Batter Up! Phillies Tutorial Series for the Baseball Novice

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“Batter Up: Heading to the Plate of Baseball Knowledge and the Philadelphia Phillies”

Part I

By Courtney Boslough

Growing up, my family never cared much for sports, especially professional sports. In fact, it wasn’t until I was about 11 or 12 that my dad became interested in the NFL. But other than watching the Eagles every so often, I never paid attention to Philadelphia teams, let alone sports in general. However as time went on, I became increasingly interested in sports and fell in love with everything Philadelphia, especially the Phillies. However, I went through a very awkward time learning about the game of baseball and what it entails.

Not everyone is raised to love sports or a certain team. In fact, the only reason why the Phillies stood out to me was due to Chase Utley. Being from Scranton, I was a frequent goer of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, AAA Phillies affiliate team, because it was one of the only fairly inexpensive events to attend during the summer.

When I was ten, I fell in love with Chase Utley when he played for the Red Barons. I continued to watch him as he was brought up to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Even as I continued to watch Utley and the Phillies, I was still learning the rules of baseball and the ever-changing team that is the Phillies. I sympathize with people who want to learn more about the sport but feel as though it’s too late or they may not have the time or energy to do so.


 

I know how it feels to be surrounded by people who rattle off facts about baseball; aspects of the game, players, and game highlights. This is where I would like to help. During the next few months, I’ll be creating a series of articles to help those learn about baseball and more specifically, the Philadelphia Phillies.

Lesson #1

To start off the series, let me introduce you to the general guidelines of baseball and the Major League Baseball. The goal of the game is to score more runs than the opposing team by passing first, second, and third base and achieving home plate. Each team consists of nine players: a pitcher, catcher, shortstop, 3 basemen, and 3 outfielders.


Unlike most sports, baseball is not timed. It is played in “innings” and are divided by a “top,” first half of the inning and “bottom,” second half of the inning in which one of these a teams is either playing offense (bats) or defense. An inning is half over when there are three “outs.” Outs are determined in four ways; 3 strikes at bat per batter, a batted ball can be caught before it reaches the ground, a runner can be tagged if not on base, and a fielder with the ball can tag the base before the runner reaches that base.

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball league consisting of the American League and the National League. The league is composed of 30 teams: 29 in the United States and one in Canada (Toronto Blue Jays).  The MLB regular season consists of 162 games per team between the first Sunday in April and the first Sunday in October. Each team’s schedule is usually conducted by a 3 game series, which means that two opposing teams face each other in 3 consecutive games. Throughout the season, teams compete for one of five playoff spots in their league. Teams win one of these berths by winning their division or clinching a wild card spot. Sometimes there may even be a tiebreaker game to determine postseason participation. Teams are narrowed down in the postseason by playoff games and the final team of the American League plays in the “World Series” against the final team of the National League. Whoever wins this seven game series is considered the World Series Champion, equivalent to the Super Bowl Champion in football.

Although these descriptions of the sport and the MLB are very general, I wanted to start off with just the basic knowledge. The last thing I want to do is be another overwhelming baseball “phanatic” getting too ahead of myself. My next article will consist of more detailed aspects of the game and a general introduction to the players of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Stay tuned!

Meghan Kelly

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