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An all-American game: Baseball explained

Baseball season is in full swing (pun intended) – and there’s nothing quite like a hot summer night at the stadium cheering on your home team. But before you get taken out to the ball game (pun intended again), you need to understand how it works, when to cheer and what to get from the concession stand.

Here’s everything you need to know to get your head in the game (I really can’t help myself with these puns).

The basics: Innings, pitches and home runs

A baseball game is played over nine innings – limited by outs not time. An inning is complete when each team gets three players from the opposing team out. A player is out when (1) they miss a pitch three times in a row, (2) a player from the opposing team catches the ball in the outfield (the grass outside of the dirt path going from base to base), (3) a player from the opposing team tags the player with the ball or (4) a player from the opposing team steps on the base the player is running to while holding the ball.

A pitch is when the ball is thrown by a player of the opposing team, called the pitcher, who stands on a mound in the middle of the field. The player from the other team that is trying to hit the ball the pitcher throws, is called the hitter. When the hitter makes contact with the pitcher’s throw, the ball is put into play and the hitter is then called a base runner. When the hitter doesn’t hit the ball, it is called a strike and caught by a player on the opposing team, called a catcher (standing right next to the hitter).

A base runner scores after they’ve put the ball into play and arrived back to home base after touching first, second, and third base in succession. A home run is when the base runner hits the ball into the stands (where you’re sitting) or far enough to have enough time to complete a full run around all the bases. A player can advance around the bases by their own hit or another player’s hit. When your team scores, that’s when you cheer, do the wave and hug your neighbor.

The essentials: Hot dogs and more

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to the essentials. Namely food and drinks. A baseball game isn’t complete without a hot dog. My topping preference is the classic ketchup, mustard, and relish combo – but chili and cheese is also an acceptable choice. Pretzels, peanuts, and nachos are also quite popular, but my heart and hand will always have a special place for a stadium concession stand hot dog. And there’s nothing that compliments it better than an ice cold beer if you’re of age or a Coca Cola if you’re not. Foam hands (those glove-type things that make your hands look huge) are optional.

Bonus tip: It’s all about the nosebleeds

My last tip for a baseball game to remember is get tickets for the cheap seats (which my friends and I affectionately call the nosebleeds). They give you a bird’s-eye view of the game and enough change in your pocket for an extra hot dog or two.

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