Wait...there are two leagues?!

DC Sports Nexus ---- Friday, June 15, 2012

Camilla is a 15 year old hockey fan that is new to baseball...I feel like baseball needs more young female fans so I'm forcing her to write.  But she needs help & encouragement from Nats fans to learn about the game so she can enjoy the National Pastime for the next 85 years of her life...So give her a hand and comment on the post or Tweet her up at @camcoco10...

Sorry for not amusing you with pontificating about stuff I know jack about. I had finals this week and they wrapped up yesterday, the Seniors graduated and *drum roll please* I'm a JUNIOR! I am that much closer to college and never having to eat onions ever again. Yes! Anywho, to this baseball business.

Ok, let me get this straight. Not only does the MLB have a zillion teams, but there are not one, but TWO leagues? Over kill, much? Being a hockey gal, I get two conferences. Ya know, the good ole' East and West. None of this AL whichy-majig and NL thingy do's. And inter-league play? I mean, in my mind, that's like the KHL and NHL randomly saying "let's all play together!" I don't understand. Tell me!

I'm also confused by the fact there's no regulation size to MLB arena thingy's (what are these massive things called? Parks? Greens? Fields? Fancy grass?). At least, that's what I've been told. So, a baseball fancy grass can be as big as China or as small as my kitchen? I don't understand. PS-what's a green monster in Philly?

Now with the uniforms, what's the big idea confuzzling me with he whole whites at home grey on the road thing? Why do they do that? Explain. Please.

I watched Major League and the elderly pitcher (who's quite a hoot) was putting all kinds of interesting things (like vagisil and chili peppers) on the ball to do something? Why did he put stuff on the ball and why did that help or whatever? PS-Do you hit more curve balls if you practice voodoo or not?

Lastly, is Teddy ever gonna win a Presidents race? He's my favorite and he never wins :(

Okey dokey, that's it for now folks. Now that I have nothing to do for 3 months I'll be watching a lot of baseball and being extremely confused. I should probably find a schedule for the Nats so I can actually watch games more regularly.

Tweet/follow me at @Camcoco10 to answer my questions and/or laugh at me.


  1. The Field The rule governing the baseball field is given by Rule 1.04. As it happens there are minimum distances required by the Rule:
    "The distance from home base to the nearest fence, stand or other obstruction on fair territory shall be 250 feet or more. A distance of 320 feet or more along the foul lines, and 400 feet or more to center field is preferable."

    So the minimum size for a baseball field is a quarter-circle, centered on home plate and termini at each foul pole, with a radius of 250 feet. The longer distances are preferred--as in, the game of baseball is more aesthetically satisfying--but not required.

    Why is this so?

    In the very early days of baseball, the game was played in open fields. A home run was simply a ball that was hit so far (and fair) that the batter covered all four bases before he was tagged out.

    As more people came to watch games, grandstands and fences were built. But, real estate then being like it is now, there wasn't always land available to make geometrically perfect quarter-circles. So parks were built to accomodate whatever land there was available.

    Thus, Fenway Park in Boston has a very SHORT distance from the plate to left field--only about 310 ft! This would make it unfair, since right-handed batters are more likely to drive the ball into left field (their "pull" side) for home runs. To make the field play more fairly, then, they erected a 37-foot wall in left field--the "Green Monster."

    Some parks were built in even stranger places. The former home of the New York Giants, the Polo Grounds (long since demolished) used to host horse races and polo matches (as the name might have told you). As a result, straight-away center field was 483 feet from home plate!

    Newer parks, like Nats park, are more symmetrical and tend to play "fair." Other neo-retro parks have attempted to incorporate old buildings or otherwise re-create the quirks of the old parks. Of course, that's a conscious design choice, and not out of necessity, as in the case of Fenway Park or the Polo Grounds.

  2. Uniforms: Traditionally, the home team has always worn white, and the visiting team worn grey (or some other color). Makes it a lot easier to tell players apart. Imagine watching a game at Nats park from Section 401 and not having a scoreboard telling you who is who.

    The Two Leagues In the beginning, there was the National League. Then, the market for baseball grew, so a competing league sprung up: the American League. Then, a third league came along--the Federal League. This saturated the market, and attendance dropped enough that the Federal League collapsed--dragging AL and NL attendance down with it. The AL and NL, in the interest of controlling the market for baseball viewing (and players!) combined. That is why there are two leagues.

    Thus the Commissioner of Baseball is something like the old Austro-Hungarian Emperor: the leader of two unified, and yet still somewhat organizationally distinct leagues. The biggest difference between the leagues is that the AL adopted the Designated Hitter rule (like a permanent pinch-hitter who bats instead of the pitcher). The NL has stayed true to the original rules and requires the pitcher to bat.

    Ball-tampering: A baseball moves in mid-air because of how the air flows over it. Messing with the surface by greasing it or wetting it changes the way air flows, and gives your curveball more curve. (This is a spitball). You can also scuff the ball (this is an emery ball). Both are UNBELIEVABLY ILLEGAL.

    And Teddy never wins. Get over it.