Let’s take a look at how a baseball game is actually played. You recall that the player who stands in the middle of the infield is the pitcher. And at the start of every baseball game the pitcher will stand on the mound with the ball. He will push off the rubber and he will throw the ball home towards home plate. When the pitcher throws the ball, this is called a “pitch”. And this is where everything in baseball starts. At this point, the batter will have only a fraction of a second to make a decision. Should I swing or not. If the batter does swing either he will hit the ball or he won’t hit the ball. If the batter does not swing the pitch, it will either be called a ball or it will be called a strike. And that is what this video is going to be about. Balls and Strikes. We’ll come back to this flowchart a few times so hopefully it’ll help you keep everything straight. When the batter does hit the ball there are a lot of different things that can happen. But in this video we’re just going to focus on these bottom three scenarios.
So here we have our batter at home plate. Sorry about the white background. I try to reverse the colors, but if you make this batter white in the background black he starts to look like the devil. So in order to avoid frightening the younger demographic, we’ll stick with the black on white. Anyway imagine that home plate is here and we are looking at the batter as if we are the pitcher. Baseball does not have a clock. So we need some way of keeping play moving forward and this is basically the main concept behind balls and strikes. So once our batter steps up to home plate an area called the strike zone is created. And this extends from right underneath the batter’s kneecap, up to the midpoint between his belt and his shoulders. So about where his team’s name would be written on his uniform vertically the strike zone is everything above home plate which makes it 17 inches wide. Because home plate has a depth if we were to look at it from above. Then the strike zone is right at the front edge of home plate, the edges closest to the pitcher. When the batter does not swing if the pitch passes through the strike zone it will be called a strike. If the pitch does not pass through the strike zone it will be called a ball and you might wonder what if the pitch is right on the line, this would also be a strike if any part of the ball no matter how small it is passes through the strike zone, it is a strike.
if any part of the ball no matter how small it is passes through the strike zone, it is a strike.
no matter ~という形は文章でも会話でもよく出てきます。そして音も「ノーマターハウ」などとは言わず「ほとんど日本人には「ノメラハウ」と聞こえると思います。音を知っておくことはリスニング力を上げるために非常に役立ちます。
Now with the ball moving so fast, it might be difficult to tell where the ball was and so this is the job of the home plate umpire to determine whether the pitch is a ball or strike. And this is why like in this photo, you will usually see the umpire crouch down behind the catcher. So he can get as good of a view as possible as to where the pitch is. so when the pitch comes in the umpire will literally say out loud either ball or strike so that everybody knows what his call has been for that pitch. And usually for a strike you might even see him point out to the side make some kind of hand motion to signal that it was a strike.
So the only way that a pitch can be a ball is if the batter does not swing at it and it does not go through the strike zone. There are a few ways that a pitch can be a strike. The first one we just saw if the batter does not swing and the pitch goes through the strike zone. The umpire will call it a strike. The second way to get a strike is if the batter swings at the pitch and misses. And the third way is if the batter does hit the ball but it goes foul. So remember that everything outside of the foul lines that run down the first and third base line is considered to be foul territory so if the ball is hit into foul ground or foul territory this is called a foul ball. And it will count as a strike.
Let’s jump back to our flowchart which appears to have grown since the last time we saw. It and we’ll see here what we just looked at not swinging at a pitch can result in a pitch inside the strike zone which would be called a strike by the umpire or can result in a pitch that was outside the strike zone which the umpire would call if you swing at the pitch and miss it this is a strike as well.
And finally if you do hit the ball and it goes into foul territory rather than fair territory this is also a strike so you might have noticed here the four out of five of our branches have resulted either in a ball or a strike and so balls and strikes I guess you could say will happen a lot you’ll probably see over 200 pitches in every baseball game and the vast majority of them will either be just called balls or strikes rather than pitches that are hit into fair territory or result in something else.
I said earlier that balls and strikes exist to keep the game moving forward. So let’s take a look at how that works. This is something called the count. Oh sorry not that count. There we go. The count refers to the number of balls and strikes that a batter has seen during his at-bat. And the way that we say this is the number of balls and then the number of strikes. So if you watch your baseball game on TV and especially if you listen to one on the radio, you will hear the announcer constantly saying something like there are two balls and one strike or the count is two and one. and if you were watching on TV usually in the top corner of the screen, it will display the count numerically two balls – one strike so where does this end or I guess you could say how high can the count go. Can you have a count of ten balls and eight strikes? Well the count will continue until the end of Bat which will be the result of a strikeout or a walk. The batter hitting the ball or well there’s a bunch of different ways other than this. But as far as balls and strikes go, let’s look at these first two strike outs and walks.
A strike out happens when the batter receives three strikes in his at-bat. This will be called an out which is another key element to keeping a game of baseball moving forward that we’ll look at more in the next few videos. A strikeout or any out is what the pitcher is trying to get. And this is what the batter is trying to avoid. So the last thing to say about a strikeout is that the third strike must come either on a called strike or a swing in a Miss which is also called a swinging strike.
This is another way to say that you cannot strike out on a foul ball if you have two strikes on you and you swing and foul the pitch off. It would essentially mean nothing and you would just get another pitch even if you foul off ten pitches in a row or a hundred pitches in a row or theoretically you could stand at home plate and foul off pitches for the next week. you still would not be out.
Although like everything else in baseball, There is an exception to this. This is, if you are attempting to bunt, a bunt is when a player does not swing at the ball but instead he holds the bat out and just tries to tap the ball forward a few feet. So here is a batter who is trying to bunt. You can see that he’s moved his hand up on the bat which will make it easier to bunt the ball. So if he had two strikes on him here and he was to bunt the ball foul. Then this would be a strikeout. but only because he was trying to bunt.
As for a walk, this means that the batter has had four balls thrown to him which means that he basically gets to become a base runner without even having to do anything. He just had to stand at home plate and resist the urge to swing. although I wouldn’t recommend this strategy. because usually pitchers are pretty good at throwing strikes. So if you’re not going to swing more often than not you’ll get a strikeout then a walk okay so now that we know that three strikes is a strikeout and four balls is a walk.
Let’s go back to the count at the beginning of every at-bat the count is zero and zero or we would say there is no count on the batter. If the first pitch is a ball then the count would move to one and O if it is a strike whether it’s a called strike a swinging strike or foul ball. the count would be O and one third option, of course, is that the batter will hit the ball into fair territory and at that point the about to be over. If he does not hit the ball into fair territory depending on whether the first pitch is a ball or strike. the count could either move to two and O to O and two or to one and one, one ball and one strike or again the batter could hit the ball. So I think you can see where this is going. The batter can end the bat by hitting any pitch into fair territory or he can continue taking balls and strikes until it reaches three balls and two strikes which is what we refer to as a full count. Why is this called a full count? Well, the next pitch, if it is a ball, the batter will walk. if the next pitch is a strike, it will be a strike out.
A foul ball, again, a foul ball that the batter swung at and not bunted will not end it bat. And so this is why or at least one of the reasons why as you may have heard that a baseball game could potentially last forever or finally of course the batter could hit the ball into fair territory. In other words, once you reach a full count, there is a pretty good chance well 75% chance in fact that the next pitch will end the it bat.
So again let’s go back to our flow chart everything in baseball starts with the pitch. either the batter will swing or he will not swing if he does not swing either, the umpire will call a strike if the ball was in the strike zone or he will call a ball. if it is not if the batter does swing and he misses it it is a strike if he swings and he hits the ball into foul territory this is also a strike. the balls and the strikes are added up in the count which is 0-0 at the beginning of every at-bat and can work its way up to a full count of three balls and two strikes. four balls and you walk but one to three strikes and you are out. so that’s a lot of info and while it probably still seems really complicated, especially if you’re brand new to baseball I promised it after watching two or three games, balls and strikes will become second nature to you.
second nature to you
after watching two or three games balls and strikes will become second nature to you
TheOnDeckCircle-san, Thank you for creating such a great movie.