Baseball is a batting and ball sport played between two teams of nine players each, who take turns batting and playing. The game is live when the referee sends a signal to the thrower, either verbally or signaling, indicating that the ball is in play. A player on the field team, called the pitcher, throws a ball that a player from the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The goal of the offensive team (batting team) is to throw the ball onto the field of play, away from the other team's players, allowing their players to run the bases and make them advance counterclockwise around four bases to score what is called runs.
The goal of the defensive team (called a field team) is to prevent batters from becoming runners and to prevent runners from moving up the bases. A race is scored when a runner legally moves through the bases in order and touches home plate (the place where the player started as a hitter). Baseball is a game of strategy and skill that requires players to use their physical abilities as well as their mental acuity. It is a game of strategy and skill that requires players to use their physical abilities as well as their mental acuity.
Players must be able to think quickly and make decisions on the fly in order to be successful. In baseball, teams alternate positions as batters (attack) and field players (defense) and swap places when three members of the batting team are “eliminated”. As batters, players try to hit the ball out of reach of the field team and make a complete circuit around the bases to “run”. The team that scores the most runs in nine innings (times at bat) wins the game.
Baseball also reshaped the nation's calendar. With the rise of industrialization, the standardized clock in the office or factory deprived people of the previous experience of time, in its rich association with the hours of the day, the natural rhythms of the seasons and the traditional church calendar. However, for Americans, baseball was more than just a game; it was an integral part of their culture. The opening of baseball training season marked the arrival of spring, playing in the regular season meant summer, and the World Series marked the arrival of fall.
In winter, baseball fans would participate in “popular leagues”, recalling games and big games from the past and speculating on what the next season would hold for them. Baseball possessed enormous integrative powers, but it also reflected important social and cultural divisions. Until early 20th century, middle-class evangelical Protestants viewed sports with deep suspicion due to its association with those who never do well, immigrants, working class, drinking, gambling and general uproar. On contrary, these same qualities served as basis for rise of ethnic groups in country's ghettos.
In 19th century, Irish and German Americans excelled both in baseball (as well as other commercial entertainment venues) and more “respectable” occupations. Young artisans and employees conceived themselves as members of “baseball fraternity” with special uniforms, rituals and shared powerful common experiences while playing or watching baseball contests. Baseball parks became important local civic monuments and repositories of collective memories with names such as Ebbets Field, Sportsman's Park and Polo Grounds. In new era of park construction in 1990s, designers tried to recover atmosphere of previous times by designing “retro parks” with modern amenities such as escalators, air-conditioned living rooms, high-tech audiovisual systems etc., while names such as Network Associates Stadium and Bank One Ballpark reflected increasing corporate influence in game.
Around middle of 20th century, baseball's claim to be sport of nation was challenged by football but it still remains one of most popular sports in US.
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