- 1[uncountable] a game played especially in the U.S. by two teams of nine players, using a bat and ball. Each player tries to hit the ball and then run around four bases before the other team can return the ball a baseball bat/team/stadium
- 2[countable] the ball used in this game More Aboutbaseball There are nine players on a baseball team. One team is at bat and the other team fields. The pitcher stands on the pitcher's mound and pitches (= throws) the ball to a batter from the other team, who stands next to home plate. The catcher stands behind home plate and catches and returns balls that were not batted to the pitcher. The batter tries to score runs (= points) by hitting the ball and running around the four bases, which are at each corner of a 90-foot square called the diamond. The batter can stop at any of the bases and then run on to the next base when the next batter hits the ball. If a batter hits the ball so far forward that it goes out of the field, this is a home run, and the batter is allowed to touch all four bases and automatically gains a point for himself or herself as well as any batter who was standing on a base. If the batter tries to hit the ball but misses it, this is called a strike. After three strikes, the batter is out and the next batter comes to bat. The expressions three strikes and you're out and the three strikes rule comes from baseball, and is used to describe a law that says that people who commit three crimes will automatically go to prison. If the batter hits the ball behind or anywhere outside first or third base, this is a foul ball and counts as a strike, unless the batter is already on two strikes. If the ball is pitched outside a certain area (= the strike zone) above home plate and the batter does not try to hit it, this is called a ball. If the batter gets four balls, they automatically get to go to first base. A batter can also be out if one of the fielders catches the ball after the batter has hit it and it has not touched the ground; if a fielder picks up or catches the ball and steps on one of the bases as the batter is running toward it; or if a fielder tags (= touches) a batter with the ball as the batter is running between bases. When the team in the field has had three outs (= gotten three batters out), the teams switch places and the team in the field is now up (= has a turn at bat). One turn of batting for each team is called an inning. One game usually consists of nine innings, at the end of which the team with the most runs is the winner.
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