An inning in baseball or softball consists of two halves, where a single half is sometimes called a frame. In each half, one team bats until three outs are made, with the other team playing defense. Each half-inning formally starts when the umpire calls "Play ball!" (note that in Major League Baseball, the umpire is only required to call "Play"). A full inning consists of six outs, three for each team; and a regulation game consists of nine innings. The visiting team always bats first in each inning, and the visitors' turn at bat is called the top of the inning, derived from the position of the visiting team at the top line of a baseball line score. The home team's half of an inning is also called the bottom of the inning, and the break between halves of an inning is called the middle of the inning. If the home team is leading in the middle of the ninth inning, or scores to take the lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, the game immediately ends in a home victory.
If the score is tied after nine innings, the game goes into extra innings until an inning ends with one team ahead of the other. In Japanese baseball, however, games end if tied after 12 innings (or, in postseason play in Nippon Professional Baseball, 15 innings). As in the case of the ninth inning, a home team which scores to take a lead in any extra inning automatically wins, and the inning (and the game) is considered complete at that moment regardless of the number of outs. This is commonly referred to as a "walk-off" situation, since the last play results in the teams walking off the field because the game is over. However, road teams can't earn a "walk-off" victory by scoring the go-ahead run in extra innings, unlike in American football and ice hockey where the team (either home or away) scoring first in overtime automatically wins.
Ending a half-inning is referred to as "retiring the side". A half-inning in which all batters are put out without taking a base is referred to as a "one-two-three inning". The number of innings a pitcher is in a game is measured by the innings pitched statistic.
In US English, baseball terminology is sometimes found in non-sports usage in a tense situation: "it's the bottom of the ninth " (sometimes adding, "with two outs"), meaning "there isn't much time to turn things around here".
Professional baseball games (both major and minor leagues) as well as college baseball games last nine innings. High school games and College softball last seven innings and Little League uses six inning games.
Read more about this topic: Innings
Famous quotes containing the word baseball:
“Baseball is the religion that worships the obvious and gives thanks that things are exactly as they seem. Instead of celebrating mysteries, baseball rejoices in the absence of mysteries and trusts that, if we watch what is laid before our eyes, down to the last detail, we will cultivate the gift of seeing things as they really are.”
—Thomas Boswell, U.S. sports journalist. The Church of Baseball, Baseball: An Illustrated History, ed. Geoffrey C. Ward, Knopf (1994)
“It is a mass language only in the same sense that its baseball slang is born of baseball players. That is, it is a language which is being molded by writers to do delicate things and yet be within the grasp of superficially educated people. It is not a natural growth, much as its proletarian writers would like to think so. But compared with it at its best, English has reached the Alexandrian stage of formalism and decay.”
—Raymond Chandler (18881959)
“The salary cap ... will be accepted about the time the 13 original states restore the monarchy.”
—Tom Reich, U.S. baseball agent. New York Times, p. 16B (August 11, 1994)