If your kid is one of the millions of youngsters who is itching for a chance to play the game called America's pastime, then there's some info about baseball that you may want to know.
Different rules govern different leagues, including high school, college and professional. The rules for most organized kids games are made by Little League, which has leagues all over the world for more than 2 millions kids. The rules not only cover the playing of the game, but what kind of equipment can be used, and how the field should be made. Kids in Little League usually play six innings, but in special cases could be trimmed to four.
In organized baseball, nine players are on a team: a pitcher, catcher, first, second and third base players, a shortstop and three outfielders. Depending on the league, a team might be allowed to have a limited number of players on the roster to save on expenses or make sure everyone gets an opportunity to play. For fun games, if you can't find 18 kids to play, you can still have a game with a smaller number of players on a team. If you have an odd number, one player can play on both teams.
Bats come in different weights and lengths, depending on how you play. If you're strong, you can swing a heavier bat, which helps hit the ball farther. A lighter bat can hit the ball far, too, because it is easier to swing, so the bat is going faster when it meets the ball. A longer bat is harder to swing, but because the end of the bat takes longer to reach the ball, it builds up more speed and that helps hit the ball far, too.
Not every player on a baseball team wears the same type of glove. There are five types of gloves, based on which position the player is playing. Pitchers, catchers and first basemen have their own kind of gloves, while infielders and outfielders have their own gloves. First baseman and outfielders have deeper pockets so they can catch balls better, while infielders have shallower pockets so they can get the ball out faster to throw to one of the bases for an out. Catchers have more padding in their gloves because of the constant demands of catching the ball, and pitchers have deeper pockets so they can hide their hand from the batter until the last possible moment.
Professional baseball players can make millions of dollars for playing. In order to make sure they are ready for the big leagues, players start out on lower-level teams where they can work on their batting, throwing and pitching, before they get to a team and play in front of many fans and on TV. These teams are called farm teams, and have three levels: A, AA and AAA, with AAA being the highest level of farm team before the Major Leagues.