In the sport of baseball, each of the nine players on a team is assigned a particular fielding position when it is their turn to play defense. Each position conventionally has an associated number, for use in scorekeeping by the official scorer: 1 (pitcher), 2 (catcher), 3 (first baseman), 4 (second baseman), 5 (third baseman), 6 (shortstop), 7 (left fielder), 8 (center fielder), and 9 (right fielder).Collectively, these positions are usually grouped into three groups: the outfield (left field, center field, and right field), the infield (first base, second base, third base, and shortstop), and the battery (pitcher and catcher). Traditionally, players within each group will often be more able to exchange positions easily (that is, a second baseman can usually play shortstop well, and a center fielder can also be expected to play right field); however, the pitcher and catcher are highly specialized positions and rarely will play at other positions.
Fielders must be able to catch the ball well, as catching batted balls before they bounce is one way they can put the batter out, as well as create opportunities to prevent the advance of, and put out other runners. In addition, they must be able to throw the ball well, with many plays in the game depending on one fielder collecting the hit ball and then throwing it to another fielder who, while holding the ball in their hand/glove, touches either a runner or the base the runner is forced to run to in order to record an out. Fielders often have to run, dive, and slide a great deal in the act of reaching, stopping, and retrieving a hit ball, and then setting themselves up to transfer the ball, all with the end goal of getting the ball as quickly as possible to another fielder. They also run the risk of colliding with incoming runners during a tag attempt at a base.
Fielders may have different responsibilities depending on the game situation. For example, when an outfielder is attempting to throw the ball from near the fence to one of the bases, an infielder may need to "cut off" the throw and then act as a relay thrower to help the ball cover its remaining distance to the target destination.
As a group, the outfielders are responsible for preventing home runs by reaching over the fence (and potentially doing a wall climb) for fly balls that are catchable. The infielders are the ones who generally handle plays that involve tagging a base or runner, and also need quick reflexes in order to catch a batted ball before it leaves the infield. The pitcher and catcher have special responsibilities to prevent base stealing, as they are the ones who handle the ball whenever it has not been hit. The catcher will also sometines attempt to block the plate in order to prevent a run being scored.
Softball is a game similar to baseball played with a larger ball on a smaller field. Softball is played competitively at club levels, the college level, and the professional level. The game was first created in 1887 in Chicago by George Hancock.
In baseball and softball, a double play is the act of making two outs during the same continuous play. Double plays can occur any time there is at least one baserunner and fewer than two outs.
Catcher is a position in baseball and softball. When a batter takes their turn to hit, the catcher crouches behind home plate, in front of the (home) umpire, and receives the ball from the pitcher. In addition to this primary duty, the catcher is also called upon to master many other skills in order to field the position well. The role of the catcher is similar to that of the wicket-keeper in cricket, but in cricket, wicketkeepers are increasingly known for their batting abilities.
An outfielder is a person playing in one of the three defensive positions in baseball or softball, farthest from the batter. These defenders are the left fielder, the center fielder, and the right fielder. As an outfielder, their duty is to catch fly balls and ground balls then to return them to the infield for the out or before the runner advances, if there are any runners on the bases. As an outfielder, they normally play behind the six players located in the field. By convention, each of the nine defensive positions in baseball is numbered. The outfield positions are 7, 8 and 9. These numbers are shorthand designations useful in baseball scorekeeping and are not necessarily the same as the squad numbers worn on player uniforms.
A first baseman, abbreviated 1B, is the player on a baseball or softball team who fields the area nearest first base, the first of four bases a baserunner must touch in succession to score a run. The first baseman is responsible for the majority of plays made at that base. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the first baseman is assigned the number 3.
A center fielder, abbreviated CF, is the outfielder in baseball who plays defense in center field – the baseball and softball fielding position between left field and right field. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the center fielder is assigned the number 8.
An infielder is a baseball player stationed at one of four defensive "infield" positions on the baseball field.
The rules of baseball differ slightly from league to league, but in general share the same basic game play.
In baseball, part of the infielders' and pitcher's jobs is to cover bases. That is, they stand next to a base in anticipation of receiving the ball thrown from another fielder, so that they may make a play on an opposing baserunner who is approaching that base. On a force play, the fielder covering the base stands with one foot on that base.
In baseball and softball, while there are nine named fielding positions, players, with the exception of the pitcher and catcher, may move around freely. The positioning for the other seven positions is very flexible, although they all have regular depths—distances from home plate, and sometimes lateral positioning. A shift means that a player is playing in a noticeably different location than the norm for his positioning. A fielder who is playing shallow or in is playing closer to home plate, while a player playing deep is playing farther from home plate than normal.
A right fielder, abbreviated RF, is the outfielder in baseball or softball who plays defense in right field. Right field is the area of the outfield to the right of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the right fielder is assigned the number 9.
A hit and run is a high risk, high reward offensive strategy used in baseball. It uses a stolen base attempt to try to place the defending infielders out of position for an attempted base hit.
Baseball scorekeeping is the practice of recording the details of a baseball game as it unfolds. Professional baseball leagues hire official scorers to keep an official record of each game, but many fans keep score as well for their own enjoyment. Scorekeeping is usually done on a printed scorecard and, while official scorers must adhere precisely to one of the few different scorekeeping notations, most fans exercise some amount of creativity and adopt their own symbols and styles.
This is an alphabetical list of selected unofficial and specialized terms, phrases, and other jargon used in baseball, along with their definitions, including illustrative examples for many entries.