A strike is called when a batsman swings at a pitch but does not hit it with his bat. Of course, when a live ball strikes the hitter, it is dead. So, on a 2-strike count, he swings and misses with the bat. He's gone. On a 3-strike count, he doesn't swing at the next pitch.
The batter can then take his time and think about what kind of shot to play next. The most common shots are: foul (when the ball goes over the fence for an out), fair (when the ball goes between the fences for a base hit) and home run (when the ball goes over the fence for a triple).
However, there are times when a player wants the pitcher to throw something else than balls so that he can hit behind them. When this happens, the umpire will call "ball four" or "5-4-3-2-1". At this point, the player has two choices: he can either walk or stay in the game. If he stays in, then the pitcher will usually try to get him to do something else with a ball - perhaps pull it off the plate or throw it outside the park. If the player pulls it, the umpire calls him out; if he doesn't, then he can keep batting.
This happens quite often in baseball.
With two strikes, if the hitter swings and the ball strikes him, it's a strikeout. A strike is called when a batsman swings at a pitch but does not hit it with his bat. Of course, when a live ball strikes the hitter, it is dead.
The Major League Baseball rule book covers a wide range of circumstances involving the pitcher, hitter, and catcher. Pitchers will intentionally or inadvertently hit batters with pitches. There are repercussions when batters are struck. When a batter is hit by a pitch that is outside the strike zone, they are given first base.
The hitter smashes a pitch off his body, causing the ball to jump into the air and be retrieved by the defensive player. If a pitched ball strikes a batter, he dies instantly. If the hitter swings at a pitch that strikes him, the hit is ignored and a strike is called, but the ball remains dead. If the hitter does not swing at the pitch that strikes him, it is called a walk.
In any case, the ball is in play and the batter is entitled to take another plate appearance. If he does, the action starts over again from the beginning of his time on base this time allowing him to reach base safely or be put out trying again. If he does not, the batter is out.
This rule was designed to protect batters from taking bad pitches to heart. In its early days, if a batter saw a pitcher about to throw a wild pitch or a balk, he would wait until the ball was in the air before starting down the line. This gave him time to decide whether or not to walk. The need for this rule disappeared when baseball adopted the three-base path for runners advancing one base at a time. Now, if a batter sees a pitch outside the zone he can ignore it without fear of being charged with an error.
However, there is still some risk involved for batters.
When a hitter swings and the pitch still strikes him, the ball is dead and a strike is called. If the hitter does not try to evade the pitch, he is not given first base, and the pitch is called a strike if it is in the strike zone or a ball if it is outside the strike zone. If the hitter evades the pitch, he is given first base and the umpire has no choice but to call it a strike.
Yes, if you do not take any further action after hitting into a double play, the batter-runner can be credited with an automatic out. This means that he cannot be awarded with a base on balls nor can he be allowed to reach first base through an error. He has been put out by your team's actions and you should notify the umpire as soon as possible. You can say something like "Strike three! He's out!" Or "Out at the plate!"
The rule is that when a runner starts to run he goes all the way to the tag, even if this takes him beyond where the previous runner stopped going. So if the runner who is currently at third was at second earlier in the play, then he has violated this rule and should be called for obstruction.
A "dead ball" occurs when a pitched ball strikes any portion of the batter's body. It is a dead ball and a strike if the hitter swings at the pitch. The game is still going on. It's a dead ball if he doesn't swing. First base is taken by the hitter. Second base is safe if the batter does not advance them. Third base is safe if the batter does not attempt to advance them.
If the batter hits with the ball in play, then it is called a "hit". If the ball bounces away from any of the players who were not involved in the hit, then it is an automatic double. Otherwise, the player at first base has the right to tag out the baserunner attempting to score if he judges that it is safe.
The umpire can also call "time", which means that no more batters can come up for the team batting last. This allows the manager time to replace any injured or tired players as well as get someone else into the game.
Finally, the umpire can make any judgment call while the ball is in play. For example, he can call a foul if there is doubt about whether or not the ball was hit hard enough to be considered a home run. Or he can call a timeout if he believes that his team needs some time to set up its defense between pitches.
These are just some examples.