The outfield is a sporting term used in cricket and baseball to refer to the area of the field of play further from the batsman or batter than the infield. The term is also used in association football as an adjective describing any position other than that of goalkeeper.


In cricket and baseball

In both baseball and cricket, fielders in the outfield have more ground to cover, but also more time before the ball reaches them. Catches are most likely to arise from shots that have been 'skied' (in cricket) or 'popped up' (in baseball). If a catch is not possible (for example, the ball has bounced, or is rolling or skidding across the turf) the fielder will attempt to head off, pick up and throw in the ball as quickly as possible to reduce the distance the runners can run and hopefully to effect a run out (cricket) or tag out (baseball).

In cricket, where the ball is far more likely to stay low against the ground than in baseball, the condition of the turf has a major effect on the speed at which the ball travels through the outfield. On a slow outfield the ball decelerates significantly, making fielding easier and batting harder — in particular boundaries are far harder to hit. This usually occurs if the playing surface is uneven or if it is damp from rain or dew. However, on a fast outfield the ball does not decelerate significantly even when rolling along the turf, often racing past the fielders and over the boundary rope. In these circumstances, batsmen find it easier to score runs quickly. Commentators often refer to the ball accelerating to the boundary on fast outfields, but this only physically occurs on grounds with a slope and on which the ball is moving downhill.

In baseball, a slow, damp outfield is usually considered an advantage for the hitter, in as much as a batted ball will not travel as quickly to an outfielder in the traditional deep position for fly balls, and thus may permit additional advance by batters and other runners on the basepaths. In addition, a wet, slick ball can not be thrown with the accuracy of a dry one, also permitting the opportunity for additional advance on the bases. Moreover, a wet field generally slows the footspeed of the defense, so fielders will be able to reach fewer flies and line drives in the air before they go through to the fences.

Association football

The term is sometimes used in football[clarification needed] to refer to players who play in any position other than goalkeeper. For instance, player availability becomes an issue (say, due a number of players being unable to play through injury and or prior substitution) given that at a high level of football, goalkeepers lack the necessary playing skills to play in a outfield position and conversely outfield players lack the skill to play goalkeeper. Despite this however, in times of crisis, outfield players have been known to play goal, even at the professional level.

See also

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Outfield — Out field , n. 1. Arable land which has been or is being exhausted. See {Infield}, 1. [Scot.] [1913 Webster] 2. A field beyond, or separated from, the inclosed land about the homestead; an uninclosed or unexplored tract. Also used figuratively.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • outfield — (n.) 1650s, outlying land of a farm (especially in Scotland), from OUT (Cf. out) + FIELD (Cf. field); sporting sense is attested from 1851 in cricket, 1868 in baseball …   Etymology dictionary

  • outfield — [out′fēld΄] n. 1. the outlying land of a farm ☆ 2. a) the playing area of a baseball field beyond the infield b) the outfielders collectively …   English World dictionary

  • outfield — Field Field (f[=e]ld), n. [OE. feld, fild, AS. feld; akin to D. veld, G. feld, Sw. f[ a]lt, Dan. felt, Icel. fold field of grass, AS. folde earth, land, ground, OS. folda.] 1. Cleared land; land suitable for tillage or pasture; cultivated ground; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • outfield — noun a) The region of the field between the infield and the outer fence. He hit a long fly ball to the outfield in the gap to left. b) The region of the field roughly outside of the infield or the wicket keeper, slips, gully, point …   Wiktionary

  • outfield — noun Outfield is used before these nouns: ↑fence …   Collocations dictionary

  • outfield — out|field [ˈautfi:ld] n the outfield a) the part of a ↑cricket or baseball field furthest from the player who is ↑batting →↑infield b) the players in this part of the field →↑infield >outfielder n …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • outfield — [[t]a͟ʊtfiːld[/t]] N SING: the N In baseball and cricket, the outfield is the part of the field that is furthest from the batting area …   English dictionary

  • outfield — noun the outfield a) the part of a cricket or baseball field furthest from the player who is batting (bat2 (1) b) the players in this part of the field compare infield outfielder noun (C) …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • outfield — noun Date: 1868 1. the part of a baseball field beyond the infield and between the foul lines 2. the baseball defensive positions comprising right field, center field, and left field; also the players who occupy these positions • outfielder noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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