Baseball is the passion of American sports lovers and now has fans worldwide. In the U.S. it is the oldest and most popular team sport. The hype that surrounds it covers the rules, the players, the stadiums, and the history.
Baseball is a team sport in which the ball is thrown by a defensive player, called the pitcher, to an offensive player called a batter, who stands at a place called home base and attempts to hit the ball with his bat. Scoring is attained by the batter running and touching four points (bases) on the field without being tagged by a player with a ball.
Baseball is played between teams of nine players, usually under the supervision of an umpire. With four bases, the baseball field forms a square called the Diamond. The game is played in nine innings, in which each team gets one turn to bat and to score runs while the other pitches and defends. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.
American baseball is unique because of many factors. Firstly, it does not have a fixed time interval. A team cannot win without getting the last batter out, and rallies are not constrained by time. Though a team sport, it puts individual players under great pressure. The game requires skill and athleticism, as well as strategy and planning.
Baseball is believed to have evolved from the games of cricket, rounders and town ball. The rules of baseball are said to have evolved from ‘KnickerBocker Rules’ compiled by Alexander Cartwright in 1845. Professional baseball started in the U.S. in 1865 and the National League was formed soon after, producing great players. A world series was played with an American League in 1903.
Baseball continued to grow popular and became a favorite of all races. In the late nineteenth century, players of Irish and German extraction shone, followed by Native Americans in the 1900s. Italians and Poles rose in the 1920s and 1930s. Blacks joined in from the 1940s and Hispanics surfaced in the 1990s. In the last two decades, player-management strikes caused a waning of interest in baseball, but interest was revived after individual shows of excellence on the field.
Professional baseball leagues were formed in countries other than U.S., like the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, Venezuela, Italy, Korea, Taiwan and China, and most European countries. Competition between national teams has been monitored by the International Baseball Federation, formed in 1938, which had 112 countries as members in 1994.
Professional leagues are organized at different levels and by different rules. The Youth League consists of Little League, Dizzy Dean Baseball, American Legion Baseball, and USSSA baseball has the Babe Ruth League. In the U.S., high school trophies are handled by the National Federation of State High School Associations. At the college level there are the NCCA and College World Series.
In international competition, the coveted baseball trophies are the World Baseball Classic and World Cup, coordinated by the International Baseball Federation. There is also the Olympic trophy for baseball, in some Olympic games. There is semi-professional baseball called as Independent Baseball.
Professional baseball trophies are for following leagues:
Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball Leagues, Mexican Baseball, Japanese Baseball, Taiwan professional baseball, Korean Baseball Organization and Australian Baseball.
Trophies made of metal or crystal are common, and figures of pitchers and batsmen are popular.