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Batter Up! A Baseball Guide for Beginners

baseball bat, baseball glove, and baseball on dirt baseball field

Often called America’s favorite pastime, baseball is fun to watch and play once you get into the swing of things. To impress your friends with all your on-field knowledge, we’ve prepared this baseball guide for beginners. Follow along to learn everything you need to know about the sport, from positions to the playing field and everything in between.

Figuring Out the Baseball Field

The first step in learning about baseball is figuring out the playing field. Every game is played by two teams on a diamond-shaped dirt and grass field that’s split up into two sections: 


The dirt portion of the field is known as the infield. The interior area features a home plate at the bottom corner. Right-handed and left-handed chalked batter’s boxes sit on opposite sides of home plate. Three bases are positioned counterclockwise in each corner of the diamond, and a pitcher’s mound is situated in the center.


The grass field stretching behind the infield, bordered by the first and third baselines, is the outfield. Teams operate out of the outfield in three distinct sections: center field, left field, and right field. 

baseball field diagram

While baseball is a classic, pickleball is hot and new. Read our article to learn how to play pickleball and more.

How to Play Baseball

No matter the level of competition, the way to play baseball remains the same. Here are some answers to questions about gameplay: 

Who are the team members in baseball?

Every team member plays a crucial role on the field. Split between the infield and the outfield, positions include the: 

  • Pitcher: Standing at the pitcher’s mound, they start each play by throwing the baseball to the batter. 
  • Relief Pitcher: Pitchers who enter a game after it already started, either to get outs needed to win or replace an injured or poor-performing starter pitcher. 
  • Catcher: Crouches behind home plate and receives pitches that batters miss. They also field and catch certain hits, tag players out at home plate, and throw out runners attempting to steal bases by moving to the next base before a ball is swung at. 
  • First Baseman: Positioned near first base, they catch throws from teammates, tag first base to record outs, and throw the ball to bases and home plate. 
  • Second Baseman: Defends the area between first and second base. 
  • Third Baseman: Defends the area between third base and home plate. 
  • Shortstop: A special position that defends the area between second and third base, fielding balls, covering second base on double play attempts, and providing backup to the rest of the infield. 
  • Left Fielder: Plays on the left side of the outfield, fielding balls hit to that area.
  • Center Fielder: Positioned in the middle of the outfield, covering a large area with speed, agility, and a strong throwing arm.
  • Right Fielder: Plays on the right side of the outfield, fielding balls hit to that area.
  • Batter/Hitter: Offensive players on the field who take on the opposing team’s pitcher, trying to hit the ball and score for their team.
  • Runner: Once a player hits the ball and runs towards a base, they’re a runner. Runners can be on first, second, or third base or reach home plate to score. 

two baseball teams playing baseball on a baseball field

How many quarters are there in baseball?

Unlike football or basketball, baseball isn’t played in quarters or halves. Instead, every game takes place in nine untimed innings. During the top (first half) of an inning, one team is at-bat on offense, with a rotation of nine players taking turns to try and hit the ball from home plate and run the bases, while the other team has nine players on defense, pitching, throwing, and fielding balls in the infield and outfield. In the bottom (second half) of an inning, the teams swap places. 

What is the objective of baseball?

Baseball’s points are known as runs, and in every game, teams try to score as many as they can while preventing their opponents from doing the same. In each inning, batters on the offensive team try to hit balls thrown by the pitcher as far and as skillfully as possible. Pitches and hits come in a variety of styles based on the strategies and strengths of players and teams.

Once a batter successfully hits the ball, they’ll attempt to run around the bases, stopping at one to be safe or making it back to home plate to score a run. They may also hit the ball out of the area of the play for a home run and get to run back to home plate freely. However, if the batter hits the ball and it’s immediately caught by a fielder, thrown to a base before they get there, or they get tagged with the ball, they’re out.

As soon as the defensive team gets three outs, it marks the second half of an inning, and they’ll transition to offense. One out can be achieved if a batter gets three strikes while they’re at bat. A strike occurs when a batter swings and misses at a pitched ball in the strike zone around their torso. Hitting a foul ball that lands between home plate and first and third base when a batter has two or fewer strikes is also a strike.

A pitch that’s thrown beyond the strike zone and a batter purposefully lets pass is called a ball. If a pitcher throws four balls during an at-bat, the batter gets awarded a walk to first base. An umpire makes all judgment calls based on the game’s rulebook. 

Baseball season stretches out to the beginning of football season, and we’ve got a guide for that, too! Learn how to play football and get a head start on the game’s positions and penalties. 

Baseball Lingo You Should Know

Baseball has its own language filled with words and terms that are unique to the sport. Get to know the game’s vocabulary:

  • Bullpen: The area where pitchers warm up before entering the game. 
  • Dugout: The bench area where players and managers sit or stand.
  • Bases Loaded: When a runner is on all three bases and another player goes up to bat. 
  • Single/Double/Triple: When batters hit a pitched ball and safely make it to first, second, or third base without stopping. 
  • Grand Slam: A home run hit with the bases loaded, resulting in four runs scored. 
  • Runs Batted In (RBI): A popular statistic that tracks the number of runs scored after a batter's hits.
  • Bunt: A pitched ball that a batter taps instead of hits. 
  • Double Play: When the defense records two outs on a single play, typically forcing a runner out at second base and then throwing to first base before another runner gets there. 
  • Error: When a fielder makes a mistake that an average fielder wouldn’t make and negatively impacts their team. 

five baseballs in a row on a baseball field

Beyond How to Play Baseball

This baseball guide is perfect for the start of the sport’s season, and as bat swinging and baserunning heats up, basketball season enters its most exciting time of playoffs and tournaments. For everything you need to know about hoops, check out our basketball guide for beginners. You’ll get all the important info about the game, just like you did here!

Baseball FAQs

1. When was baseball invented?

Abner Doubleday is credited with inventing baseball in 1839

2. When is baseball season?

The 2024 Major League Baseball (MLB) season begins March 20, 2024, and runs through September 29, 2024. 

3. How many innings in baseball?

There are nine innings in a baseball game. 

4. How long is a baseball game? 

Baseball games vary in time; however, professional baseball games typically last around three hours.