Baseball is one of the most popular kinds of sport in the USA (also soccer and basketball). So there are dozens of baseball essays that you can find on Internet. In spite of this we decided to make our essay distinguishing among the other essays on baseball by emphasizing the history of baseball and by explaining its rules in as simplified way as possible. Even I being unaware of the essence of the game now can easily understand what is going on the playground. I hope for you this essay will be useful as well.
Baseball is often considered to be originally American kind of sport. However its historical roots come from Ancient Egypt. The first written mention about baseball refers to 1846, when the first official baseball match was played in New Jersey. At that time most of the rules were taken from the English game called “Rounders”.
Professional games were started in the USA in 1869, and the National League was founded in 1876. Later the game became widespread in Europe, first of all in Italy and France, and after the Second World War in Asia. Now baseball is played in more than 120 countries of the world.
Baseball appeared at the beginning of the XIX century. For the very long period of time the invention of this game was attributed to some Abner Doubleday from the American town Cooperstown. However now it is disputed not only the fact that he had ever played baseball, but also that this man with such a surname actually lived in Cooperstown before the Civil War of 1861-1865. There is another fact that can not be doubted. In 1865 the citizen of New York Alexander Cartwright founded the baseball club “Knickerbocker” (The New York Knickerbockers) and developed a set of rules that later was accepted by other city baseball clubs. It was Cartwright who set that there should be 9 field players, 4 bases, and the distance between them should be 90 feet (or 27,3 meters). June 19, 1846 in Hoboken (New Jersey) according to these rules was held the first official game, in which “Knickerbocker” lost “New York Nine” with a score of 1:23.
In 1869 in the United States the first team that paid the players for participating in matches appeared, its name was “Red stockings” from Cincinnati. Other teams followed this example and as a result amateurs and professionals split. Since then, their paths have never crossed. Today the development of amateur baseball is controlled by the International Baseball Federation (IBF) that unites national federations of almost 70 countries, and the professional baseball is controlled by so-called commissars.
The annals of the World Baseball Championship was started in 1938, although it is hard to call championship the first baseball tournament, because only 2 teams participated in it. After winning the Americans 4 games and losing just 1, the English became winners, who oddly enough did not participate in such competitions since. In 1939 already 3 teams were fighting for the title of the strongest baseball team in the world, in 1940 there were 7 teams, and in 1941 it was 9 teams. The biggest number of teams gathered for the tournament in 1972, there were 16 teams.
For a long time members of the world championships were only teams of the Latin American countries and the United States. The Dutch and the Italians made their debut only in 1970, the representatives of Asia in 1972, Australia in 1948. The most successful on the world championships were the baseball players from Cuba: they participated 21 times and won 18 times, they got silver once and bronze twice.
The popularity of baseball in the world grows annually. It is also connected with the fact that in October 1986 at the 91st Session of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) in Lausanne it was decided to include baseball to the Summer Olympic Games program. The official Olympic baseball debut as we know was on the Games in 1992 in Barcelona. However in 1904 at the Games of the III Olympiad in St. Louis it was presented as demonstrational kind of sport for the first time. This “demonstrative” status was given to baseball 7 times, and the baseball matches gathered pretty big audience. For example on the 1st of December, 1956 in Melbourne 114 thousand spectators watched the match between the teams of Australia and the United States. Also it was sold 385 thousand tickets for the Demonstration Game of the Olympic tournament in 1984.
Baseball: main terms and basic rules
Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the USA. According to the US Census Bureau more than 11 million Americans play baseball. It is a team game played with a ball and bets (just like English cricket or Russian lapta). The goal of the game is to set as many points (or “runs”) as possible. Points are scored to the attacking team after the player returns to the “home plate”, after successively reaching all three “bases” – the corners of “playing square”. Each team consists of 9 players and in the each part of the game (inning) plays the attack and defense. The match lasts 9 innings, and if there is a draw, it continues until one of the teams wins the next inning.
The ball is on the baseball field has the defending team, “pitcher” throws the ball to “catcher”, and the player of the attacking team, the “batter”, tries to return the ball, ideally beyond the playing field (“home run”). If the batter returns the ball within the home run, he runs to the first base (“single”), if a hit was successful enough he runs to the second base (“double”) and the third (“triple”) or directly to the “home run”. Player who reaches the base is called “runner”, and other player of the attacking team goes to the place of the batter.
There are always 10 players of the defending team: except the pitcher and the catcher there are 3 players on the bases (“baseman”), 3 outfielders on the distant places of the field and a short-stop that is between the second and the third base. The defense tries to “neutralize” the attack by making “out”. It can be achieved in several ways: to catch a batted by batter ball before it touches the ground (“fly out”); throw the fallen ball to a player that defenses the first base before runner reaches it (“ground out”); pitcher gets 3 time the “strike zone”, limited on the width by the “home base”, and on the height by the distance from the batter’s knees to the middle of the chest (“strike out”) etc. If a player gets out, he leaves the field, the half of the inning finishes after 3 outs and the teams change their roles.
Of course, this is a very simplified summary of the basics of the game, and even if the rules of baseball seemed to be quite difficult, in fact it is quite easy to understand them.
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