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Baseball is a game played with a bat and ball. The equipment includes the gloves as well. The fundamentals of the game involve three steps. The first step is throwing the ball. Another step is hitting it. The final but not less challenging step is catching. Of course, the execution of these three tasks is more challenging than it sounds, and it is that challenge that compels players to play the game.
Unlike most games, a running clock does not limit the length of a game. The two competing teams play over a period of innings, which are subdivided into halves. Professional and college games are generally nine innings long.
During the first half of each inning, the visiting team bats and attempts to score points called runs, while the home team players take their respective defensive positions in the field. The defense's goal is to get the offensive team's players "out" in a variety of ways. After three outs are recorded, the teams switch. The batting team sends one player at a time to try and hit the ball.
The engine of the sport is composed of two baseball players - the pitcher and the batter. All of the action in a game revolves around these two combatants. The pitcher stands on a raised mound of dirt, called the pitcher's mound, which is 60 feet 6 inches (18.4 meters) from home plate in Major League Baseball. The batter stands on either side of the home base, called "the plate," holding a bat and facing the pitcher.
To set the game in motion, the pitcher attempts to throw it past the batter into the catcher's glove or make him hit it to put it in play. As the ball is put in play, the eight fielders try to catch it or throw out the batter (more on this later) so he can't get on base and ultimately score a point (a run). The batter's goal is to put it in play so that the eight fielders can't catch it or throw it to another fielder to record an out.
The equipment is very important as well. The defense wears gloves, a leather contraption that fits on the hand. A baseball is a white ball roughly three inches in diameter with red stitching. A softball is roughly twice as big, sometimes yellow (but no softer).
The offense uses a bat, which is made of wood in the professional ranks, and likely made of aluminum or a metal composite at amateur levels. Almost all softball bats are aluminum or metal.
The part of the field closest to the bases is called the infield, and the grassy farther reaches is called the outfield. The bases are 90 feet apart on the diamond, closer in children's leagues and softball. Other fields are variable, and the outfield fences or the amount of “foul territory” - the amount of ground that borders the field between the long white lines that connect first base to home plate and third base to home plate – varies from field to field.
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