BASEBALL





The national game of America. (See chapter on baseball.) The game is

played by eighteen persons, nine on a side, called "nines." The

positions are pitcher, catcher, first base, second base, third base,

shortstop, right-field, left-field, centre-field. The first six

positions are called the in-field, and the last three, the out-field.

The diamond or field where the game is played is a square plot of

ground with sides ninety feet long. At each corner of the square are

bases called first, second, third and home plate. A game consists of

nine innings, in each of which both teams have an opportunity to bat

the ball and to score runs. The players bat in turn and attempt to

reach the various bases without being put out by their opponents. Each

year the rules are changed in some slight particulars, consequently a

beginner in baseball must be thoroughly familiar with the rules of the

game before attempting to play. The pitcher attempts to pitch the ball

over the home plate to the catcher and the batsman endeavours to hit

it. If the ball after being hit is caught by one of the opposing

players, or if it is thrown to the base to which the batsman is

running before he reaches the base, he is "out." Otherwise he is

"safe" and will try to make the next base. If he completes the circuit

of the four bases without being put out, he scores a run for his team

or nine. When a player makes the entire circuit without being forced

to stop for safety he makes a "home run." A hit which gains him a

single base only is called a "base hit." Similarly if he reaches

second base it is a "two-bagger," and third base, a "three-bagger."



After three players are put out, the other side has its "innings," and

at the completion of nine full innings the side having scored the

greatest number of runs is the winner. The game of baseball has become

very scientific and the salaries of professional players are almost as

high as those of the highest salaried men in business life.



The ball used in the game is made of the best all wool yarn with a

horsehide cover and a rubber centre. Baseball bats are usually made of

ash.





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