Learning Baseball with Goofy

Nobody plays baseball like Goofy. What timing! What finesse! What a genius!

Nobody plays baseball like Goofy. What timing! What finesse! What a genius!

So you want to play baseball? And you’re worried about learning all the rules, both written and unwritten? Well don’t worry, friend. Only a few minutes with a finely tuned athlete like our pal Goofy and you will be ready to strap on your own spiked stompers and take the field.

Let’s turn our attention to the instructional film “How to Play Baseball.” Our first lesson comes in the form of how to dress for the baseballing occasion. Loose and comfortable is the name of the game.

Wear Loose-Fitting Attire

Goofy 01,23Goofy 01,23 Baseball in Jersey b
Once you’ve found the proper uniform, you’ll need to find your talent on the field. Perhaps you’re suited to the pitcher, or twirler, position. This means you will throw the ball for the batsman to hit.

The pitcher begins each play when he throws the ball. Each pitcher has his own, unique windup, depending on what is comfortable:

Find a Comfortable, Repeatable Delivery

Goofy 01,46aGoofy 01,46a Dempster

Goofy 02,46Goofy 02,46 Ziegler

Goofy 06,28Goofy 06,28 Arroyo
And whether you need to wind your arm up a bit or bow to the umpire, the most important task is to be comfortable.

There’s Nothing Wrong with Wacky

Goofy 01,46bGoofy 01,46b Henderson Alvarez

For the batsman, timing is the key. Each batter, like each pitcher, must find his own routine. The routine helps the batter to ready himself in the batter’s box and be prepared to react to the pitch.

The batter takes a few practice swings, then readies himself:

Ready Your Uniform

Goofy 02,12 bGoofy 02,12 b Mike Hargrove
Goofy 02,12 c NomarGoofy 02,12 c Nomar 2

Assume Your Stance

Goofy 02,12 cGoofy 02,12 c Ichiro
Goofy 02,12 c YoukilisGoofy 02,12 c Buccilli
Be warned, batsman: The twirler’s objective is to keep you from the bases by all means possible. He may use the drop ball, the in shoot, the out shoot, the change piece, the dizzy doodle, the once-over-twice-back, the rise ball, the split piece, the blood sop, the noodler, the curving ball, the slide piece, the daisy cutter, the circle change, the double trunks, or any other number of pitch types.

So when preparing for the pitch, it is important for the batter to know what to expect.

Watch Out for: FASTBALLS!

Goofy 02,52Goofy 02,52 Buck

Watch Out for: BREAKING BALLS!

Goofy 03,03Goofy 03,03 Medina


Goofy 03,56Goofy 03,56 Chapman
When the player puts the ball into play, the defense must adjust. If they catch the ball before it lands, then the batsman is declared out, and the next batter begins his battle. But if the ball lands between the white lines, then the action is declared fair and the defenders must try to either tag or force the player out.

Tebow or Not Tebow, a Visualization
When it comes to the Mets' famous minor leaguer, it's not just will he get major league time, but should he.

This is usually accomplished with deft timing, swift and graceful relocations, and above all, nimble hands.

Defenders Must Keep on Their Game

Goofy 01,07Goofy 01,07 Angels defense
Goofy 01,07 Astros Defense 1Goofy 01,07 Astros Defense 2
Goofy 04,26Goofy 04,26 Buckner
Once a player reaches base safely, he must progress one base at a time until he has reached home plate, where he scores a run for his team. He may advance through the bases either from fellow teammates hitting the ball or through stealing bases when the pitcher is not looking.

This means that when a player is in between bases, he is not safe. And it is his duty to advance safely whenever possible.

Hustle on the Bases

Goofy 05,04Goofy 05,04 Rundown goes awry
This delicate balance between safe and out, stationary and stealing, leads to many dramatic confrontations between the pitcher and runner. These two players fight in a game of wits and timing and prediction.

Goofy 06,15Goofy 06,15 Kawasaki
And while the sport has only a few moments of physical contact between the teams, it is important to know your limits and remove yourself from action when injured.

And always, always wear your cup and helmet.

Don’t Be a Hero

Goofy 05,17Goofy 05,17 RutledgeGoofy 05,17 Rhymes 1Goofy 05,17 Rhymes 2
Keep these fundamentals in mind, and baseball glory is sure to follow. Find your routine, coordinate your fielding, hustle on the base paths, protect yourself from injury, and above all, have fun.

Of course, times will come when fun feels a lot like nervousness. In these times, the best players will use that energy and use it well.

When Nervous, Play Better

Goofy 06,18Goofy 06,18 UeharaGoofy 06,18 GibsonGoofy 06,18 Mo

Play ball!

References & Resources

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Bradley writes for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. Follow him on Twitter @BradleyWoodrum.
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GAWRSH! Is THT going to adopt NotGraphs?


Frank Jackson
Frank Jackson

What would be really instructive would be Donald Duck on how to argue with an umpire.


Porky Pig as a home plate ump.