Gary McClure, field manager for the Battle Creek Bombers, recently sat down to explain basic baseball terms. In today’s post, part two of a three part series, McClure covers field layout basics.
Q: What are the main areas of a baseball field?
Gary McClure: A standard baseball field is comprised of several areas. Home base/plate, which serves as the focal point of games, is in the center of a dirt circle and flanked on either side by a left or right-handed batter’s box. The catcher’s box is located behind home base and is aligned with an on-deck circle to the left and right. First, second, and third bases, which are 90 feet apart, form a diamond with home plate. In the center of this diamond is the pitcher’s mound where the pitching rubber is placed. The infield area runs from the first base foul line to the third base foul line in a half circle; a grass line separates infield from outfield with outfield grass extending toward the home run fence. There is approximately a 15' warning track that separates the outfield grass from the fence. A coach’s box is located adjacent to first and third base.
Q: What are foul poles?
Gary McClure: A foul pole is a yellow pole positioned along the left and right field lines that extends above the outfield fence to aid the umpire in determining if a fly ball is fair and in play, or foul and out of play.
Q: Why is the pitcher’s mound elevated?
Gary McClure: A higher mound offers the pitcher the chance to gain velocity and throw down hill when pitching toward home plate. The higher the mound, the more advantageous to the pitcher.
Q: How is a warning track used as an aid to the defensive players?
Gary McClure: The warning track is a tract of dirt or crushed rock that runs along the homerun fence and to the left and right sides of the field. Since it is a contrasting color and texture to the outfield grass, players can use the warning track to determine their approximate distance to the fence.