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Baseball: A Women's User's Guide to understanding the Great Game

Posted By Laura 1503 days ago on Blogging - SourceA few days ago my sweet blogging soulmate and pug mama  Military Wife and Pug Life asked me if I would consider doing a baseball guide for wives and dummies.   It seemed like a great idea, not because I thought there were a lot of dummies out there but because I could share my love of the game with you all and maybe get a few people to understand baseball is more then men in tight pants. Not that I am opposed to tight pants, mind you.  Baseball pants are a thing of beauty.So then came the huge undertaking. You see I grew up on baseball.  It has been a part of my life, just like football since I can remember.  I don't recall learning baseball, I just knew it. My grandfather was in Major League Spring Training with the St. Louis Cardinals before he hurt himself sliding into 2nd base and went home to heal.   His mother got sick and he stayed home to take care of her and that was the end of his baseball career but not the end of the love of the game in my family.  In the same way I inherited the love of history from my history teacher/coach father, I inherited the love of the great game of baseball from my mother. So where to start with you ladies (or men who want to get their women more involved)?  Then it hit me, I will start with the one place you have to understand.   The entire first part of this blog is devoted entirely to giving you a basic rundown of the game in as quick a fashion as I can without completely boring you to death (I probably will not succeed).  If you get lost in that, skip ahead to the second half : What you really need to know about watching baseball. The game is played on a baseball diamond just like you wear on your hand.SourceAnd the object on offense is to get your player home sort of like making it home from a tough work week every Friday night to a clean house and a beer and pizza.  (Is that just me?)SourceBeyond that it is a simple game.   There are 9 players on the field on defense and each game consists of  9 innings.  The visiting team bats first (offense) and the home team pitches (defense).  Each position on defense has a number and when scoring a play or error you will often see the play referred to by the numbers. SourceFor example, an E3 means the 1st baseman made the error.   a 6-4-3 DP or Double Play means the defense got two outs starting at 2nd base with the shortstop (6) who tossed the ball to the 2nd baseman (4) for the out of the runner coming from 1st base who then threw the ball to the 1st baseman (3) for the out of the batter running from home.   If you want to impress your guy, ask him the next time a double play happens "Wasn't that a 6-4-3 double play?"  If you have never taken an interest in baseball before, he may think you have been replaced by a clone.  SourceBaseball has it's own language.  I could write for days and not cover everything so I thought I would hit the highlights. The Battery:  This is a term that refers to the Pitcher and Catcher collectively.  They work as a unit sending signals to one another.  The catcher will signal a pitch, the pitcher will nod or shake off the pitch and they will start over with a new round of signals.  Runs:  There are no points in baseball.  They score runs.   Never call them points and never ask "How many points do they have?"  It is all about the runs.RBIThis term stands for Runs Batted In.  When a player comes to bat and there are runners already on base, if he brings those runners home, that is a run batted in.  There are exceptions when this won't happen, errors being the primary time. HIT When the batter puts the ball somewhere the defensive player can't record an out.  Base hitThis is also called a single and this means the hitter only makes it to 1st baseDoubleThe hitter hits the ball far enough that he reaches 2nd baseTripleThe hitter makes it all the way to 3rd base, this is actually the most rare hit.Homerun:This is the money shot in baseball, the Touchdown in football, the 3 point shot in basketball, it is the hit that leaves the ballpark.  (Actually, it just leaves the playing field) and the batter gets to come all the way home.  (This is also called a homer, dinger, Jimmy-Jack,  blast and basically anything else that comes out of the mouth of a male in excitement).  A long homerun is called a monster shot. There are various degrees of home runs.  A solo shot, when there is nobody on base, a 2 run homer when there is a runner on, 3 run homer when there are 2 base runners, a 3 run shot and the grand slam or grand salami (see below.) Bases LoadedWhen a batter comes up to the plate and there are base runners on every base, this is called bases loaded.  You may also hear this referred to as bases juiced and a bunch of other colorful terms. Grand Slamwhen the bases are loaded and the player hits a homerun this is the greatest of all homers. Sacrifice:Sometimes, like in life, you must sacrifice an out to advance the base runner closer to home. Designated Hitter: In the American League the pitcher does not come up to bat but is instead replaced by a DH or designated hitter.  This player does not play a defensive position but is instead taking the pitcher's place in lineup.  The National League does not play with a DH.Pinch Hitter:Both leagues use pinch hitting which is the substitution of one player, scheduled to bat, for another bench player (not already playing in the game).  The pinch hitter is used more in the National League where often the manager will substitute the pitcher when it's his turn at bat.   Once removed from a game for a pinch hitter, a player is not allowed to return to the game. Pinch Runner:Basically the same thing as a hitter but the player is going in to run for someone who is not as speedy.  Again, a substitution of a fast player for a slow player means the player who was removed is done for the game. Strikeout (K)A strikeout or a K is when a player either swings or fails to swing at 3 pitches that are strikes. Base on Balls or Walk:If a Pitcher misses the strike zone 4 times in an at bat the hitter is awarded 1st base. These terms are very basic.  I could bore you to death explaining all the differences in things but you don't really need that to watch the game. *Each team has 9 position players.*There are 9 innings in the game, unless it is tied and then it goes to extra innings (not overtime)*There is no time limit (so never ask how much longer in the game, baseball is played until it is over)*Each inning is made up of 2 parts, the top and bottom half of the inning.  The top is when the visiting team hits and the bottom is when the home team hits.   *Each team is given 3 outs per inning before they change sides.The rule book is complicated and nobody really knows what's in it.  I mean someone does but he is in a booth in New York and we never see him.  He is the guy they refer all the instant replay calls to for review.  Actually, I don't know that he really knows everything.  What you REALLY need to know about watching baseball:Alright so here is what you MUST know to watch baseball, ready? *Everyone and I mean everyone in baseball hates the New York Yankees except, of course, Yankee fans.  That's okay though because the rest of baseball doesn't care about Yankee fans.  *The St. Louis Cardinals are the New York Yankees of the National League.*Going to a game is about 300% better than watching it on TV and if you can score Opening Day tickets or find a group of friends to tailgate with before a game, it is going to be the best event (outside of NASCAR) you ever went to.  Seriously, I have made so many friends because of my love of baseball.  Some of my closest friends, my maid of honor at my Wedding and her best friend from childhood for example.  Plus you get to party with great fans when you find a group to tailgate and have fun with. (BTW check out my baseball cake topper if you didn't see it at my wedding!  SO cute! We had a sports/country/hunting theme because that's how I wanted it. It fit.) *Baseball pants are nice but give the game 1 season of really watching it. I am not saying you have to spend all 162 games camped out in front of the TV like me.  I realize everyone can't do that.  Honestly, even I can't do that with a husband and kid now, I am saying that you should try watching 1 or 2 games a week with your honey and really devote some time to learning.  (Let me share a moment.  I have never, ever, ever watched a single day of NASCAR in my life until I met my husband, who loves it.  I will watch with him now.  I have a favorite driver although, don't ask me why.  I have even been to a race, which is awesome.   Am I going to spend my life in front of the TV on Sunday devoted to NASCAR? No, Baseball is on.  I will however, watch the last 20 with him.)*Let your sweetheart teach you the game and try really hard not to sound to silly. Please don't say things like "Why are their uniforms that color?  Don't they know that shade of blue makes their hips look big."  Trust me, nobody cares.   Nobody cares about uniforms outside of how well they sell so don't talk about the color and PLEASE for the love of GOD do not buy one of those stupid pink jerseys.  No MLB team has pink jerseys. *Why you should let your man help you learn the game:First, have  you ever met a man that didn't want to teach a woman something?  Truth here, my husband tries to teach me things I already know.  I mean the man lives to teach me things and impart his wisdom.   Second, you get to bond with your sweetheart.   Third, spending time with him doing something he loves shows him you care even if you have a hard time understanding why you care.  Trust me here.  I go fishing and hunting with my husband.  I don't hunt and fishing is something that bores me after about an hour and I start to burn.  I mean, I am a ginger, it doesn't take much for me to burn on a boat in the middle of a lake but I go anyway.  He loves spending time with me sharing his favorite things and I love making him happy.  *A lot of women love baseball,  I swear. I am not talking like, they love to go to the game and hang with a friend and talk shopping and shoes.  I am talking we can talk the sport like a guy and know the game in a way that would make Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson proud.  *Baseball food is more than just hot dogs.  Nachos have come a long way since chips and cheese too.  Rangers Ballpark has pulled pork nachos, 2 foot hot dogs with just about anything you can think of on them, deep fried bacon on a stick, garlic french fries, these potato chip things smothered in brisket and I don't know what all, brisket sandwiches, deep fried s'mores.  I mean really, I don't think anyone gets a hot dog unless it is dollar hot dog night.  (I don't eat there much because if you didn't notice, that stuff will all kill you faster than a pack of cigarettes and a case of beer.) *The baseball gods are fickle.  They giveth and they taketh away.  You will often times hear fans refer to the baseball gods imploring them to be kind.  The baseball gods are not kind.  Ask any Texas Rangers fan who suffered through the 2011 World Series how kind the baseball gods are.  It has been 4 years since that series and I am only just now beyond tears and fetal position.   Watch replays of game 6?  No, I will not, thank you. *Baseball is a romantic sport.  Actually, I am going to do an entire blog on the romance surrounding baseball so look for the follow up to this blog but I promise, there is nothing more romantic in sports than baseball.*Baseball has a fashion all it's own.  I will write more on this later as well but to give you an idea check out Opening day fashion talk here. *You don't have to have a major league team to love, minor league teams are great too.  We are actually closer to the Frisco Rough Riders, the Texas Rangers AA affiliate and we go to several of those games every year.  The ballpark is beautiful and it is amazing getting to see up and coming players and rehabing major league players.  A few weeks ago we got to see Josh Hamilton, the Rangers left fielder on extended spring training rehabing from an injury and Joey Gallo, the recently called up 3rd baseman play in a game before both players were in Arlington.  You get better access to the players and a better chance at autographs, plus, the clubs are super friendly and they have better prices on seats.  During the game they had dollar hamburgers and dollar ice cream.  We ate like crap but it was glorious!  *Which brings me to the most important point you really need to know when watching Major League Baseball, the best fans in baseball have one of these in their house. SourceSeriously though, find a team you love and love them with all your heart.  I grew up a Chicago Cubs fan and I still will catch a Cubs game here and there.  They were my first team.  I adopted the Rangers when I moved to Texas at 10 years old in 1981 and they have been my team ever since.  I live with them and die with them.  Whatever team is yours, learn the players, learn a little about the history of the club, and enjoy the beauty of the game. Okay, I promise, I will do a follow up to this blog with some further talk on why baseball is romantic and some great fashion tips.  Until then, Play Ball!Enjoy the Ride!


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