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How Far Apart Are the Bases in Baseball? – A Simple Instruction

how-far-apart-are-the-bases-in-baseball

Imagine if the creators and designers of baseball created its field out of whim. That would mean chaos. It would be incredibly frustrating since baseball is a game of statistics, not random chances.

The mechanics of baseball demand that its bases be far apart at calculated lengths. One can’t be familiar with the baseball field without even knowing how far apart are the bases in baseball.

You will learn precisely that if you read this article to the end.

How Far Are Bases in Baseball?

how far are bases in baseball

Each base in a baseball field covers a distance of 90 ft.

Therefore, the baseball base distance (achieved by using a steel tape measure) between the first and third base should cover a total of 127 feet, 3 3/8 inches. The rest of the measurement for home base distances shall extend from the intersection of the first and third baselines.

In principle, an infield configures to about a 90-feet-square. If you measure from the farthest edges of the first and third base to the apex of the home plate, you should get 90 feet.

However, in reality, the distances between bases are not exactly like this.

For a field layout, there are curves. So if one actually attempts to measure each base distance precisely, one will have to consider the angled portions of the home plate and the size of each base.

The calculation goes like this: 90’ (distance between bases) – 17” (base size) – 12” (curved or angled side of the home plate) = 87’5’’.

In a typical case involving the second base being only 87’1’’ instead of 87’5’’ from the first and third baselines, people would make the second base closer to the center field. Upon doing this, the distances between bases would be the same.

Why Professional Baseball Settled for 90-Feet Distance?

The NABBP (National Association of Base Ball Players) Convention of 1857 dictated an optimal distance between bases. Finding the proper distance did not just unfold randomly. It was painstakingly planned and conceived through a series of tests.

The 100-feet distance proved to be too far apart, making it arduous for runners to reach base. On the other hand, 80 feet proved too short to create momentum for the offensive players.

The 90-feet distance (equivalent to 30 yards) became an official standard due to these considerations.

What Are the Specifications of the Baseball Infield?

how-many-feet-between-bases-in-mlb

Before delving into the specifications of the baseball infield, let us first find out what a baseball infield consists of. A baseball infield lies inside four (4) baselines and their corresponding bases.

The following are the specifications of a baseball infield, including how many feet between bases in MLB

  • First base: First base (from a series of four bases or stations) is the first base a batter must touch to score a run for his team.
  • Second base: Second base is synonymous with “keystone sack” or “keystone corner.” Baseball experts and theorists attribute these terms to the fact that a runner touching second base has scoring leverage, even if there are fewer than two (2) outs.

The term keystone applies to the second base being the middle of all bases, since keystone directly means the middle section of an arch.

The shortstop and second baseman must defend this area.

  • Third base: The third base is the third station in a sequence of four which a runner must reach. A third baseman guards this corner of the field.

Even when a batter is put out by a sacrifice fly, a runner still has a chance to score a run at third base. However, he must be able to do this before the third or final out has been recorded.

  • Other areas of the baseball infield include:
  • Baseline
  • Running Baseline
  • Running lane
  • Home plate

Do Baseball and Softball Base Distances Differ?

The distance between bases in baseball and the distance between bases in softball differ. The sizes of both fields are not the same. Naturally, their base distance differs as well.

Some instances see both games being played in the same field. However, this rarely happens since the rules of the two sports are different.

Bases in baseball are 90 feet apart, while bases in softball are only 60 feet of width apart. Hence, the art of stealing bases of the two games could hardly be more different.

The player can already advance for a base in a baseball game before the ball is fully pitched. On the other hand, a softball game requires the runner to wait for the ball to be fully pitched before he/she can advance to the base.

Conclusion

How far apart are the bases in baseball? In theory, each base in a baseball field covers a distance of 90 feet. In actuality, however, considering the overall field layout, the distance only configures to 87’5”.

Importantly, the distance between bases fulfills a critical purpose. Thus, the NABBP Convention in 1857 did not just come up with this standard without first testing the science and logic of such distance.

What do you think of the distance between bases in baseball? Do you think it is the perfect standard? Or should it be changed? Tell us what you think.

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