Tuesday, April 23, 2019

There are only nine-players on the team, yet it feels like there are dozens of positions to know. Each player has a dual-role: offensive and defensive. Here is a quick breakdown of the players on the field, and the ones at homeplate. We also gave you some MLB (Major League Baseball) names to drop to impress your friends!

You will notice, however, that a majority of the players listed come from the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox or the Tampa Bay Rays. Partly it’s because their names are pretty famous (I’m sure you have heard of a little guy named Derek Jeter?). But it’s also in part because these are names that I know. The ones that have seeped into my brain from all the games my boyfriend and my father have made me watch on television. And also because the Rays are about to go into the World Series and are the talk of the town. But I encourage you to check out your local team’s top players. MLB.com has a complete list for each team. Scroll through the pics and pic your favorite hottie. I mean, player.

Who’s the Boss?

The Manager: In baseball, the coach is actually called the manager. And he gets to wear the same cute little uniform that the players do!

Famous Managers:

Base Coach: The guys that hang out next to first and third base and gesture wildly at the players. They are giving elaborate hand signals to the runners on base to help them know what to do! Not sure why they are not called Base Managers….

Guys holding the bat:

Swing batter, batter, swing!

Swing batter, batter, swing!

Batter: Player that is holding the bat and is trying to hit the ball. Usually wiggles around a lot with the bat to get comfy in the batter’s box. Usually taunted with “sing batter, batter, batter, swing.”

Designated Hitter: We’ll go into this more when we talk about Major League Baseball. But basically, this is a player that comes in to bat in the place of the pitcher. It is different from the pinch-hitter because the pitcher is allowed to stay in the game.

Pinch Hitter: A player that comes in to replace another hitter in the line-up, in a pinch. However, once the player has been replaced by the pinch hitter, he is retired to go hang out in the dug-out and the pinch hitter stays in the game. Usually the pinch hitter is great at offense (hitting the ball) but sucks at defense (can’t catch anything) and the coach, oh sorry, manager, has to determine which is more important.

Leadoff Hitter: The first player to hit in the batting order. He is not the team’s power hitter but he has horse power. He gets the most at-bats in the lineup but his goal isn’t always to drill the ball into the stands, but rather gain base hits and doubles to get on base. Then run like heck during the rest of the line-up to make it around the bases and score.

Clean-up hitter: The person slated to be 4th in the batting order. The hope is that the first three batters are on base and the 4th will “clean-up” by hitting a homerun and clearing the bases. The clean-up position is usually reserved for the team’s best hitter, a powerhouse. But, while the top four spots in the lineup are key, they are not stationary. Meaning that players rotate through them. It’s rare that the same person stays as the teams clean-up hitter through a whole season.

Names to Drop: Right now, one hot name would be Justin Morneau. He played 163 games in 2008 as the Twins’ clean-up hitter. And Alex Rodriguez has spent a lot of time in this role for the Yankees. Cecil Fielder will also score you some points as one to know.

Guys holding the ball:

Pitchers and catchers are arguably the two most important players in the game. If you have a sucky pitcher, you are not going to win games. At the same time, if the pitcher and catcher don’t work well together, well then, forget about it. We will go into more detail about these in a later section but for now, we want to give you the basics on what they do.

Pitcher: Player who throws the ball at the player holding the bat. Spends a lot of time shaking his head (at the catcher, see below) and spitting on the dirt mound he is standing on. We will elaborate further on the importance of the pitcher in the next blog.

Starting: The pitcher that starts the game.

Relief: The pitcher that takes over when the starting pitcher gets tired. The old perception was that the bullpen (where the pitchers hang out) was full of the has beens. But times have changed and the bullpen is full of bright stars now, especially the Closers. And the relief pitchers really extend the careers of the team’s starting pitchers.

Closer: A relief pitcher, but one that specializes in closing out games: keeping the lead or making a comeback in the final innings. (Mariano Rivera-Yankees, Jonathan Papelbon-Red Sox, Troy Percival-Devil Rays)

Ace: The team’s best starter

Ones to know: See the Pitching Blog to learn more about the top stars and the names to drop!

Catcher: Guy in the crazy mask and big knee pads crouching down behind the batter. Usually making weird hand signals in his crotch—his means of communicating with the pitcher a few hundred feet away without letting the batter know what is going to happen.

Top Catchers To Name Drop: Jorge Posada (Yankees), Jason Varitek (Red Sox), Mike Piazza (most noted for his time with the Mets) and Yogi Berra (Yankees)

Infielders & Outfielders: The ones playing defense out in the field (you know, catching the ball and throwing it to their friends around the field)

This pic from open-site.org illustrates the key parts of the field

This pic from open-site.org illustrates the key parts of the field

This illustration from baseballfactory.com shows the 9 positions around the infield and outfield.

This illustration from baseballfactory.com shows the 9 positions around the infield and outfield.


The Basemen: They are the protectors of the bases. Each has their own forte that we will elaborate on later.

Name Dropping

1st: If you really want to wow people, especially Yankee fans, ask them who is the greatest 1st baseman of all time: Lou Gehrig or Don Mattingly.

2nd: Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox), Akinori Iwamura (Rays)

3rd: Alex Rodriguez (Yankees). And really, do you need another one besides him?


Derek Jeter. Cal Ripken, Jr.



Name Dropping: B.J Upton (Devil Rays), Johnny Damon (Yankees), Coco Crisp (Red Sox)–Easy to remember, and makes me laugh every time I hear it.

My Personal Fave: Ken Griffey, Jr.

Old School “Wow” Bonus Points: Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays.


Name Dropping: Hideki Matsui (Yankees), Manny Ramierez (Red Sox, now Dodgers), Jason Bay (Red Sox). Bay and Ramierez were actually part of much gossiped about trade mid-season this year.

Old School “Wow” Bonus Points: Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds.


Name Dropping: Kosuke Fukudome (just be careful how you say it!)

Old School “Wow” Bonus Points: Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente

About the author: Jennifer Taglione is the owner of this fabulous website Stiletto Sports. Despite writing well over 500 posts, she still maintains that she is not a sports writer! She is however a huge fan of Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Mark Sanchez, the Celtics, and totally kicks butt on March Madness brackets! Connect with her by following her on Twitter @StilettoSportsJ and subscribing to her weekly newsletter. For more info check out the About the Editor page!

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