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How baseball started
Many theories have surfaced to trace the beginning of this sport but until now, its exact origin remains unclear. Most historians believe baseball was developed from Britain’s game of rounders where two teams play on offence and defence. The players take turns in throwing a ball while another player from the other end of the field bats it away before running to a base.
Historians believe there have been baseball matches since the 1700s but the first official documented game was in 1838. Seven years later, in 1845, the Knickerbocker Rules were created by a team founded by Alexander Joy Cartwright, as the father of baseball. The rules included the mechanics of the game and the organisation of teams.
On June 14, 1846, the Knickerbocker Rules were first used in a match between the New York Nine and Knickerbockers that was held at Elysian Fields in New Jersey.
How baseball is played
Baseball is played with the main goal of scoring more runs than your opponent. One team has to defend the pitch while the offensive team has to bat the ball. Upon the completion of the inning, the roles of the teams are switched.
An inning refers to a fixed period where one batter from the batting team tries to score a goal while the opposing team spreads out on the field to prevent them from gaining points. A professional baseball game consists of nine innings after which, the fielding team takes their turn in batting and vice versa.
To score in each inning, the batter must hit the ball thrown by the pitcher from the opposing team and then run around to the four bases. The run must be completed before the opposing fielding team collects the ball and throws it to the base that the batter is running towards.
If the batter can throw the ball in a way that allows him to make a complete circuit of all four bases, the team scores a home run.
Field of play
Most commonly referred to as the diamond, the infield is the area where most of the activities in the game occur. Most baseball stadiums have the same dimensions as a 90-ft infield and a base at each corner.
Baseball fields have four bases which form a diamond: first base, second base, third base and home base. These bases are 90 feet apart for Major League baseball and 60 feet apart for little leagues.
The home base is made of a square white rubber with 17 inches on each corner while the rest of the bases are all 15 inches square.
The pitcher’s mound is found in the middle of the infield that has a rubber or plate where pitchers are positioned when throwing a pitch.
This refers to the two rectangles on each side of the home-plate where batters must stay whenever they have to hit the ball. The rules require that they stay inside the box at all times. A batter can be called out if he steps out of the box without calling a timeout or getting permission from the umpire.
Located behind the home plate, this is where the catcher stands and waits for the pitcher’s throw. This serves as the catcher’s station where he must stand within the lines until the pitch is released. When making a play or catching the ball, the catcher is allowed to leave his initial position and extend beyond the lines.
This refers to the large area between the home run fence and grass line. Players called outfielders cover this area by catching the ball thrown in the outfield and return it to a base or another infielder. The outfield is divided into three regions: the centre, left, and right field.
Baseball has nine defensive positions. Only two of these positions have a specific location while the rest of the players can stay anywhere on the field.
The positions can be categorised into three, according to function:
The pitcher is responsible for throwing or pitching the ball near or over the home plate to the catcher.
Pitchers are considered to be the most important players since the flow of the game depends on how well they throw the baseball. Players in this position try various styles and techniques so the batter cannot hit the baseball such as throwing it at fast speeds or incorporating drops in their movements.
Acting as a defence around the mound, catchers are the ones who catch the ball when the batter does not swing or misses. They coordinate with the pitcher by giving them a signal on what type of pitch to make or where to pitch the ball. You will often see a catcher crouch down or place their gloved hands in a specific area to prepare for the pitcher’s throw.
The baseball infield has four players that can shift positions depending on the flow of the game. These are the first baseman, second baseman, shortstop and baseman.
Players in this position are the ones who catch throws from other infielders so that a runner gets a putout at first base. Characteristics of players that are important in this position are height, strength and the ability to concentrate.
Contrary to the first baseman, this position requires speed and good fielding ability. The second baseman is located between the first and second bases.
The shortstop must be agile and fast since they have to cover more ground than other players do. Positioned between the second and third basemen, they serve as the captain of the infield who secures communication among infielders.
Players in the position must give a strong throw since the ball has to travel across the diamond field to the first base. They cover the areas that are not within the range of the shortstop.
Outfielder positions consist of the right, centre and the left fielder that require speed because the players have more area to cover. They are responsible for catching batted and field balls.
Among the outfielders, centre field players catch the most number of fly balls and have the widest range in the field. Leftfield players do not necessarily need to have a strong arm since they rarely throw but they must have good catching and fielding skills.
The baseball industry consists of numerous professional leagues from countries around the world. These leagues handle diverse national teams with the top players of the country. Find out more about them to know which leagues and teams to look out for when sports betting!
Major League Baseball
Established in North America in 1903, Major League Baseball is the most reputable and historic league in the sport. It comprises 30 teams, with 15 teams in the American League and another 15 in the National League.
The teams included in the MLB are:
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Atlanta Braves
- Baltimore Orioles
- Boston Red Sox
- Chicago Cubs
- Cincinnati Reds
- Chicago White Sox
- Cleveland Indians
- Colorado Rockies
- Detroit Tigers
- Houston Astros
- Kansas City Royals
- Los Angeles Angels
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Miami Marlins
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Minnesota Twins
- New York Mets
- New York Yankees
- Oakland Athletics
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- San Diego Padres
- San Francisco Giants
- Seattle Marines
- St. Louis Cardinals
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Texas Rangers
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Washington Nationals.
Korea Baseball Organisation
Established in 1982, the Korean Baseball Organization is the highest baseball league in South Korea. The league started with 6 teams from different cities in the country and has added 4 teams since then:
- MBC Chungyong
- Lotte Giants
- OB Bears
- Samsung Lions
- Sammi Superstars
- Haitai Tigers
- Hanwha Eagles
- Sangbangwool Raiders
- NC Dinos
- KT Wiz.
Nippon Professional Baseball Organisation
The Nippon Professional Baseball Organisation was formally established in 1950 when the original Japanese Baseball League was reorganised. It has two major leagues, the Pacific League and Central League, and two secondary-level professional minor leagues, the Eastern League and Western League.
The teams under the Central League are the following:
- Yomiuri Giants
- Yokohama DeNA Baystars
- Hanshin Tigers
- Hiroshima Toyo Carp
- Chunichi Dragons
- Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
The Pacific League has the following teams:
- Saitama Seibu Lions
- Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
- Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
- Chiba Lotte Marines
- Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
- Orix Buffaloes.
Mexican League, also called the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol, started with only 5 teams when it was established in 1925. It is the highest professional baseball league in Mexico and has 16 teams as of today:
- Acereros de Monclova
- Algodoneros de Unión Laguna
- Bravos de León
- Diablos Rojos del México
- Generales de Durango
- Guerreros de Oaxaca
- Leones de Yucatán
- Olmecas de Tabasco
- Pericos de Puebla
- Piratas de Campeche
- Rieleros de Aguascalientes
- Saraperos de Saltillo
- Sultanes de Monterrey
- Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos
- Tigres de Quintana Roo
- Toros de Tijuana.
Australian Baseball League
Australian Baseball League started as a joint organisation of the Major League Baseball and the Australian Baseball federation
with the following teams for the Australian Baseball League South-West:
- Adelaide Giants
- Melbourne Aces
- Perth Heat.
The teams under the Australian Baseball League North-East are:
- Auckland Tuatara
- Brisbane Bandits
- Canberra Cavalry
- Sydney Blue Sox.
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