The Baseball Page is about links to Professional Baseball teams. Major League Baseball - MLB, National Pro Fastpitch - NPF, and Minor League Baseball - MiLB including the Pacific Coast League - PCL, and International League Baseball - ILB. These two MiLB leagues are Triple A, (AAA), Baseball leagues. The third AAA league is the Mexican Baseball League, which is represented by a Liga Mexicana de Beisbol Logo, linked to their standings page, as the league and all the teams are in Spanish. The Mexican League name is linked to the Home Page.
The Game of Baseball was invented in 1839 by Abner Doubleday from Cooperstown, New York, declared by the National League President in 1908. But, where did Baseball come from? Doubleday was attending West Point in 1839 and may have invented some form of Townball that became very popular. Later documented as the ‘Knickerbocker Rules, 1845’ - they are the first known published rules of modern Baseball. But, Baseball has undoubtedly come from the English game of Cricket and maybe two others called Cat and Rounders. A similar form of Bat, Base and Run Baseball was played in the 1700’s and is referred to as English Baseball. Since the 1845 Knickerbocker Rules, authored by Alexander Joy Cartwright for the Manhattan Ball club mentioned, the evolution of Baseball is well documented: with the standardized revision of the rules in 1857. The first Openly Professional Baseball Team began touring the U.S. in 1869 and Professional Leagues formed in the 1870’s.
Major League Baseball started in 1876 as the National League of Professional Baseball with 8 teams agreeing to play a 70 game season schedule. In 1882 a rival League formed called the American Association. In 1884 the National League moved to a 112 game season. A third professional league called the Player’s League started play in 1891 and folded that year. The American Association also folded in 1891 sending teams and players to the National League. In 1892 the schedule was increased to 140 - 154 games. In 1899, the Western League changed it’s name to the American League and in 1901 began playing with the first season schedule of 140 games. The 1st World Series was played in 1903. The Federal League Baseball Company Inc. began in 1914 and disbanded in 1915 giving 1 team each to the AL and NL. In 1919 the 154 game schedule began. Over the years, teams have come and gone, changing names and cities. Since this time, records have continued to fall and new stats are being kept all with their beginnings back to the start of the National League. The one thing that does remain the same is the annual Final Championship: the World Series, affectionately known as the ‘Fall Classic’.
Professional Baseball Organizations are very big operations with an extensive Minor Leagues ‘Farm’ system. Each MLB team has teams at the AAA, AA and A levels; sometimes more than one. The PCL and ILB teams above, are shown with a small linked Logo to their Major League affiliate. Page navigation links, small text of section titles or areas of a page, are also present and when selected take you to the area - without extensive scrolling.
Major League Baseball has a 162 game regular season from the beginning of April to the end of September/Start of October with the Post Season Playoffs in October. The Playoffs End with the World Series Championship in mid October. Only the 6 Division Champions and 1 Wild Card team, from each league, make the Playoffs. The MLB is divided into 2 Leagues: American and National, and each is divided into 3 Divisions. Home Field advantage for the World Series is determined from the outcome of the annual All-Star Game, where the winners - often coached by a Playoff contender - secures the advantage for their league.
The National Pro Fastpitch - NPF is a Professional women’s Softball Baseball league and is just a few years old. The NPF started in 1991 as the NFA - National Fastpitch Association - and participated in an exhibition series in the Midwest in 1993. The name was changed to the WPF - Women’s Pro Fastpitch with a tour of the United States in 1994 and received endorsements from the National League President, Len Coleman, and the former MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. A 2nd tour completed in 1995. In 1997 the WPF began league play and after the 1998 season their name was changed again, to the WPSL - Women’s Pro Softball League. The 2001 season was cancelled in favour of an ‘All Pro Tour’ with National and Olympic teams for promotion of the game. Success and expansion saw Marketing and Development, in 2002, with the planning of the Fastpitch Festival for the 2003 season. The League name was also changed, at this time, to the NPF - National Pro Fastpitch. The League’s inaugural season started with 6 teams in 2004. The NPF is a Major League Baseball “Official Development Partner”. The women Pitch underhand - up to 70MPH - and play 7 innings under NCAA Official rules. A 48 game regular season from late April/early June to mid August, for 7 teams, leads to playoffs that produce an NPF Champion at the end of August. For differences to the Official rules of Baseball, see the NCAA Softball rule differences, in the Pro Fastpitch Game section, at the bottom of the page.
Each Baseball league and team name are linked to their home page. Each Baseball team Logo is linked the team’s roster, or player list, page. Each Baseball league Logo is linked to the league standings page. All the Logos and pictures have captions to tell the visitor what it is and where it Links to, so there is no guessing about any an objects link destination. From a team or league web site, the store can be viewed to see Baseball gear and equipment for fans and players. Baseball caps and jerseys are often worn by fans at Baseball games. Team ‘pennants’ and many other items with team colours are displayed and used to help cheer on the home team. Advertisements, are also shown and, can be a source for just that right item to enhance your enjoyment of Baseball or your favourite team. There is no cost in linking with an ad or any web site.
From the Baseball team rosters, the players information and stats can be linked to. This information is part of the Team Web Site and is often very up to date. From the standings page the teams are shown in their leagues, conferences and in their divisions - with their current win/loss record and percentage. The team names, there, are linked to their web sites, as well. Navigation Links, in small, blue, underlined text, are at the top and bottom of each section and allow the visitor to move around the page much easier.
Each Baseball league has a playoff and champion from the season before. There are trophy pictures and championship logos, displayed with the current champions, that link to information and web pages about that trophy or Baseball event. Other Logos, displayed in each section, link to their home pages, too, and are meant to offer other destinations for Baseball fans to explore - included are the All-Star Logos displayed with their hosts!
Baseball is an outdoor team sport, played on a surface made of natural grass or artificial turf like carpet, with 9 or 10 player positions to a team. Using a wooden ‘Bat‘, players try to hit a leather covered, stitched ball, then run around 4 ‘Bases’ to score ‘Runs’ and outscore their opponents. This continues until 3 ’Outs’ occur. Then the teams switch positions and continue this way, for 9 innings - divided into two halves each. The visiting team is ‘Up to Bat’ in the ‘Top Half’ while the home team is ‘Up to Bat’ in the ‘Bottom Half‘ of each ‘Inning‘. The defenders are out on the Field, which has boundaries of two ‘Base Lines’ that meet behind ‘Home Plate‘ and run 90 degrees from each other out to ‘Foul Poles’ at the Outfield Fence. The ‘Outfield Fence’ arcs around the Outfield from the side walls of the stands, past the foul poles, out around Centre Field all producing three areas in a Baseball Park: “Fair Territory”, “Foul Territory” and “Home Run Territory” - out past the Outfield Fence. The Fair Territory is divided into the ’Infield’ and the ‘Outfield‘. There is a ‘Grass Line’ marking the Infield from the Outfield, and it is a 96 foot arc from Foul Line to Foul Line measured from the front of the centre of the Pitcher’s Plate. The Infield is Grass, or artificial turf like carpet, except on the Base Paths and around each Base. The Outfield is also Grass, or artificial turf, except for an area 10 ft out from the Outfield Fence - called the ‘Warning Track’ - to warn Outfielders that they are getting close to the Fence. This 10 ft warning area is also present in front of the Grandstand, Dugouts and ‘Backstop‘. The Backstop is a wall in a 60ft arc, measured from the centre of the Batting Circle, with a protective screen on top of it, to protect the spectators from Foul Balls and mostly, Foul Tips. The Base Lines are over 300 feet long (320 preferred) while the Outfield Fence is up to and preferred at 400 feet from Home Plate. Some parks have distances of over 430 feet.
The Infield has four Bases situated in a ‘Diamond’ shape - right angles from each other - with ‘Home Plate’ (a 5 sided slab of whitened rubber 17” wide at the front facing the Pitcher, 8 1/2” sides running back toward the Catcher’s Box and 12” angles from the end of each side meeting at a point, where the 1st and 3rd Baselines intersect) at one corner and the other Bases (15” squares made of canvas, filled with soft material, 3” - 5” thick) at the corners of 90 foot sides. 1st and 3rd Bases are located on the inside corner made by the Base Line and the Base Path (the direct route between Bases), while 2nd base is centred at the intersection of the two Base Paths (shown as thick white lines on the Playing Field). The Base Line runs out to 1st or 3rd Base, while the Foul Line continues on to the Foul Pole at the Outfield Fence. The 1st Base Line has a ‘Runner’s Lane’ that is 3 feet wide, outside the Base Line, and extends out from 1st Base 45 ft back toward Home Plate. Runners must run in this Lane to reach 1st Base - unless avoiding a Fielder, Fielding a Ball. The ‘Pitcher‘ is the dominant figure and stands on a mound, in the centre of the ‘Diamond’, in a circle 9 feet in diameter, with a ‘Pitcher’s Plate’ - 24” long and 6” wide made of whitened rubber - in the centre, 10” higher than Home Plate, sloping away from the front of the Pitcher’s Plate at 1” per 1 ft for 6 feet, to the level playing field. The Pitcher Pitches, not throws, the Ball to the ‘Catcher’ past the ‘Batter‘. A Pitch is Overhand with the Pitcher’s Pivot foot touching the Pitcher’s Plate at the time of release. The Pitcher aims for a ‘Strike Zone’ - above Home Plate and in front of the batter unique to each player - midway from the top of the shoulders to the top of the pants and to the hollow below the kneecap - recording a Strike when the ‘Umpire’ determines it has touched this Zone. If a Batter Swings and misses it is also a Strike, as well as, when the Ball is Hit and lands in Foul Territory. On a third Strike, a Foul Ball is ignored - unless it is caught for an Out. A ‘Foul Tip’ is also a Strike and is caught by the Catcher directly off of the Bat without the ‘Pop Up’. The Pitcher needs three Strikes for an Out, but, if he records four ‘Balls’ first - Pitches that miss the Strike Zone without the Batter Swinging at it - then a ‘Walk’ occurs and the Batter advances to 1st Base without Liability, or any chance to be Putout. A Walk is also given for a Pitch that hit’s the Batter - out of the Strike Zone - or any part of the Uniform or Equipment. The other ‘Infielders’ are the 'Catcher', 3 ‘Basemen’: 1st Baseman, 2nd Baseman and 3rd Baseman; and a ‘Shortstop‘, who’s position is a former outfielder long ago. The 1st Baseman plays behind and to the left of, 1st Base and may move in from there, for a presumed Bunt, or stand with the Base to receive a throw from the Pitcher to catch a Base Runner off of the Base. The 2nd Baseman plays to the Right of 2nd Base and deep, out by the Grass Line, to collect ground Balls up the middle. The Shortstop plays a similar location on the Left side of 2nd Base. It is believed this position was once Left Centre Field as a 4th Outfielder. The 3rd Baseman plays behind and to the right of, 3rd Base and may move in from there, for a presumed Bunt, or stand near the Base to receive a throw from the Pitcher to catch a Base Runner off of the Base. Either the 2nd Baseman or the Shortstop can move to 2nd Base to catch a throw from the Catcher when a Base Runner is trying to Steal 2nd Base. The Catcher makes finger and hand signals - from in front of the crotch hidden from the other team - to the Pitcher to agree on what Pitch to make and receives the Pitch to return the Ball to the Pitcher, or receives a new Ball to throw from the Umpire. The Hardball Baseball is a sphere, 9” in circumference, made of yarn wound around a centre of rubber, cork or both and covered with white leather cow or horsehide strips sewn together with red thread. (These threads are what the Pitcher grips to put Spin on the Baseball). The Catcher squats in a ‘Catchers Box’ - from the rear of the Batter’s Boxes, 7 feet deep and 8 ½ feet wide - centred directly behind Home Plate. The Catcher must be completely in this Box, when the Pitcher releases the Ball, to count a Strike. The other defenders are the 3 ‘Outfielders‘: Left Fielder, Right Fielder and Centre Fielder; the Centre Fielder is the Leader of the Outfield and controls the Defensive actions by ‘Calling Off’ the other Fielders when they are preparing to catch the same ‘Fly Ball’. The Centre Fielder’s Territory overlaps the Right and Left Fields. All of the Fielders must be in Fair Territory when the Pitch is made. They may reach into the stands to make a Catch and the Outfielders may reach up over the Outfield Fence to catch a Fly Ball - as long as 1 foot remains over the ‘Playing Field‘. Two other members of the defensive team are the 1st and 3rd Base Coaches. They each have a Coach’s Box, in Foul Territory, beside their Base and give instruction and encouragement to the Base Runners. Often, they will take a Batter’s Gloves and Shin or Elbow Pads from the Batter and give them to the team’s ‘Bat Boy’. The Bat Boy collects the Bat and Batter’s paraphernalia after the Batter Runs to 1st Base. Fielders can be seen strategically moving about, backing each other up, on any fielding play.
The NPF, or the National Pro Fastpitch, is a Women's Pro Softball league and uses NCAA Official Rules. In these paragraphs are some of the differences from the Game of Baseball, or hardball as it is also known.
The Softball Field is smaller: the Base Paths are 60ft and the backstop is 30 ft away. The Outfield Fence is called the ‘Home Run Fence’ and must be minimum 190 ft from Home Plate, along the Base Lines, and 200 ft in Centre Field - the Maximum is 225 ft anywhere in the Park. Foul Poles are a minimum of 10ft above the Fence and require a 6“ screen extending into Fair Territory. The Pitcher’s Plate is level with the Playing Field and 43 ft from Home Plate. The Pitching Circle is 8 ft in diameter. The Runner’s Lane extends 30 ft from 1st Base toward home Plate. Side Line Territories of 25-30 ft from the Base Lines are to be maintained. The Grass Line is a 60 ft radius from the centre and front of the Pitcher’s plate.
The Softball is an optic yellow, 12” circumference sphere, made of polyurethane and long fibre kapok , or a mixture of rubber and cork, and is covered in smooth leather that is stitched together with red threads. The Bat is made of wood, metal or composite materials. Wooden Bats are preferred to be 1 piece of hardwood, or can be a laminate with all grains in the same direction. The Bat is max. 34” long, and 38 oz max. The barrel is 2 ¼” max diameter and the handle must have a safety grip and a knob. A Batting ring must be able to slide over the entire length of the Bat before each Plate Appearance. The Catcher may wear a Glove of any dimension and all other fielders Gloves must be regulation size. Gloves can be any colour except the colour of the Ball. Batters must wear a double ear flapped helmet and defensive players may wear helmets and face masks. Square metal spikes on the shoes are permitted. Player numbers are from 0-99.
A forfeited game is scored 7-0. The Pitch is Underhand and the Pitcher may make 1 ½ revolutions of the arm, in the Wind Up, and release the Ball below the hip with the wrist closer to the hip than the elbow. This Pitch would start above the head , arc back around, then forward up again and then down to the hip a second time. The Strike Zone is from the armpit to the knee on each Batter - over Home Plate. There is only 1 conference allowed per team per half inning - offense or defense. A regulation game is 7 Innings with extra Innings to decide a Tie. The ‘Tie Breaker Rule’ is in effect after 10 Innings: the Batter that is 9 positions away from the Lead Off Batter is put at 2nd Base to start the Inning. (If the Lead Off Batter is position 6 then the Batter in position 5 is put at 2nd). There is an ‘8 Run Rule’ where if one team is ahead by 8 Runs or more at the End of 5 Innings the game is over. Defensive players can change positions, but, the Batting Order must remain unchanged. A 10th position, known as the DP - Designated Player - Bats for a defensive player called the ‘Flex’. If the Flex is removed then the DP can Bat for another Player. A Starter who is substituted on defense must come back into the Batting Order to remain in the Game - then the Substitute is removed from the game. This can be done once per game. Relief Pitchers are allotted 5 Warm Up Pitches. All umpires (1 or 2 and as many as 4) must be attired the same: powder blue or navy shirt, light grey or navy slacks and black shoes. The plate Umpire wears a black mask, black padding and a throat protector.
Pro Sports Official Team Sites Baseball Page can link you with all the action, right to the Baseball source; the Professional Teams and Leagues. Their Baseball news pages will keep you up to date.