From BR Bullpen
This article refers to a pitch; for the equipment also called the baseball, click here
A ball is a pitch that is outside the strike zone and at which the batter does not swing. If a batter receives four balls, he is credited with a base on balls and can go to first base without the defense being able to put him out. The opposite of a ball is a strike.
A ball may also be awarded by an umpire in the following cases:
- if the pitcher commits a balk with no runner on base;
- if the pitcher brings his pitching hand to his mouth while on the mound without having received prior permission from the umpire; or
- if a pitcher takes an excessive amount of time before delivering a pitch.
 Further Reading
- Christoph Kreinbucher: "Are Baseball Players Superior to Umpires in Discriminating Balls from Strikes ?", The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 41, Number 1 (Spring 2012), pp. 28-31.