Because the plate forms the diamond. Theoretically you could have the four bases, go anywhere and use the home plate as the 'home' base and measure out where the other bases belong. Prior to 1900, the home base was shaped like the other 3 bases. It was imbedded in the ground and positioned with an edge pointed at the pitcher's mound. That configuration made the corners just tiny spots. For the 1900 season the owners changed the shape of the home base in an effort to give umpires a better view of the base to be able to call balls and strikes. A base, (first, second, third) is a 12x12 inch square or 144 square inches. The new home base was 216 square inches and shaped like a pentagon with straight lines replacing the edges. Not only did the new shape help the umpires but it gave pitchers a bigger target to throw at.
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