"The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. The field, the game: it's a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again.”

The infamous lines written by W. P. Kinsella and masterfully delivered from the soothing baritone of James Earl Jones send chills down the spine of any good baseball fan. Baseball really isn't just a game; it's life for many.

Opening of Spring Training: A Glimpse into Baseball Season

With the official opening of spring training this week, I wanted to make sure you are as excited as I am about the best time of the year, “baseball season.” Warm nights, a cool drink, and the crack of a bat are just what we need to shake off the chill of the winter months. To help you prepare for baseball season, let's talk about some baseball rules and lingo you can use to impress your baseball-obsessed friend next time they drag you to a game.

Balk: The Pitcher's Unauthorized Move

A balk is called when a pitcher executes an unauthorized move on the mound, perceived by the umpire as an attempt to deceive the runner(s). Consequently, any players on base are granted the next base, and if a pitch is thrown, it is nullified, resulting in a dead ball.

Infield Fly: Fair Fly Ball Rule

This rule outlines the Infield Fly as a fair fly ball (excluding line drives or bunts) that can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, occurring when first and second bases or first, second, and third bases are occupied with fewer than two outs.

Catcher's Interference: Awarding First Base

If a catcher interferes with a batter's swing, the batter is awarded first base. This can happen if the catcher's glove or any part of their body contacts the bat during the swing.

Interfering with a Batted Ball: Fan Interference

If a spectator reaches over a barrier, such as the outfield fence or into the field of play, and interferes with a batted ball, it is considered fan interference. The umpire may rule the batter out or award the batter extra bases, depending on the situation.

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Pitcher Delays: Time Limit for Pitchers

When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.”

The Third Strike Rule: Unusual Opportunities

This scenario unfolds when the pitcher, having faced no runners on base at the start of the inning, strikes out a batter with a three-pitch sequence. However, a twist occurs as the pitched ball ends up in the dirt, eluding the catcher's grasp, and the batter seizes the opportunity to sprint to first base. Termed the third strike rule, it allows a batter to advance to first base if the potential "third strike" touches the ground while evading the catcher, provided the batter outruns the subsequent throw. This rule is applicable only when first base is unoccupied or if there are already two outs in the inning.

Tri-City Dust Devils' Home Opener: Embrace Minor League Baseball

I hope this does it for you; the Tri-City Dust Devils have their home opener against the Spokane Indians on April 9th. Represent your local minor league team and enjoy a warm spring night with a cool drink and the crack of a bat. Baseball truly is America's pastime.

LOOK: MLB history from the year you were born

Stacker compiled key moments from Major League Baseball's history over the past 100 years. Using a variety of sources from Major League Baseball (MLB) record books, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and audio and video from events, we've listed the iconic moments that shaped a sport and a nation. Read through to find out what happened in MLB history the year you were born.

Gallery Credit: Seth Berkman

CHECK IT OUT: 100 sports records and the stories behind them



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