Baseball is a competitive sport where two opposing teams take turns batting and fielding a ball with the goal to score the most runs by the end of the game. The game is played when the pitcher from the fielding (defensive) team throws the baseball to a player on the batting (offensive) team who attempts to hit it with a bat. Runs (points) are scored when players on the batting team successfully hit the baseball into play and run counter-clockwise around the bases until they score by reaching home plate.
It is the goal of the defensive team to keep the offensive team from running the bases by striking them out at bat, by catching the ball when it is hit into play, or by fielding and tagging a base with the ball before the runner arrives. Each team takes turns batting and fielding every three outs. The game ends after each team has played the decided amount of innings (usually nine). In North America, professional baseball is organized by Major League Baseball (MLB).
Baseball, often called America's pastime, began in the mid-19th century, evolving from older bat-and-ball games. It quickly became popular in the United States, with the National League forming in 1876, followed by the American League in 1901. The World Series, starting in 1903, pitted the champions of these leagues against each other. Over time, baseball spread globally, gaining fans in countries like Japan, Cuba, and South Korea. Key changes included the integration of African American players in the mid-20th century, revolutionizing the sport. The game's rules and equipment have evolved, but its essence as a skillful, strategic sport remains unchanged.
Baseball is expanding globally, with increasing popularity in regions like Asia and Latin America. This growth is seen through international tournaments like the World Baseball Classic. Technological advancements are shaping the way players train and games are analyzed, enhancing both performance and fan engagement.
Efforts to speed up the game aim to attract a younger audience, adapting to modern entertainment preferences. The rise of women's baseball and youth initiatives are making the sport more inclusive. New formats, like shorter games, are being experimented with to keep it fresh and exciting. These trends indicate baseball's adaptation and growth, maintaining its relevance in a changing world.
The modern game of baseball was established by the Knickerbocker Baseball Club in New York City in 1845 though variants of similar games have existed since the 18th century in the form of cricket and rounders.
Often called America’s pastime, baseball is also well established in Canada, Latin America, the Netherlands, Australia, and Japan.
The longest home run ever is estimated to be 643’ | 196 m and was hit by Mickey Mantle in 1960.