Have a hard time figuring out how softball is different from baseball? You’re not the only one, though.
If you aren’t used to watching sports, it can be hard to notice the small differences between them. Because of this, it’s hard for most people who are new to these sports to tell the difference between softball and baseball.
Well, I’m going to try to help you understand the differences between baseball and softball in today’s guide.
Baseball VS Softball – Differences At A Glance
Baseball and softball are very similar, but there are a few small things that make them very different.
The most important thing is that softball moves faster than baseball. This is because the field is smaller, so it takes athletes less time to make plays on it.
Second, both baseball and softball have male and female athletes, but it looks like more men play baseball while more women play softball.
Lastly, softball isn’t as popular as baseball, which shows in the salaries of the players. More on this later. The differences are going to make a lot of people scratch their heads.
Baseball Vs. Softball – Both Sports Compared And Analyzed In Detail
Here’s a more in-depth look at how the two sports are alike. Remember that the comparison refers to baseball and softball leagues for adults unless otherwise stated. There may be other differences, too, depending on the league.
The size of the field is probably the most obvious difference between softball and baseball. Softball fields are much smaller than baseball fields, which is the main reason why the game moves so quickly.
In baseball, the baseline is 90 feet long, but in softball, it’s usually only 60 feet. Also, in baseball, the distance from home plate to the outfield fence is about 400 feet, but in softball, it’s only about 220 feet.
Differences Between Baseball And Softball
The way you pitch is the second big difference between baseball and softball.
First, in baseball, the pitching distance is 60 feet and 6 inches. When they fly, baseballs often go faster than 90 miles per hour. Fastpitch softballs, on the other hand, are thrown from 43 to 46 feet away, and the ball usually goes faster than 60 miles per hour.
There are also different places for the pitcher. In baseball, pitchers throw the ball from a raised mound with a 9-foot radius. In softball, pitchers throw the ball from a flat circle with an 8-foot radius.
Also, it’s interesting that baseball pitches are usually thrown overhand (and sometimes sidearm), while softball pitches must be thrown underhand.
Softball rules say that throws must be made with the underhanded hand, but baseball rules don’t say that. Most baseball players choose to pitch overhand or sidearm to get the most speed out of their throws.
Softball rules are also different for slow-pitch and fast-pitch games. More specifically, this is about limits on ball speed and arc.
The ball cannot usually travel more than 6 to 12 feet off the ground in slow-pitch fastball.In fastpitch softball, there are no rules like that.
Ball Size And Construction
Softballs are 11 or 12 inches around, while baseballs are only 9 inches.
Softballs weigh between 6.25 and 7 ounces, while baseballs weigh between 5 and 5.25 ounces.
Softballs, on the other hand, are softer and less dense than baseballs. The name “softball” comes from the fact that the ball is less dense than a baseball.
The colours of the balls are also different. A baseball is usually white with red stitching, while a softball is yellow.
Bat Size, Shape, And Material
In baseball, bats are a lot longer than they are in softball. The longest baseball bats are 42 inches long, while the longest softball bats are only 32 inches long.
The diameter of a baseball bat is usually around 2.5 inches, while the diameter of a softball bat is usually around 2.25 inches.
Length-to-weight ratios, which are also known as drop weights, are also very different. Most wood baseball bats have a drop weight between -2 and -3, while most softball bats have a drop weight between -3 and -5.
The materials are also different in ways that are easy to see. Professional leagues have to use bats made of wood, but softball bats can be made of aluminium, composite materials, or wood.
Bats can also look different.
Softball bats have a longer barrel that is sometimes almost half the length of the bat. The width of the handles stays the same. Softball bats have three distinct parts, too: the handle, the taper, and the barrel. So, these bats now look like bottles.
On the other hand, baseball bats have thicker handles that are often different sizes. Baseball bats also tend to have areas with less definition, which gives them a very long taper.
Baseball bats are typically heavier and have less variation in weight (due to the typical rule limiting the maximum drop weight in adult leagues to -3).Most MLB players use bats that weigh between 32 and 34 ounces, while most softball bats weigh around 28 ounces.
Normal baseball games have nine innings, but if the score is tied, there can be more innings.
Softball games, on the other hand, have seven innings. Softball games, in particular, can end early if one team is way ahead of the other.
In high school and college baseball, there are 6-7 innings, but in softball, there are only 5.
There are some differences between softball and baseball in terms of who is on the team and how substitutions work.
- Fielders. Baseball and fastpitch softball have 9 fielders. Slowpitch softball, in contrast, has 10.
- Substitution. In baseball, players who have been substituted once can’t return to the game. In high school baseball, substituted players may return once. Pitchers may return too, but only as fielders. As for softball, fastpitch softball allows free defensive substitutions as long as each player occupies the same positions in the batting order.
- Extra players. Some leagues allow one designated hitter to bat in place of a fielder. This is a common occurrence in fastpitch softball. As for slowpitch softball, some leagues don’t have limits on extra players.
Baseball players make a lot more money than softball players each year. The average salary in baseball went over $4 million for the first time in April 2015, when it reached $4.25 million.
At the time, Clayton Kershaw, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, made the most money. He made $31 million. Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, and Josh Hamilton all made $28 million.
In baseball, the average salary would stay around $4.4 million for the next five years.
As for softball, well, there don’t seem to be any more or less serious studies into its salaries.
But based on what I’ve learned online, most players make five figures, and only a few make more than six figures. This makes a huge difference between the two sports in terms of money.
So that’s the end of my guide to baseball vs. softball!
I didn’t go too in-depth; if you want more, you should dig into each sport’s rulebook. Rulebooks tell you what you need to do with your equipment, how big the field needs to be, and how you can switch players. Rulebooks are the way to go if you want to know everything.