Friday, February 1, 2008

Idiot's Guide to Baseball

Well, recently, I've noticed that some readers seem to have a very low baseball IQ, which isn't surprising considering how low their overall IQ is. I'm talking specifically about my friends Eagle, SheTanya, and a third person who was unwilling to be named (actually, none were willing, but I named them anyways). Therefore, I've decided to give them (and anyone else who needs it) a little bit of a background in order to help them understand what we write about here at Twins on Twins.

Let's start with some definitions, first with the description given by one of our wonderful trio:

Pitch- "When the pitcher throws the ball to the batter." Very good start, Eagle. A pitch is when the pitcher throws the ball towards the batter. It starts (for the most part) each play.

Strike- "When the pitcher throws the ball and the batter either swings and misses or gives an indication that he would go for it and it's a good pitch." Well, it's good until the "gives an indication that he would go for it," where it quite frankly falls apart faster than Lindsay Lohan's life did. A strike is either when the pitcher throws the ball and batter swings and misses or when the umpire determines the ball was in the strike zone.

Strike Zone- "It's a zone with a hittable ball." Not terrible, but too generic. It's more like an imaginary area in mid-air where the pitcher has to throw the ball in order to get a strike even if the batter does not swing. It goes (approximately) from the batter's knees to his belt, vertically, and horizontally, it goes from one side of home plate to the other.

Ball- "It doesn't go over the plate and it's the pitcher's fault." Not worded too well, but overall it's better than I expected. It's when the ball, as determined by the umpire doesn't go through the strike zone and the batter does not swing.

At Bat (as a noun)- "I don't know." Okay... that wasn't good. Pathetic, actually. None of the three could come up with anything? Well, anyway, each time a different batter comes to bat it is called an "at bat." Technically, not every time is an at bat, but to keep it simple we'll ignore that for now.

Foul Ball- "Poultry. Right? Or birds?" Wow. SheTanya. I expected more. I guess I can only blame myself for that. I shouldn't have. The real definition is a pitch that the batter hits into foul territory, which includes the stands. For now, let's just remember that a foul ball is considered a strike. If a batter has two strikes and hits a foul ball, however, it does not count as a strike, but basically like a re-do.

In each at bat, a batter is allowed to get three strikes or four balls. If he gets three strikes, a batter is called out. This is referred to as a strikeout. If a batter gets four balls, he is automatically allowed to walk to first base. This is called a bases on balls or, more commonly, a walk. Of course, a batter could do neither by putting the ball in play, and will do this a good portion of the time. That is something we will cover in the future.

So there we have it, the first entry in this ongoing series intended to educate the less educated (and less intelligent) among us. Come back next week to read another!

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