Baseball beginners might wonder who bats first in baseball. Do the teams decide it with a coin flip? Perhaps they talked about the batting order before the match begins.
The guest team will be the first to bat while the home team bats second. It’s a show of respect akin to focusing on guests visiting your home before thinking of yourself.
At this point, you’re wondering, when did this rule first appear? Also, what are the pros and cons of batting first in baseball? Continue reading as you dive deeper into this topic and learn more about baseball’s batting order.
The visiting team will always bat first in baseball. Additionally, the guest team will always be at the top half of each inning. It’s like the home team accommodating their guests. However, don’t expect home teams to give away their chances of winning matches as they’ll still put up a fight.
What is the History of Which Team Bats First in Baseball?
This tradition of letting the home team come up to bat first started in the early 20th century. Before that, both teams that are about to play had a choice. Many home teams wanted to have their hitters come up to bat first because they saw it as a tactical advantage.
Over time, club managers saw improved strategies if their players went up to bat last. These officials saw that being the last batters also mean more chances of catching up to score during the last innings. For example, if the score is tied by the end of the 9th inning, the last team to bat would have more opportunities to score than the other team that hit first.
California State University researchers, specifically Franklin Lowenthal and Stephen Shmanske, considered the advantages of batting first in baseball. The investigators found that home teams won a majority of the time because they batted first, albeit not by significant margins.
Additionally, neutral park games in classic MLB games decided which team would bat first through coin tosses. Occasionally, the visiting team would be labeled as the home team, allowing them to bat last.
What is the Batting Order in Baseball?
Now that you know who bats first in baseball, it’s time to discuss the batting order.
Also called the betting lineup, the batting order is determined by the team managers of both clubs playing. Then, the umpires will report the batting lineup to oppose teams. For example, Team A decided its batting lineup and proceeds to inform the umpire. The umpire will then go to Team B’s manager to inform them about Team A’s decision. Team B also does this process to inform its lineup to Team A.
Take note that the lineup will also include replacement players in case some athletes cannot play because of injuries. However, clubs choose replacements at random, depending on the game’s current situation.
Still, baseball leagues follow a rule of thumb wherein the substitute will be eliminated at his turn if he’s in the lineup for the first three players in the first inning. Therefore, the next player in the lineup will be the replacement.
With that in mind, club managers would often place their four best hitters as their primary batters. This scenario was different back in the old days of baseball wherein clubs didn’t follow set orders as to who comes to bat next. Therefore, it’s possible to see a random order of hitters to take the field, depending on who’s available and willing to step up to the plate.
What are the Pros and Cons of Batting First in Baseball?
As mentioned previously, batting first can have its advantages. However, batting last also means more opportunities to win during tie-breakers. Thus, understanding the pros and cons of batting first in baseball will help teams know their opportunities and limitations in matches.
The Pros of Batting First in Baseballur Heading Text Here
1. The Leadoff Hitter Will Have the Most Adrenaline
Imagine the following scenario: you’re the first up to bat as the crowd watches you in anticipation. Your opponents are beaming at you, watching your every move. The adrenaline in your body goes into overdrive as you become focused on your primary goal – hitting the ball.
The adrenaline rush can give you more energy to handle the task at hand. Teammates in the dugout can also feel this rush, albeit they can’t release that excess energy. Therefore, other team members may feel tired even before they enter the field. On the other hand, first hitters can use that excess energy immediately, promoting improved performance.
2. Scouting Opportunities
Many baseball club scouts tend to only stick around matches during the first few innings. Therefore, being the first hitter allows players to strut their best stuff on the field to allow better scouting opportunities.
The Cons of Batting First in Baseball
1. Undeniable Home Field Advantage
Today’s baseball games allow the guests to come up to plate first. However, home-field advantage is real and is backed by numerous studies. One 2018 statistics report found that many teams would win over 50% of the time when playing in their home fields. The study included sports games in the NFL, NBA, and, MLB.
2. Stress of Travel
Traveling can be both fun and exhausting. Lugging around several kilograms of equipment can put unwanted pressure on the body even before the match begins. Home teams, on the other hand, will already have their equipment in nearby lockers, significantly reducing or eliminating the unwanted stress of travel.
Today’s baseball games, especially in the MLB, will honor guests by allowing them to bat first. It’s like becoming a hospitable host to visitors at your home. Still, it doesn’t mean that visiting teams are more advantageous because they bat first. Home teams can still become victorious despite hitting last.