Official Baseball Rules | The defensive positions

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The Official Baseball Rules are published on the Major League Baseball website, and apply to all professional players in the United States and Canada. Sporting News also published a book describing the baseball rules. Most leagues use the same regulations, like the Major Leagues, Dixie Youth League, and Babe Ruth League. The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) uses slightly modified versions for the World Cup and the Olympics.

Baseball is a sport played between two teams with nine players on a baseball field, usually under the authority of four umpires. The four bases are numbered counterclockwise and consist of three cushions or bags and a home plate. The field has three main sections: the infield, the outfield and the foul territory.

The defensive team of the fielding team must prevent baserunners from scoring. The defensive positions are pitcher, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, left fielder, center fielder and right fielder. The pitcher and catcher have a specific position while the other seven players don’t have a mandatory location specified by the baseball rules, except for when the pitch is delivered. The fielders can change position and in some cases teams use different schemes. The pitcher and the catcher form the battery. The catcher stands behind the home plate and receives the pitch in case the batter misses. The pitcher stands on the pitching plate and throws the ball towards the home plate. Together with the catcher and the coach, he establishes a strategy.

The first baseman, second baseman, third baseman and shortstop are the infielders. The first and third baseman are positioned towards the second base and the second baseman on the right side of the second base, while the shortstop stays to the left. The first baseman receives the throw from an infielder and quicky makes contact with the base. The second baseman backs up the first baseman and is a cut-off for the outfield. The shortstop covers the area between the second and third base. The third baseman makes a long throw to the first baseman across the infield.

The outfielders are named from the catcher’s perspective. The right fielder attempts to take the third base by throwing to the runners, and usually has the strongest arm. The center fielder makes throws to the infield and is considered the outfield leader. This player must be agile because he has more territory to cover. The left fielder has the weakest arm, but must have good fielding and catching skills because he receives more balls than the right fielder, since the hitters are right handed most of the times.