Would it surprise you that a player who hits only 3 out of 10 pitches (in other words they miss 7 out of 10) is considered an excellent hitter because their batting average is a .300? That’s how hard hitting a baseball is! America’s favorite game is all about statistics, and a trip to the ballgame can be an opportunity for students to calculate baseball card stats, compare players, and make predictions about the game they are watching.
They can also examine the costs of attending a game with new products like luxury skyboxes, gourmet food, and souvenirs and compare that to the 10-cent admission of the first ballpark in Brooklyn. Then take your focus off the players for just a moment to consider all of the jobs and money that go into producing a baseball game.
Students analyze the different elements of a sports game including player stats, and stadium and team history.
During a stadium tour, let students feel what it's like on the other end, as they view announcer areas, dugouts, etc. Let them learn about the history of the stadium, and inquire about what it took to build a stadium and get it up and running.
BEFORE YOU GO
-Check if your stadium has a museum you can visit before the game.
-Ask if the stadium offers tours or provides educational information (many stadium websites include team history, photos, stats and more).
-Ask about player meet and greet opportunities or youth day giveaways.
WHAT TO WONDER
Ask: What trait is most important for a baseball player: strength, speed, intelligence, teamwork? What is the function of each part of the "behind the scenes" areas, and who are the people - outside of the team - who make a baseball game work and function?
Describe the stadium. How many hometown fans vs. visitor fans? Describe the sounds, the smells, the colors, and the activity.
Observe the lineup of players up to bat. Is the order important? Why? Observe the movements of each player: the signs the catcher makes, the various throws the pitcher makes, the runners inching off the base to try to steal, the coaches signaling to base runners, the next batter warming up.
Opinion: Do you have a favorite baseball player or team? Who? What makes the player or team so great?
Compare the strengths and weaknesses of two players or teams. Contrast their strategies.
Challenge students to guess the mph of each pitch (before it is posted on the scoreboard) or to make the call for each pitch before the umpire does. Try to start a wave in the stands.
Discuss player stats and batting averages.
Project: Compete in a fantasy baseball game. Learn how to get started at PBS Mathline: http://www.pbs.org/teachers/connect/resources/4367/preview/
Research the history of the game.
Let students take the roles of sports announcers and players, and reenact exciting moments during an imaginary game. Relate this to the history of sportscasting, from the days of radio to the present.
PRINTOUTS Copies of baseball cards for players (most can be found by searching Google images)