Wednesday Web Gems 

Baseball Field Conditions Vary

Knowledge of baseball field conditions is essential when conditions are not ideal, which they rarely are. Additionally, the knowledge of how to play on non-perfect baseball fields only comes with experience, even though good coaches help players with recognizing field and playing conditions.

It is confounding to baseball fans to see major league players make errors on plays that even a ten year old can make. What many of those fans fail to realize is that balls go in and out of lights, or even in and out of white shirts from the stands, that make catching balls very difficult, at times. However, what rightfully confounds fans is when major league players miss fly balls because of the sun, when they do not have, or use, sunglasses. 

Baseball field conditions to be aware of with the help of baseball coaches

  1. Where the sun or light posts are located – the location of the sun and lights may affect defensive positions differently. Players should try to judge in pregame, the balls and positions affected, and which height balls will be most affected. This knowledge helps determine whom and when players need to wear and activate sunglasses, as well as when balls may travel through the lights.
  2. Wet or dry field conditions – this knowledge determines defensive depths to play, but just as important, how balls will come off the field. Balls will generally bounce slower around home plate and on the dirt with wet fields, but skip and come off faster off grass. That is obviously important knowledge for fielders to have, so they understand the difference, especially on the last hop before fielding balls.
  3. Twilight – fly balls can easily be lost at dusk, when the ball blends in with the color of the sky. This is helpful for not only the player under balls to know, but hose surrounding to help out, when the ball is lost in the twilight sky.
  4. High sky – the high sky is one when there are absolutely no clouds around to give players depth perception when catching fly balls and popped up balls. This is another of those field conditions players must be aware of beforehand, so they are prepared to concentrate more and adjust accordingly.
  5. Wet spots – often, after rain, some places on the ball diamonds are left wetter than other spots. Knowledge of these wet spots helps players for running the bases or for chasing batted balls.

Many of these baseball field conditions are hard to mimic in practice but coaches should especially have players practice dealing with balls in the sun. Specifically – how to use sunglasses, how to use their glove to shield the sun, and how to stay with balls in the sun until the last moment – are all things to practice.

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