Baseball Explained By An Australian (Who’s Never Seen Baseball)

This ignorant Aussie just watched his first baseball match. MLB Down Under.

1. Baseball players are the ultimate good sports. Much time is spent doffing caps, enquiring into each others health and generally being thoroughly nice chaps.

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“Good day Sir.”

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2. Baseball seems a little like cricket, but is actually different in almost every way. Even when it’s baseball being played on the Sydney Cricket Ground.

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Why is the guy on the left THROWING THE BALL? Surely that’s not allowed?

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3. Instead of a big oval with all the action taking place in the centre, baseball is played on a weird diamond, with all the action taking place in one corner.

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4. This makes for a lot of empty space.

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Also, make sure you buy tickets in the corner where all the action is.

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5. Each side has 25 players, but only nine actually play.

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This seems kind of rough on the other guys, but there are 162 games a season (?!!!) so everyone probably gets a chance, right?

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6. Everyone wears pyjamas. Fancy pyjamas, but still PJs.

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The games are often held at night, so guess this means players don’t have to worry about changing before bed?

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7. Before the game everyone lines up, takes their hats off and sings the national anthem. This is AWESOME.

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8. ” Hello Goosebumps!”

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9. Like cricket, someone bowls a ball, the batter hits it, and there are fielders who try to catch and run you out.

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10. Except fielders in baseball use mitts (cos they’re soft) which makes catching pretty easy.

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When you’re earning $10m to hit the ball, you don’t want to break a finger right?

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11. Incidentally, these guys wear GREAT leather belts.

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12. Half the time the players don’t seem to know what’s happening and the coach has to explain the rules.

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13. Like in cricket, one guy bowls at the batsman. Except someone forgot to bring the wickets.

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The distance between the pitcher and the hitter is 18.45m, about the same as the 20.12m between the bowler and batsman in cricket.

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14. Unlike cricket, the guy bowling throws the ball: it’s called pitching. And yes, throwing is allowed.

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He throws it pretty fast: pitches average 90 mph.

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15. The balls themselves are much lighter than cricket balls. Softer some might say.

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16. The balls are either super cheap or the MLB is super rich. Balls go into the crowd non-stop and never come back.

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17. Pitching looks less demanding than cricket bowling (a pitcher throws an average of 100 balls a game) but it pays better: Dodger Clayton Kershaw earns $30m a season!

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18. The pitch doesn’t bounce and is aimed at an IMAGINARY box in the air. The players and umpires can see this box, but no one else can. If the ball is going into this box, the battter tries to hit it.

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19. Tries is the operative word. There is A LOT of playing and missing.

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20. If cricketers missed the ball as often as this cricket matches would be over pretty quick. They don’t, which is why cricket matches can take five days.

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21. Batsmen are called hitters. Which makes you wonder why they miss the ball so much.

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22. On the rare occasions batters hits the ball, it mostly goes right up in the air or flies off the bat in the wrong direction.

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23. Once in a blue moon, a player hits the ball out of the park for a HOME RUN!

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24. When this happens everyone goes CRAZY and the batter gets fist-bumped and high-fived and gets a rest.

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Cameron Spencer

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25. Baseball is basically rounders. The batter tries to hit the ball and run to first, second or third base. Once he gets home he scores a touchdown. If he hits long he scores a three pointer.

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Disclaimer: learning the rules of any new sport takes time.

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26. No one seems to think it odd that these bases are named after waypoints in a blooming sexual relationship.

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27. Unlike cricket, which boasts positions such as gully and silly mid off, baseball’s fielding positions sound pretty dull. With the exception of short stop.

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28. There’s nothing dull about baseball fans though.

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29. There’s A LOT of sitting around in baseball. It’s an even more leisurely game then cricket.

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30. One guy doing a lot of sitting (well squatting) is the wicketkeeper. He catches the balls that the batter misses. Except he’s just called the catcher, or backstop, because there’s no wicket.

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31. He stands REALLY close to the hitter, so he wears a whole load of protective gear to make sure he doesn’t get his teeth knocked out.

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Either that, or he’s escaped from the same hospital as Hannibal Lecter.

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32. This guy has the most dangerous job in world sport.

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33. He should be the baddy in a Batman movie.

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34. On average, baseball players seem a little heftier than other athletes.

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35. To the untrained eye, weight looks like it may actually be a major advantage in baseball.

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Is there a weight-to-speed ratio that give the pitcher an edge?

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36. This is why two-foot-long hot dogs are a baseball speciality.

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37. Thanks for coming Down Under Major League Baseball! You blew our minds.

The backdrop? Tremendous. #OpeningSeries

— MLB (@MLB)
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Kenley locks it down and Game 1 Down Under goes to the @Dodgers.

— MLB (@MLB)
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Simon Crerar is founding editor of BuzzFeed Australia and is based in Sydney.
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