Differences similarities baseball softball

A bat, a ball, a glove: on the surface it seems that baseball and softball are the same game. After all, baseball and softball also share similar rules. Softball is in fact directly derived from baseball. While these two popular team sports share much in common, their status and role in the society is completely different. The origins of baseball and softball are also different. Furthermore, a more detailed examination of the two sports shows that baseball and softball use totally different equipment that impacts gameplay. In spite of their seeming similarities, baseball and softball have different origins, a subordinate status and role in the society, and use different equipment.

Softball has a much clearer origin story than baseball, which is possibly an ancient game (World Baseball Softball Confederation). Baseball actually has unknown origins, even though historians now know that the rules of the game of baseball became formalized in the 18th century in Cooperstown, New York, now the apt location for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Abner Doubleday and Al Spalding, whose name is a household word in the sporting goods industry, are the two men most often credited with inventing the game, even though baseball was played in various other forms throughout history (World Baseball Softball Confederation). For example, cricket and rounders were related games and precursors to the modern game of baseball. Softball, on the other hand, has a clear and even more unusual origin story than baseball. In 1887, a man named George Hancock invented what was originally a form of indoor baseball by using makeshift materials found in the Chicago Farragut Boat Club (World Baseball Softball Confederation). From there, the popularity of the sport grew, spreading first throughout the American Midwest and eventually, worldwide. In fact, softball has been played in the Olympics since 1996.

Although softball and baseball are both now Olympic sports, softball has subordinate status to baseball. One of the main reasons for the different statuses of the two sports in the society is gender. Softball has long been considered a female sport, whereas baseball has been a male dominated sport. Given the higher status of men in the society, baseball is considered a higher status sport overall. When the United States women’s softball team earned medals the World Series and the World Cup, “the teams’ feat was barely noticed,” (Barak 1). Interestingly, research shows women have also played baseball throughout history and that men have also played softball (Barak). The gender differences between baseball and softball have persisted, though, rendering softball a lower status versus its hardball counterpart. Now, softball is associated more with work teams and informal social gatherings than baseball, which is considered a serious professional sport. Softball is usually an amateur sport, whereas baseball earns some players tens of millions of dollars per year in both salary and in corporate sponsorship. Both baseball and softball are popular in Japan as well as the United States.

In addition to their different statuses and histories, the sports of softball and baseball actually do use different equipment. The games have a similar configuration, in which players use a bat and a ball to advance through the bases. Both games also have a pitcher. However, the pitching distance is different in baseball and softball: 60 feet for baseball versus around 40 feet for softball. The distance between the bases is also longer in baseball than in softball: 90 feet versus 60 feet, accordingly. The length of the bats used in baseball and softball is also different. Baseball bats are 42 inches long maximum, whereas softball bats have a maximum length of 34 inches. Softball bats are usually thinner than baseball bats, too, with a much smaller diameter (“What’s the Difference Between Baseball and Softball?” 1). As the names of the sports suggests, the size and weight of the ball is different. Softballs are larger and not as dense as baseballs, which are only nine inches in circumference.

In addition to differences in the actual equipment, there are also important differences in the way the game is played. For example, pitchers use an underhand throw in softball. Fast-pitch softball pitchers employ the characteristic windmill approach. There are a lot more types of pitches used in baseball than in softball. Finally, baseball games can be longer than softball games with more innings being played. Softball has seven innings, but baseball has at least nine.

Although both baseball and softball players bats, balls, and gloves, the games differ significantly in terms of their rules, their status in society, and their origin stories. Baseball has an ancient and nebulous past, but the rules of modern baseball were codified in the 18th century. From there, baseball became an American past time and a sport with international appeal. Softball was also technically born in the United States, and currently enjoys popularity on the international playing field since it was introduced in the Olympics. Both sports are popular in the United States and abroad, although baseball has a higher status because it is considered a male sport, and a professional sport. Softball is associated with female players and is generally an amateur sport. Finally, the rules of these two games are different, with baseball being longer, as well as boasting longer running distances between the bases. Baseball and softball are ultimately both fun team sports that are understandably popular around the world.




Works Cited


Mann, Avery. “Baseball vs. Softball.” American Profile. Retrieved online: http://americanprofile.com/articles/baseball-vs-softball/

“What’s the Difference Between Baseball and Softball?” CK Baseball. Retrieved online: http://www.cksbaseball4u.com/whats-the-difference-between-baseball-and-softball/

World Baseball Softball Confederation. “The Origins of Baseball.” Retrieved online: http://www.wbsc.org/baseball/history-of-baseball/

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