The fundamentals are as follows: innings, pitches, and home runs.
In contrast to most other sports, baseball does not have a time limit that restricts the length of the game. The two competing teams compete over a period of innings, which are divided into halves, with each team winning one of the halves. Baseball games at the professional and collegiate levels are typically nine innings in length.
Each inning begins with the visiting team at bat and attempting to score points (called runs), while the players on the home team take their respective defensive positions in the field during the first half of the inning. The defensive team’s objective is to “take out” the offensive team’s players in a variety of ways. As soon as three outs are recorded, the teams switch roles, with the offensive team switching to defence and the defensive team switching to offence. The batting team sends out one player at a time to attempt to hit the ball with their bat.
A baseball game is played over nine innings and is only limited by the number of outs recorded rather than by the clock. In baseball, an inning is considered complete when each team has forced three players from the opposing team from the game. The following situations result in a player being called out: (1) they miss three pitches in succession, (2) an opponent’s player catches the ball in the outfield (the grass outside the dirt path leading from base to base), (3) an opponent’s player tags the player with the ball, and/or (4) an opponent’s player steps on the base that the player is running to while holding the ball.
During a pitch, the ball is thrown by a player from the opposing team, who is known as the pitcher, and who is standing on a mound in the middle of a baseball field. The hitter refers to the player from the opposing team who is attempting to hit the ball that the pitcher has thrown into play. After making contact with the pitcher’s throw, the ball is put into play and the hitter is designated as a base runner for the remainder of the inning. In baseball, when the batter fails to hit the ball, it is referred to as a strike, and the ball is caught by a player on the opposing team, known as a catcher (standing right next to the hitter).
A base runner scores when they have put the ball into play and have returned to home base after touching first, second, and third base in succession, all while maintaining possession of the ball. A home run occurs when a base runner hits the ball into the stands (where you are sitting) or far enough away that he or she has enough time to complete a full lap around all of the bases before being tagged out. A player can advance around the bases as a result of their own hit or the hit of another player. When your team scores, that’s when you should celebrate by clapping, waving, and hugging your neighbour.
Hot dogs, hamburgers, and more are required.
Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals, let’s get into the meat of the matter. Specifically, food and beverages. A baseball game isn’t complete unless there’s a hot dog involved. My preferred topping combination is the classic ketchup, mustard, and relish combination – though chilli and cheese are also acceptable options. Pretzels, peanuts, and nachos are also very popular, but a hot dog from a stadium concession stand will always hold a special place in my heart and in my hands, no matter what. For those of legal drinking age, there is nothing better than an ice cold beer, or a Coca Cola for those under the age of majority, to accompany it. The use of foam hands (those glove-like things that make your hands appear enormous) is optional.
It’s all about the nosebleeds, as an added bonus.
My final piece of advice for attending a baseball game is to purchase tickets for the cheapest seats available (which my friends and I affectionately call the nosebleeds). They provide you with a bird’s eye view of the game as well as enough change in your pocket to buy an extra hot dog or two during the game.