Category: Rules

Baseball Explained…………Finally!!!

Fans of the game are always in a perpetual state of learning.  Whether you have been a fan for seven days or seven decades, you can always learn something new.  In that learning process, sometimes things fall through the cracks, other times no matter how many times you hear something you just don’t get it.  Finally there is a book to help with the basics.


Baseball Explained

By:Phillip Mahony – 2014 McFarland Publishing

Many times when fans miss a piece of the who, what, when, where and why of baseball we are either to embarrassed to ask for help, or don’t know where to find the information.  Phillip Mahony has undertaken the task of writing Baseball Explained.  It breaks down all the nuts and bolts of the game and explains it in a format that is easy to understand for even the casual fan.

The Preliminary section of this book addresses the basics of the game.  The playing field, the fielders, the line-ups and the basic format of the game itself.  It presents the basics in a way that even people who have never experienced the game before can get the general idea of why things are what they are on the field.  The next section covers objectives of the game and why things are done at certain times.  It gives a basic strategy for the field and what needs to be done when and where.  This gives some  new insight to the basic principles of the game to the reader.  We are accustomed to todays strategies which don’t always coincide with the games basic principles.  In that respect it almost becomes a refresher course on the basic in-game strategies.

The third section of the book covers statistics, and this to me is very important section.  It teaches why stats are so important in the game and the place they have in its make-up.  Both sides of the ball are covered in the book as well as teaching how to read a box score.  The part in this section that I found most important was how to fill out a score card correctly.  That is something that was lacking in my fan arsenal and now I am better off for reading this book.

Finally the author takes a look at today’s game of baseball, at both the major and minor league levels.  It ties in everything the reader has learned up to this point and you see some real-world applications to your readings.

This book belongs in every baseball fans library.  No matter what level you think you are at as a fan, you will find something that gets clarified or explained in a way that gives the game a new meaning for you.  I learned how to do a score card correctly, and finally someone explained to me the damn infield-fly rule in a way I understand.  It only took 35 years for someone to explain it so I could understand it!  So to Phillip Mahony, I say thank you for that one.

No single fan knows everything, and this book proves it.  Everyone should check this book out.

You can check the authors web site for more information about the book

Or you can order direct from the nice folks at McFarland Publishing

Happy Reading


The New Ballgame – Understanding Baseball Stats for the Casual Fan

It’s World Series time.  What better time then now for the people who have no idea about balls and strikes to become die-hard baseball fans.  If you didn’t notice the sarcasm in that last sentence, let me point it out to you.  Visit any local watering hole and you will find lots of eyes fixated on the TV screens plastered on the walls.  Now don’t get me wrong there are true fans out there watching for the great love of the game.  Then there are those other people who have no idea what is going on, and only care because it’s the World Series and think they probably should have an interest.  Today’s book gives those later folks a chance to actually learn about what they are hearing on the TV.


The New Ballgame-Understanding Baseball Statistics for the Casual Fan

By:Glenn Guzzo-2007 Acta Sports

As long time baseball fans, we sometimes take things for granted.  We forget that at one time in our lives we were rookies in our knowledge base.  We did not have the knowledge of the history of the game, the intricacies of certain plays or even the general knowledge of how to read a box score.  We all have to start somewhere and this book does that for those fans that need help.

The author starts out simple and reviews basic everyday stats that give the uninformed fan a starting point to build their knowledge.  Then you get a historical breakdown of how the stats have been used in baseball and how they play into the overall business of baseball.  Moving on you learn how to score a game and read a box score.  Throughout the game’s history reading a box score has been paramount in bringing the final result of the game to the masses.

The next few chapters show how the game is moving into the future.  Guzzo discusses the real life application of the stats as they are discussed on television.  Also talked about is how fantasy baseball has become a success in our world, and how it plays a part of being a good fan.  Finally the book finishes up with the future of statistics in baseball.

For the casual fan who needs some background and knowledge this is a good, informative and quick read.  It will give them the basic platform on to which they can build a better understanding of the game and possibly the desire to learn even more.  Hardcore fans with a strong knowledge base may find some of the information repetitive.

While reading this, I used my own Wife as the basis of application of this book.  Her knowledge base is  higher than that of a novice fan, but still not at the level of a baseball lifer.  I find that when she asks a question about a statistic, I sometimes have trouble explaining thoroughly and clearly what the situation is.  I feel the reason is that I have known about the subject for so long, it is now something I just…..understand.  I can’t necessarily explain it, but I know how it works.  This book would do a great job of filling in the pieces I have trouble explaining to her, in a way she would easily understand.

You can get this book from the friendly folks at Acta Sports

Happy Reading


Ask Hal – He has all the answers!

Being a baseball fan you are always in a constant state of learning.  Due to the age of baseball you can never know ALL of the history of the sport.  The same thing can be said for the rules of our beloved game.  No matter how much you think you have seen………you haven’t seen it all.  Strange plays and circumstances may even stump the most seasoned fans out there.  Well I found some help for those strange situations……….


Ask Hal – Answers to Fans’ Most Interesting Questions about Baseball Rules

Hal Lebovitz – 2007 Gray & Co Publishers

This book has been around for several years and I am surprised I have not heard more about it.  The writings are a culmination of Hal’s articles in the Cleveland papers during his illustrious Hall of Fame career.  Hal would respond to readers write-in questions about baseball rules and statistics and print the answers in his articles.

The book is separated into several sections addressing almost all of the positions on the field, along with hitting and umpiring.  Some of the questions in the book are very basic.  Others not so much, for example, foul balls.  The book gives you thirteen different scenarios that are all possible on the field of play.  Hal s dissects each one and gives the rational for the on-field call.  Essentially this is baseball rules for dummies but is still covering the more complex plays.  Due to the complexity of some of the rules, it will keep even the most seasoned fan interested.

If you have any interest in the rules, this book will keep you entertained.  If you have some friends that you talk baseball with, this book is sure to start some debates as well.  Scoring, base running, fair or foul it is all covered.

I was not very familiar with Hal Lebovitz or his writing before reading this book.  I know he was a Hall of Fame inductee, but not living in Cleveland I never had any exposure to him.  Now that I have read this book I have a new-found respect for Hal.  His answers are well thought out, clear and concise.  That style allows even the novice fan to understand his explanation of the rule.

This book is 180 pages of Hal’s lifetime worth of knowledge and analysis, rolled into one neat little package for the fans.  It is definitely worth reading and keeping in your Baseball Bookcase.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Gray & Co Publishers

Happy Reading