Karl's Mailbag 1

Q: What is your favorite baseball team and why? Gail from Tennessee
A: As a huge baseball fan, I like them all. I just love watching teams come together and the players trying their best. But, if I had to answer, since I grew up in Boston I have a soft spot for the Red Sox.

Q: How many gloves do Major Leaguers typically use during a season? Mark from New York
A: Mark, great question. I know I only had one glove growing up - and I was very attached to it. Pro ballplayers typically use four throughout the season. Some use the same glove all season long while others get a new one during the all star break. It really depends on the player.

Q: How do they put the lines in the grass on baseball fields? John from Maryland
A: Dedication and focus by the groundskeepers. They have traditionally created checkerboard, diamond and argyle patterns in the field. These designs are created through a process called lawn striping. Many professional groundskeepers use old-fashioned reel mowers to cut a stadium's grass. Attached just behind the blades of the mower is a lawn roller that bends the grass down. Whatever pattern you make is revealed by the light shining off of the bent grass. Watering the grass after mowing can make your pattern stand out even more. All the information you ever wanted to know!

Q: If Michael Jordan was in his prime around (age of 23), who do you think would win in a one-on-one basketball game, Michael Jordan or LeBron James? Mark from Georgia
A: I would want front row seats to that, right Mark? LeBron is much bigger than Michael was in his prime, but Michael would make it really hard. He is a ferocious competitor. They both have the will and dedication to be the best, so the game may last a looooooong time.

Q: Who is the best player in the NBA and why? Marcus from Tennessee
A: Marcus, I try not to think about who is the best individual performer, but more who is the best teammate and makes those around him better. I think Kobe Bryant hits that mark right now, with LeBron James nipping at his heels. Kobe just has more experience right now, but give LeBron time and he will become an all-time great through all of his hard work.

Q: Who do you think the top 3 players will be to have the most homeruns this season? John from Illinois
A: John, nothing like a dinger to brighten a baseball game. At the end of the year, the top three will be: Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun and Adam Jones of Baltimore.

Q: Do you think that all the new baseball stadiums being built will help the teams play better? Taylor from New Jersey
A: A new baseball stadium usually means more fans will visit the park and the team will have more money to spend on free agents and keep their best players. This will help the teams play better in the long run. Some parks are also made to help teams. Some people believe the new Citi Field of the Mets is a better pitcher's park than old Shea Stadium, and will help them since they spent money on pitchers this past off-season. It's a great question - time will tell!

Q: How many hours a day do professional soccer players train? Edgar from Massachusetts
A: Edgar, that's an easy one: As long as it takes them to stay in top shape to perform as well as they can. They keep a great diet, work out every day and play as much soccer as they can.

Q: Did you play any sports while growing up? Eitan from Michigan
A: Definitely! I took advantage of any chance to get outside and be active. And learning to be a good teammate was especially important for me. I played soccer, baseball, basketball and tennis while growing up. Baseball was my favorite.

Q: What can I do to improve my golf game? Alex from Florida
A: Like every other sport; practice, practice, practice. Also keep your head up when things are hard, because golf is a very difficult sport to be good at& just ask Tiger Woods. But, keep your head down when you are swinging.

Q: When was baseball invented? Was the game the same today? Patrick from Alabama
A: I had to do a bit of research on this one. The earliest mention of baseball in the United States was in 1792, but it was mentioned in England as early as 1755. The first team to play baseball under modern rules were the New York Knickerbockers in 1845. Before 1845, some of the differences were that there were 5 bases instead of 4 and runners can be putout by hitting a runner with a thrown ball like dodge ball. Ouch!

Q: Do players get to pick where they are drafted? Matt from Texas
A: A player has limited control over where they get drafted. They can tell what teams they would like to play for, but the teams make the final decisions. Everyone hopes it works out for the best.

Q: How many players in the Baseball Draft start when they are rookies? George from California
A: Very few. They usually go to the minor leagues first, but there are exceptions. Dave Winfield, who works on Baseball Tonight, is a player that never played in the minor leagues. Most often, rookies need some time in the minors to get used to the speed of the game.

Q: Why do they throw out the ball when it hits the dirt or is fouled? Rusty from Illinois
A: When a ball gets dirt on it, nobody knows how it will affect the flight of the ball and pitchers want as much control as they can get. So, they get a new, clean ball.

Q: I've never played baseball before. I just watch it on TV once in a while. What do baseball announcers mean when they say, "it's a 6-4-3 double play"? Keith from Illinois
A: It can be quite tricky, Keith. In baseball, every position is assigned a number. Pitcher-1, Catcher-2, First base-3, Second base-4, Third base-5, Shortstop-6, Left field-7, Center field-8, right field-9. If a ground ball is hit to the shortstop (6)he throws to the second baseman (4) who throws to the first basemen (3). A 6-4-3 double play.

Q: Who has had more Hall of Fame players, Yankees or Red Sox? Jack from Ohio
A: Those are two storied franchises with great players. They had a dedication and determination to play great baseball. The Yankees have the most with 36 players including Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. The Red Sox have 9, including Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.

Q: Who is considered the inventor of the game of baseball? Jeff from Connecticut
A: The inventor of baseball is a very tricky question. Until recently the widely accepted story is that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown, New York in 1839. That has recently been proved to be untrue. Many people say that a man named Alexander Cartwright, a member of the New York Knickerbockers, created the modern rules of baseball in 1845.

See you all next month when I get to answer more of your awesome questions!!

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