Baseball Brains is a group of players, coaches, and athletic trainers who help others in our field become more successful and knowledgeable.
The Dimensions of a Baseball Field
The dimensions of baseball fields can vary widely, making each one of them a unique and special place. Though the baseball field can also be known as the baseball diamond (that's the typical shape of the boundaries), there are many parks today which barely fit that description.
The dimensions and measurements of each field vary by the age and skill level of the players, as well as many other factors, such as space and other uses for the park.
Let's take a look at some of the typical dimensions for baseball fields!
How Big Is a Tee Ball Field?
Let's start with tee-ball, since that's the first age that children can typically play the game. In tee-ball, the ball is not thrown to the hitter by a pitcher. Instead, it is placed on a stationary tee at home plate.
Tee-ball players are four to six years old, so this is by far the best way to introduce them to the game of baseball without making it too hard!
While there isn't usually a home run fence in tee-ball, the bases are placed 50 feet apart from one another. Now if we can get the kids to run the correct direction around them, we'll be in business!
The Dimensions of a Little League Field
Moving on from tee-ball takes us into Little League, which really goes all the way through to teenage players as well. For our purposes here, we'll define the Little League field as for players seven to twelve years old.
A standard Little League field will have a distance of 46 feet from the pitching rubber to home plate, and 60 feet between the bases. The home run wall should be at least 200 feet from home plate, and not more than 275 feet.
When players get to be 11 or 12 years old, they may be able to play what is known as intermediate level. At this level, the distance from the mound to home plate increases to 50 feet, and the bases to 70 feet.
Why Do the Sizes of Baseball Fields Change?
Pitching Distance: The pitching distance starts at 46 feet for young kids and progressively moves back to 60 feet 6 inches for Major League Baseball. The reason it starts close is that young kids can't throw the ball as far or as hard. As they age up and get stronger, they begin to throw the ball harder. If they stayed 46 feet from the hitter the whole time, it would be much too difficult to hit the ball. The distance of the pitching rubber is mostly about reaction time of the hitter.
Base Paths: In Little League, the base paths are 60 feet long, perfect for young kids who aren't as big or fast. The infielders must be able to make the throw all the way from one base to another, so you can't start with an infield that is too big. As kids age, the bases go from 60 to 70 to 80 and finally 90 feet apart.
Home Run Fence: One of the best things that happens in a baseball game is a home run! Many Little League fields don't have proper fences due to expenses and other factors, but those that do have them at about 200 feet. This creates a field size that is suitable for kids to be able to run around and play defense, but also a reachable fence for the better hitters.
The fence typically goes back to around 250-300 feet for middle school fields. Because the fence is an arch, most fields are much deeper in centerfield than the corners. A high school field will share about the same dimensions as a professional field, or about 300 feet down the lines and 400 feet in centerfield.
Dimensions of Fields for Middle-School-Aged Players
There are several different sizes for the fields of middle-school-aged players; we'll lay out a couple of them here.
- 12 years old: Usually play on fields which are 50/70, meaning 50-foot pitching distance and 70-foot bases. The wall will be around 200 feet from home plate.
- 13 years old: Will increase in distance to 54/80. The small increase in the pitching distance and base paths gets them ready for the next step, which is a full-sized field. The wall here will be about 300 feet.
- 14 years old: Kids who are 14 have probably reached the full-sized baseball field, or 60/90. This is the same sized field they will play on for as long as they play the game. The wall will be somewhere around 300 feet down the lines and 400 feet in center.
Dimensions of Major League Ballparks
Well, we've already discussed the size of the baseball field for Major League Baseball (MLB), but it doesn't quite end there. Each field in MLB has a little different layout when it comes to the stands for the crowds and for the home run fence.
Foul Ground: The amount of foul ground (outside the lines for field of play, but still playable area for popups or passed balls, etc.) varies widely. Some parks will have the fans very close to the action, and some much further back. This means more plays can be made on balls that get popped up, making parks with more foul ground much more appealing to pitchers.
Home Run Fence: There really isn't a lot of rules regulating how far back a home run fence needs to be at any certain point in its arch. For example, the right field home run fence at Fenway Park in Boston is only 302 feet, while Wrigley Field in Chicago is 353 feet.
Centerfield in Houston's ballpark is 436 feet, while it's only 390 in Boston!
In left field, you'll find the shortest distance for a wall at only 310 feet at Boston's Fenway Park. The catch is that it's 37 feet tall!
Build a Team Around the Park's Dimensions
With dimensions varying so much in Major League ballparks, teams will often bring in players that suit the park.
For example, if the home run fence is very deep and there is a lot of outfield ground to cover, a team may fill the outfield with very fast players and bring in pitchers that give up a lot of flyballs. If the home run fence is shorter, a team will want more groundball pitchers so that they don't give up a bunch of home runs.
It's very interesting looking at all of the different dimensions of baseball fields, leave comments below if you have seen your very own odd fields!
© 2018 baseballbrains
Aries D Blymire on July 22, 2020:
I want to play baseball today