Introduction to Outs

The baseball rulebook lists (at least) 19 different ways that a player can be put out. If you’re just learning the game, however, you don’t have to worry about memorizing all of them because most of them rarely happen. In this introduction to outs we’ll look at the six most common ways that a batter gets out.

First is one of the most common ways, which is a fly ball (other than a foul tip) is caught by a defensive player. In this situation it doesn’t matter if the ball is fair or foul, in the infield or the outfield, only that it doesn’t touch the ground.

Another common way is that “after [the batter] hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before [the batter] touches first base.” This means that if the ball does touch the ground before making it to a fielder, he can pick the ball up and throw it to the first baseman, who will be standing on first base. If the ball makes it to the first baseman before the runner can run to first base, the batter is out.

Third is that if a fair ball touches the batter before a fielder, he is out. This will generally happen around home plate if the batter hits (or bunts) the pitch a short distance along the first baseline.

The final three ways are a bit redundant. First is “a third strike is legally caught by the catcher”; you may recall that three strikes is a strikeout. Another way to strikeout is if “[the batter] bunts foul on third strike.” A pitch that is hit foul with two strikes does not count, but if a pitch is bunted foul it’s strike three and an out. Finally, if the batter “attempts to hit a third strike and the ball touches him” he has struckout. This is another scenario defined as a strike—generally if a batter is hit with a pitch he gets a free pass to first base, but if he is attempting to swing at the pitch, it’s a strike out and he gets to go back to the bench instead.


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