Hey Jeremy, can you please explain what a walk off in baseball is?
Well sure, I would be happy to!
Howdy baseball fans and welcome back to another edition of baseball 101.
In today’s post, we are going to explore what I consider to be the most exciting play in the world of sports…The walk off!
Yeah, buzzer beaters and last second touchdowns are cool, but nothing compares to hitting a walk off in the greatest game on Earth…Baseball.
Sit back and relax as we explain what a walk off in baseball is and run through some scenarios of a walk off happening during a game.
A walk off in softball is explained the same as in baseball.
So without further ado, let’s see what a walk off in baseball really is.
What is a walk off in baseball?
A walk off in baseball occurs when the home team scores the winning run in the bottom half of the final inning of the game.
If you’re not familiar with innings, here’s a quick explanation:
An inning is the time during a game where each team has the opportunity to score as many runs as possible before the defense can record 3 outs.
Each inning is divided in half. So each inning has a top half and a bottom half. Each team has to play one half inning of offense, and one half inning of defense.
A regulation game of baseball consists of 9 innings.
The home team always bats (plays offense) in the bottom (2nd) half of the inning.
So…Only the home team can win in a walk off.
A walk off in baseball basically means this:
The home team scored the winning run in the bottom half of the last inning of the game. This means the game is over and the home team can “walk off” the field!
Making sense yet? If not, stick with me!
Next up, we will run through some scenarios of a walk off to help explain a walk off a little better.
A walk off in baseball explained – Scenarios
Walk Off Single
Here’s the set up:
Our 2 teams have played a full regulation game of 9 innings.
Both teams have managed to score 3 runs each.
We have entered into extra innings!
The visiting team bats first, but fails to score any runs in the top half of the 10th inning.
The score remains deadlocked at 3 – 3.
The 1st batter for the home team in the bottom half of the 10th inning hits a line drive through the gap between the center and left fielder and cruises into 2nd base for a double.
Our next batter comes to the plate with a chance to end the game.
The batter hits a ground ball that makes it through the infield and rolls toward the right fielder. Our runner on 2nd base takes off at the crack of the bat.
The batter makes it safely to 1st base and the runner from 2nd base is able to beat the throw from the right fielder and slides safely into home, just ahead of the throw.
The batter has hit a walk off single!
Since it was the bottom half of the last inning of the game, the home team can “walk off” the field and put a check in the win column.
Walk Off Home Run!
Since we’re talking walk off home runs, let’s go ahead and do the grand daddy of them all…The Grand Slam!
Here’s the set up:
It’s the bottom of the 9th inning and the home team is down 3 – 0.
The first 2 batters of the inning reach base safely with back to back singles.
The next batter reaches 1st base with a walk. Each base is now occupied with runners (bases loaded).
The pitcher recovers his composure and strikes out the next 2 batters.
It is now the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs, bases are loaded and the home team is down by 3 runs.
Our batter steps to the plate and the pitcher delivers a fastball right down the middle of the plate.
The batter’s eyes light up…The baseball suddenly looks like a beach ball coming toward home…The batter swings with everything he has.
The ball launches off the bat and soars over the center field fence.
The batter has hit a walk off home run!
The batter collects his 4 RBI’s (Runs Batted In) and the home team walks off with a dramatic victory. 🙂
What is a walk off in baseball? – Close it out!
A walk off in baseball can come in many different forms.
In this post we discussed the walk off single and the walk off grand slam home run, but it can happen many other ways. We will discuss other ways a walk off can happen in some future posts.
In order for a walk off to occur, the home team needs to score the winning run, in the bottom half of the LAST inning of the game.
I hope you enjoyed this article and we helped you understand what a walk off in baseball means. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will get back with you a.s.a.p.
Thanks for stopping by ~Jeremy