport, it’s time to become a great fan.  Below, we will discuss some of the best, and easiest, ways to become a great baseball fan.

  • Pick a Single Team to Follow (and root for) – before you can become a great baseball fan, you will need to choose a single baseball team to root for.  And with 30 MLB teams to choose from, the choices can be daunting.  However, we always recommend choosing an MLB team that is closest to you as that will allow you to watch the games on your local broadcast and to take a trip out to the stadium.
  • Purchase Some Team Gear and Merchandise – a true and real fan will have some of their favorite team’s merchandise or gear with them.  Doing so not only helps to support your team, but also signifies to others your fandom and support of the team.  And while most big-box retailers will sell local team merchandise, you can also purchase authentic MLB merchandise and gear online.
  • Always Cheer for Your Team – no matter what, a great fan always stands with their team of choice.  And while you are definitely allowed to bemoan a poor season or game, you should always root for them to win.
How to be a Great Baseball Fan
  • Go to a Game at the Stadium – MLB teams play a total of 162 games per season, not including the playoffs.  And with so many games to choose from, a great fan will make it a priority to make it to one of them.  We suggest going with family and friends to make the experience more enjoyable and to allow them to help you understand the intricacies of the game as they occur.
  • Cheer for Your Team – when appropriate, be sure to cheer for your team.  If someone begins to chant, “let’s go Yankees”, be sure to join along and give your team the confidence they need to continue play.
  • Become Familiar with Your Team’s Starting Lineup – the starting lineup consists of the initial 9 players to start a baseball game.  A true fan is familiar with their team’s starting lineup.  And while you don’t need to know their exact numbers and percentages, you should at least be familiar with their names and basic details.
How to be a Great Baseball Fan
  • Start Watching Your Favorite Team on TV – while the most avid fans will try to watch all 162 games of their favorite team, you should start off by watching a few games on tv.  Not only will doing so help you to acquaint yourself with the players and the game, but it will also create a stronger emotional connection and bond to the team.
  • Watch Baseball Documentaries – baseball, so called America’s Sport, is one of the most widely discussed and documented sports in the country.  And if you want to be a great baseball fan, then take some time to watch some documentaries on the sport to better help you understand the history and significance of the game.  We highly recommend watching some of the below documentaries to get a better understanding on the game.
  • Have Fun – baseball is, after all, just a game.  And while being a fan can make the experience more enjoyable, you should always try to just have fun and enjoy rooting for your team.  Through the wins and losses, baseball is a great sport to watch and play.  And with 162 games in the regular season, becoming a fan and watching the games will help you to relax and enjoy the company of friends, family, and loved ones.