Baseball5

Last updated
Baseball5
WBSC Baseball5.jpg
Highest governing body World Baseball Softball Confederation
NicknamesB5
Characteristics
ContactLimited
Team members5 (plus 3 substitutes)
Mixed-sex Single or mixed
Type Safe haven game
Equipment(Rubber) Baseball5 ball
Presence
Olympic Youth Olympics from 2026
World Championships Baseball5 World Cup Youth Baseball5 World Cup

Baseball5 (B5) is an internationally played safe haven game with many of the same rules as baseball and softball, and is governed alongside those sports by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC). [1]

Contents

The game revolves around two teams of five players taking turns playing offense and defense, with each of the offensive team's players taking turns hitting a small rubber ball with their bare hands into the field of play (which is a 21 m (68.90 ft)-square), [2] and then running counterclockwise around four bases (13 m (42.65 ft) apart) laid out in a square shape to score a run, while the defensive team tries to eliminate ("get out") offensive players before they complete their trip around the bases to prevent them from scoring. Outs occur either when a hit ball is caught before touching the ground, or (in specific situations) when a defender with the ball touches either a base or a runner. Offensive players can also get themselves out by illegally hitting the ball.

The teams switch roles after three outs are made, with an "inning" being completed when both teams have played offense once. The game is played to five innings, with any ties being broken by playing extra innings as necessary, and games generally lasting 15 to 20 minutes. Unlike baseball/softball, there is no pitcher, with the batter (offensive player who hits the ball) starting each play with the ball, which is the only equipment used in the game. [3] [4] [5]

The WBSC proposed the game in 2018 with the intention of growing baseball/softball on a global level, claiming that the game's low cost, fast pace, and small field make it a more accessible and appealing entry point to those sports, [6] [7] and organizes a mixed-gender B5 World Cup for senior and youth players in alternating years, with teams required to field at least two active players per gender. [8] [9] [10] The game is also scheduled to be played in a mixed-gender format at the 2026 Summer Youth Olympics, [11] and has started to find adoption in schools, national championships, and other international events around the world. [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]

History

B5 was inspired by similar games that have been played on the streets in Latin America and elsewhere for decades, such as "cuatro esquinas" (four corners) in Cuba [17] and "pelotica de goma" (little rubber ball) [18] in Venezuela. [7] [19] In some cases, B5 significantly diverges from the rules of these games; [20] for example, it does not feature a pitcher, as is done in one street variation in Colombia, [21] and players are allowed to run the bases, as opposed to only walking, as is required in "cuatro esquinas". [22]

The WBSC invented B5 in part to increase the odds that a sport similar to baseball and softball will be played in the Olympics, [23] with B5 meant to contribute to an ultimate goal of having a billion fans in the baseball-softball community by 2030 [24] [25] [26] and helping to demonstrate the global reach of the games, [27] as well as to create a game that would be more accessible and cheap, [6] as the only equipment used in B5 is the rubber ball, [8] [28] and the field is much smaller than a baseball diamond or softball field, [29] with the game being playable indoors or outdoors, [30] even during the winter. [4] In this respect, as well as the fact that there are fewer players required to play a game, [31] B5 is meant to imitate smaller, more urban variants of other major sports, such as 3x3 basketball, futsal, and rugby sevens. [32] [33] Inclusiveness is meant to be another goal of B5, [34] [35] with the game having been demonstrated at a refugee camp in Jordan, [36] and being scheduled to be the first mixed-gender team sport in an Olympic event. [11] In addition, the game is meant to be both simpler to learn, [37] and more exciting, with players participating more frequently throughout the game. [32] Another claimed benefit is that with B5 being introduced across the entire world at the same time, no one country is likely to dominate the game; [38] the lack of the pitcher role, which is highly specialized, contributes to this. [29]

The game has been demonstrated and played in various places across the world, [39] such as in the United States during the MLB All-Star Week, [40] in the 2021 Bulgarian Olympic Festival, [41] and on the sidelines of the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Argentina and the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Japan. [42] [43] It is being implemented in many schools in some countries, like Australia and France. [44] [13] [14] [45]

Rules and gameplay

Field

The dimensions of the B5 field, which is a 21 m (68.90 ft)-square comprising fair and foul territory. Handmade Baseball5 field diagram.png
The dimensions of the B5 field, which is a 21 m (68.90 ft)-square comprising fair and foul territory.

The infield is a 13 m (42.65 ft)-square, with a base in every corner. The fair territory is a 18 m (59.06 ft)-square, with one of the corners coinciding with the home plate (the final base). The batter’s box is a 3 m (9.84 ft)-square. It is placed outside of the fair territory and is built on the extension of the two foul lines (which distinguish fair and foul territory, and sit in fair territory) crossing each other at the home plate corner. There is also a "no-hit zone", which is the area between home plate and a line drawn between two points that are each 4.5 metres (14.76 ft) (or 3 metres (9.84 ft) for the U-15 age category) down the two foul lines from the home plate corner; this area is not part of fair territory. [3]

Ideal shape and size of all bases is a 50 cm (19.69 in)-square, with the bases being marked on the ground (i.e. they are not physical cushions like in baseball/softball.) In order to avoid collisions, the first base is "doubled" in foul territory. The ideal height of the fences bounding the field is 1 m (3.28 ft). However, every league or tournament organisation may decide on other ways of limiting the field of play, such as using existing walls or marking the ground with lines.

Ball

The only piece of equipment used is a hollow rubber ball with a circumference of 208.4 mm (8.20 in). [3]

Offense

Baseball5 hitting Cuba Baseball5 game.jpg
Baseball5 hitting

The Visitor team starts the game in offense, with the Home team on defense. The goal of the offensive team is to have each of its players hit the ball and then run counterclockwise around all four bases in order without being eliminated by the defense, thus scoring one run for their team. The act of hitting takes place while a hitter is entirely in the batter's box and shall remain within the lines until the hit ball leaves their hand. The ball has to be hit hard either with a palm or a fist. The first bounce has to be at a minimum distance of 3 metres (9.8 ft) from home plate (i.e. not in the "no-hit zone"), and in fair ground. The batter in the action of running towards first base, after putting the ball in play, has to touch the base in foul territory. In order to stay safe, the batter has to remain in the area included within the base and the 1.5 m (4.92 ft)-safe area extension attached to it in foul territory.

Offensive self-elimination

If a play occurs where the batter failed to legally hit the ball, then the play is canceled and the batter is eliminated (i.e. any runners who got out or advanced around the bases during the play return to their bases as if the play never happened.)

How the offensive players eliminate themselves due to illegal behaviors/actions:

  • The batter is eliminated if they fail to legally hit the ball:
    • By touching (stepping) on one of the batter's box lines while hitting the ball
    • By hitting the ball on its first bounce into foul territory or in the “no-hit” zone.
    • By completely missing the ball in the attempt of hitting
    • By intentionally faking to hit the ball
    • By not making a hit ball touch the fair ground before touching the fences or going above the fences
    • By not giving the hit ball enough momentum to reach the outfield fence (i.e. the boundary of fair territory which is beyond the infield) after its first bounce(s), unless it is touched by a defender [46]
    • By not respecting the batting order and hitting in place of a teammate
  • A baserunner is eliminated:
    • By being hit by a legally hit ball
    • By leaving their base before the batter hits the ball
    • By passing a teammate while in the action of running the bases
    • By being tagged while they and other runner(s) are on the same base. The one who batted most recently shall be called "out"
    • By sliding in the attempt to safely reach a base or in the attempt to avoid a tag

Special batting order situation

In a situation with bases loaded and two outs (two offensive players having been eliminated), if the runner at third base has to be the next hitter in the batting order, the runners at first and second bases each advance one base, the runner on third base goes to hit, and a pinch runner is placed on first base. In teams with only five players, the first player "called out" (eliminated) in that inning becomes pinch runner on first base. The batting order shall always be respected.

Defense

A Baseball5 game in Rome, with team France attempting to get a Cuban runner out (May 2018) Baseball5 defense.jpg
A Baseball5 game in Rome, with team France attempting to get a Cuban runner out (May 2018)

The five players (1st Base, 2nd Base, Midfielder, Shortstop, and 3rd Base, from right to left) [47] of the defensive team shall all be in fair territory when the batter hits the ball.

Elimination methods

How the defense makes "outs" (eliminates offensive players) using the ball:

  • By touching the base (while in possession of the ball) to which a runner is "forced" to run (the batter is always forced to run to first base, and any runner must run to the next base if they are on a base to which a teammate is forced to run.)
  • By catching a hit ball before it touches the ground; further outs can be made if any runner left the base they were on before the catch, as they are required to return to that base.
  • By tagging a runner when he/she is not on a base (touching the ball, held in the defensive player's hand, to the runner)

Ball leaving the field

If the ball leaves the court due to a defensive error (missed throw or missed catch of a thrown ball), [48] each runner is awarded an extra base (i.e. the batter goes to 2nd base, and all other runners advance 2 bases as well). However, no extra base is awarded for a ball leaving the field for any other reason (i.e. the batter only goes to 1st base if the hit ball rebounds out of play off a defender.) [49]

End of the game

The game ends at the end of the fifth inning if one team has scored more runs than the opponent. Should the Home Team be ahead on the score after the Guest Team has completed its fifth offensive inning, the game is over and the Home Team wins. For matches that are played as a best-of-three series of games, the team that wins two games wins the match.

Tiebreaker

In case of a tie game, the teams shall play and complete extra inning(s) until one team scores more runs than the opponent. The player scheduled to hit fifth for the sixth inning (i.e. the player who batted last in the fifth inning, and whose name precedes the first batter of the sixth inning) is placed on first base as a runner to start the inning. The players scheduled to hit fifth and fourth in the seventh inning are placed on first and second base, and so on with three runners to start the following innings until the game ends.

Run-ahead rule

A game is over if a team leads by 15 runs at the end of the third inning or by 10 at the end of the fourth. Should a team reach a 10-run (or more) advantage during the top (first half) of the fifth inning, the game shall be completed.

Differences from baseball and softball

Governance

At the international level, B5 is administered by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC). [54] Within each country, it is administered by the national baseball and/or softball governing body. [55] [56]

Competitions

B5 competitions are played throughout the world, with national championships played in countries such as Tunisia, Taiwan, and the Dominican Republic, [57] [58] [12] and international championships such as the World Cups being played each year.

International Tournaments

The Baseball5 World Cup (B5WC) and Youth Baseball5 World Cup (YB5WC) will be administered by the WBSC, with both tournaments alternating and happening every two years, and following the general format of having 50 games played between 12 national teams over 7 days. Continental qualifiers for each tournament will be played during their off-year. [59] [9] The 2025 YB5WC will act as a qualifier for the mixed-gender Baseball5 event to be held in the Dakar 2026 Youth Olympic Games (YOG). [10]

The B5WC's and YOG event were originally scheduled to start in 2020 (in Mexico) and 2022 respectively, but were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [10] [60]

WBSC's premier events:

Multi-sport events:

Minor events:

Domestic Tournaments

See also

Related Research Articles

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