Did you know that baseball is called “America’s Favorite Pastime?” That’s because it was invented here in the U.S., and because it’s … well, it’s just a great sport!
Some people think it’s easy to learn how to play baseball. That’s because it looks like there is a lot of standing around. But it really isn’t as simple as it seems!
Baseball is a team sport. It’s a great way to make friends and do something that’s healthy and fun. In Iowa, summer is considered baseball season, and here in Des Moines, we are lucky to have lots of baseball fields and teams to watch or join.
There are Little League teams throughout the Des Moines area. Check with your school’s athletic office and your city’s parks and recreation department for information about their baseball leagues, too.
The Iowa Cubs play baseball in Principal Park. Their games cost about $20 per person. Sometimes they have special pricing, so check their website before you go.
Many Des Moines area community colleges and universities have baseball teams. They would love to see you at their games. Ticket prices are definitely family-friendly.
Local high schools have baseball teams. You might even know some of the players (or their younger brothers and sisters).
Here are some of the things you learn when you play baseball:
Baseball players have to remember lots of hand signals that their coach might use to tell them to:
- Bunt – hit the ball a very short distance.
- Take a pitch – let the ball go past them without even trying to hit it.
- Swing away – hit the ball if they want to.
- Hit a fly ball – hit the ball as high and as far as they can.
It is not easy to hit a baseball. It’s only about three inches in diameter (from side to side). Imagine hitting something three inches wide with a bat that is even narrower than that! Wooden baseball bats – like the pros use – are only about 2-3/4” wide!
It’s a good thing baseball players get to wear gloves. A pro player can hit a baseball more than 100 miles per hour. The glove keeps the ball from hurting the player who catches it.
Running between the bases is called sprinting because you have to go very, very fast for a short distance. The people who play in the outfield also have to run when they are trying to get to a ball that has been hit into their territory.
Players have to really concentrate on the pitcher, the catcher and, of course, the ball.