The Basics of Baseball : The Baseball Pitcher’s Mound

BEN GRAHAM: All right. We’re standing here
on the pitcher’s mound. This is where the fun begins in the game of baseball. Obviously,
this is the domain of the pitcher. It’s 45 feet from home plate. It is on an elevation.
The elevation varies at different levels of the game. But just to give you an idea of
how fast the ball is going to travel out of the pitcher’s hand. You’re facing a Johan
Santana, a Pedro Martinez, or a Roger Clemens, the batter is going to have less than a second
to pick out the type of pitch that’s coming at him, how he’s going to swing, whether or
not he wants to swing if he’s going to hope to make contact with the ball. The pitcher
will stand on what’s called the rubber. That’s just this little bitty piece of rubber here.
Some people like to line up on the left side of the rubber; some, farther over. Sometimes
it varies batter to batter. Sometimes the pitcher will stand slightly in front of the
rubber. The pitcher always has to have his foot making contact with the rubber if he’s
going to make a pitch toward home plate. You can step off the rubber to take a moment,
to get your signs, or if you want to give a look back to the runner there or the runner
on first base if you’re pitching out of the stretch, which is the position that I’m in
now and you want to hold your runner on. But, for the most part, the pitcher will always
have his foot on the rubber or in front of the rubber making contact. When the pitcher
goes into his windup–and a lot of times you’ll see him slumped over–he’s watching the catcher
behind the plate, getting his signs. When he’s ready, he’ll go into his windup and throw
the ball. And that’s just the basic look from the pitcher’s mound.

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