Is baseball a contact sport? We break down the answer in detail! (2023)

When the occasional fan watches highlights of baseball games, it may be easy to assume that baseball is a contact sport.

Most late-night highlights showcase big plays at the plate or collisions in the outfield or when runners collide with first basemen when they run into each other on the first baseline.

So is baseball a contact sport?

Baseball is a contact sport in certain situations: collisions at home plate between a runner and a catcher when runners slide past 2nd base and into the shortstop, or an occasional play at the plate.

Read on below to learn more about the types of plays that make baseball a contact sport, as well as what other sports have more contact than others.

Contents

    • Here is a video of some of the best home plate collisions in MLB History:
  • Baseball Collision History
  • What is a contact sport?
  • What are the most exciting plays in baseball?
  • Do you have to be tough to play baseball?
  • Do you have to be physically fit to play baseball?
  • Are Steroids still a Part of Baseball?
  • What plays have the most contact in baseball?
  • Baseball Implements New Rules in 2014
  • Can a base runner jump over the catcher?
  • What sport has the most contact?
  • Is Baseball a Contact Sport Conclusion

Here is a video of some of the best home plate collisions in MLB History:

Baseball Collision History

Baseball is one of America’s favorite pastimes. Going out to the baseball field to catch a game whether it’s MLB, college, or even a little league game can be a great time. The noises of the game, like a ball hitting a bat or glove is something that always brings a smile to my face.

Hearing the dugout chatter, or the umpire yelling STRIKE 3, takes me back to my childhood where I really appreciated the opportunity to play youth sports. I played many sports growing up, and one question that always had some debate was, is baseball a contact sport?

However contact between players is very limited in baseball, there are times where players will come into contact with each other. Most common time is during a tag play. When a runner is running from base to base, there may be an occasion where a player must be tagged to be out.

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Often a player may slide to avoid contact and be safe on a base, especially if the throw is coming in and it may be a ‘bang, bang’ play. Some of these plays may be the most exciting plays to see on the baseball field.

What is a contact sport?

The definition of a contact sport is when a sport requires the athletes playing to engage in contact with one another.

Two sports with the most contact would probably be football or rugby since players will engage in contact with one another for most of the game whether they have the ball or not. Football and rugby requires players to block each other to make room for the ball carrier, and are considered full contact. Football even requires athletes to wear pads to protect them from getting hurt.

Baseball is considered a contact sport because there is some contact required between players on the field, however, it is very limited.

What are the most exciting plays in baseball?

Some of the most exciting plays in baseball can be when there is contact. A play at the plate when a runner is trying to avoid a tag is very exciting. Not only is there a lot of action, there is also a lot on the line in that particular play.

If the runner beats the throw at home and is safe, then his team will get a run, however if he is thrown out, the defense will prevent a run from being scored!

Some of you may remember the time when Derek Jeter made an incredible play in a playoff game against the Oakland A’s. The crowd went nuts, and this play is always shown in the highlights of a playoffs series.

Other great plays to watch are defensive highlights. A slow roller down the third base line where the third baseman has to bare hand the ball and fire to first on the run is one of the best plays to watch live.

Double plays are also fun to watch. Some of those middle infielders make some acrobatic plays, and they will get rewarded with 2 outs!

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Home runs, diving plays, and defensive players robbing home runs are also edge of your seat style plays. Here is a great clip of some of the best plays in baseball!

Do you have to be tough to play baseball?

Yes 100%. You have to be both physically and mentally tough to play baseball.

If you have ever played baseball competitively you know how tough you have to be both physically and mentally. Sliding hard into second, wearing a fastball in the back, diving for a ball, blocking a ball in the infield are all examples of times when a baseball player needs to be tough physically.

Most of the time, the players on the field make these things look easy, but if you take the average person and hit 100 MPH line drives at them in the infield, I guarantee they will shy away from the ball, and chicken out.

Aside from being physically tough, baseball is probably one of the hardest games to play mentally. As a batter you fail 7 out of 10 times and you are considered great. Most people can’t cope with the failure that comes with the sport. They quit or give up because they aren’t mentally tough enough to play such a hard sport.

The normal person watching baseball just sees where the ball goes. They may notice the battle between the pitcher and hitter, but don’t notice the players in the field focused on every pitch. Some infielders may only get the ball 3-4 times a game, and when that ball is hit their way they have to know exactly what they are doing within a split second.

Do you have to be physically fit to play baseball?

YES! Now some people may argue this point. There are some players (cough cough Bartolo Colon) who may not look physically fit and play baseball. HOWEVER most players who play the game are in great shape.

Some players like Colon, who pitched 21 seasons in the MLB, have had a special gift to throw the ball very very hard and were able to be a professional athlete, but did not look like one. However this is not the case for most players.

The professional athletes that are playing in the MLB are in great physical shape. Being in shape definitely helps young athletes be better than their competition. Some of the best high school and college programs have great physical training programs to give their athletes an edge of the field.

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Are Steroids still a Part of Baseball?

Baseball has done a great job testing athletes to make sure they are not using performance enhancing drugs. They also have very strict consequences if an athlete gets caught using them. However, some athletes are still trying to beat the system and each year 2-3 guys will get caught every season and have to sit out.

The first offense a player must sit down 80 games! With the MLB season being 162 games that is half the season! If the player is caught a second time they are suspended for a full 162 games! If a player is caught a third time, they will be suspended from MLB for life!

What plays have the most contact in baseball?

Plays at the plate typically have the highest risk of physical contact in baseball.

Running over the catcher was a part of the game for a long time and here is a highlight clip of some of the most famous collisions at home plate in baseball history.

In 2011, Buster Posey suffered a gruesome ankle injury that caused Major League Baseball to take a look at the rules they had in place for home plate collisions.

Baseball Implements New Rules in 2014

In 2014, baseball incorporated new rules designed to help prevent hard collisions at home plate.

Here is a breakdown of the main changes to the rules:

  • A catcher may no longer block the pathway of the runner attempting to score unless he has the ball.
  • Runners who slide and catchers who provide a lane for the runner will never be in violation of the rule.
  • All Calls will be based on the umpire’s judgment
  • Flagrant acts of aggression at home plate will be subject to review by the league office.

The intent of the rule change was to give players some accountability to look out for the other side as players don’t want to ruin another person’s career through a big collision at home.

Can a base runner jump over the catcher?

Yes, you can jump over the catcher as long as you stay in the baseline. These plays rarely happen in baseball as it requires the perfect scenario of the low throw toward the catcher and a super athletic runner that has the ability to clear the catcher.

What sport has the most contact?

Boxing or MMA has the most physical contact sport in today’s sports environment, while Hockey and Football are the next most physical mainstream sports.

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Here is a list of the most physical sports in order:

Most Physical Sport

Boxing

Hockey

Football

Basketball

Wrestling

Gymnastics

Baseball/Softball

There has been a big movement in youth sports to limit the amount of contact in recent years due to all of the data that has come out on CTE and the damage of head-to-head contact.

Peyton and Eli Manning did not play tackle football until high school and played flag football growing up in an effort to avoid head-to-head contact at an early age.

Drew Brees is one of the founders of Play FNA which is a national flag football league for kids around the country.

Is Baseball a Contact Sport Conclusion

Many people who don’t really understand the game of baseball may argue that it’s only played by fat unathletic men who can’t do anything else would be absolutely wrong. I’d like to see these guys step in the box and try to get a 90 MPH fastball, and see them jump out of the way of a 85 MPH slider that starts at their knees and breaks to the outside of the strike zone!

Baseball IS a contact sport. You have to be physically and mentally tough to play the game, and if you know what you’re looking for, baseball is one of the most exciting games to watch. People who say different things just don’t understand the game, and are probably mentally weak!

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FAQs

Is baseball a contact sport? ›

The term contact sport is used to refer to sports such as basketball and handball, and the term limited-contact sport to sports like baseball, volleyball and squash.

What is an example of contact sport? ›

Contact/Collision Sports and Activities

Examples: boxing, ice hockey, football, lacrosse. In contact sports, the person is constantly making contact with other people or objects, but with less force than in collision sports.

What does contact sports mean? ›

/ˈkɑːn.tækt ˌspɔːrt/ a sport such as rugby or American football in which players are allowed to touch each other when, for example, they are trying to get the ball. Sports & games generally. battleship. board sport.

What are 5 examples of contact sports? ›

The following are examples of contact sports:
  • Wrestling.
  • Judo.
  • Karate.
  • Boxing.
  • Football.
  • Rugby.

What does contact mean in baseball? ›

In baseball, a contact hitter is a hitter who does not strike out often. Thus, they are usually able to use their bats to make contact with the ball (hence the name contact hitter) to put it in play, and then run fast to reach base.

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