Portal:Baseball
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Portal:Baseball

The Baseball Portal

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Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objective of the offensive team (batting team) is to hit the ball into the field of play, allowing it to run the bases--having its runners advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team (fielding team) is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate (the place where the player started as a batter). The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.

The first objective of the batting team is to have a player reach first base safely. A player on the batting team who reaches first base without being called "out" can attempt to advance to subsequent bases as a runner, either immediately or during teammates' turns batting. The fielding team tries to prevent runs by getting batters or runners "out", which forces them out of the field of play. Both the pitcher and fielders have methods of getting the batting team's players out. The opposing teams switch back and forth between batting and fielding; the batting team's turn to bat is over once the fielding team records three outs. One turn batting for each team constitutes an inning. A game is usually composed of nine innings, and the team with the greater number of runs at the end of the game wins. If scores are tied at the end of nine innings, extra innings are usually played. Baseball has no game clock, although most games end in the ninth inning.

Baseball evolved from older bat-and-ball games already being played in England by the mid-18th century. This game was brought by immigrants to North America, where the modern version developed. By the late 19th century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. Baseball is popular in North America and parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and East Asia, particularly in Japan and South Korea.

In the United States and Canada, professional Major League Baseball (MLB) teams are divided into the National League (NL) and American League (AL), each with three divisions: East, West, and Central. The MLB champion is determined by playoffs that culminate in the World Series. The top level of play is similarly split in Japan between the Central and Pacific Leagues and in Cuba between the West League and East League. The World Baseball Classic, organized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation, is the major international competition of the sport and attracts the top national teams from around the world.

Selected article

Photo credit: Kinston eagle
The Kinston Indians were a minor league baseball team in Kinston, North Carolina. The team, a Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, played in the Carolina League. Professional baseball in Kinston dates back to 1908 when they fielded a team in the Eastern Carolina League. Kinston adopted the name "Indians" at the start of their relationship with Cleveland, in 1987. They were one of the oldest and most successful franchises in their circuit before relocating to Zebulon, North Carolina, and becoming the Carolina Mudcats in 2012.

Baseball has been popular in Kinston since the late nineteenth century, and it fielded many excellent amateur clubs. Despite this, the small city was unable to sustain a viable professional team until the mid-1920s. Earlier attempts included an aborted campaign in the Class D Eastern Carolina League in 1908 and an "outlaw league" team in 1921 and 1922. The latter was notable for being managed by former major league pitcher George Suggs and College Football Hall of Fame member Ira Rodgers. Due to the efforts of the city's business leaders, former local amateur star Elisha Lewis, and George Suggs, the town secured a team in the Virginia League for the 1925 season.

This Class B team played in a newly renovated stadium designed by Suggs known as West End Park. Named the "Eagles", the squad had very little success against the rest of the league. Despite their lack of wins, the team was successful enough at the gate that they proved the town was capable of sustaining a professional team. Kinston stayed three years in the Virginia League and then moved on to a newly reformed Eastern Carolina League. This later affiliation would collapse along with the stock market in 1929. Among the members of these 1920's Eagles teams was a young catcher named Rick Ferrell who would have a long playing career and even longer front office career in the major leagues. In 1984, he became the only former Kinston player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Another player, Frank Armstrong, eventually decided that baseball was not for him. He gave up baseball for a career in the armed services and became one of the most decorated generals in the history of the Air Force.

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Selected biography

Bill Ponsford.jpg
William Harold Ponsford MBE (19 October 1900 – 6 April 1991) was an Australian cricketer, the only player to twice break the world record for the highest individual score in first-class cricket. Predominantly playing as an opening batsman, he formed a successful and long-lived partnership opening the batting for Victoria and Australia with Bill Woodfull, his friend and state and national captain. Aside from Brian Lara, he is the only man to score 400 runs in an innings on two occasions. Ponsford holds the Australian record for a partnership in Test cricket, set in 1934 in combination with Don Bradman—the man who broke many of Ponsford's other individual records. Despite being heavily built, Ponsford was quick on his feet and renowned as one of the finest ever players of spin bowling. His bat, much heavier than the norm and nicknamed "Big Bertha", allowed him to drive powerfully and he possessed a strong cut shot. However, critics questioned his ability against fast bowling, and the hostile short-pitched English bowling in the Bodyline series of 1932–33 was a contributing factor in his early retirement from cricket a year and a half later. Ponsford also represented his state and country in baseball, and credited the sport with improving his cricketing skills. Ponsford was a shy and taciturn man. After retiring from cricket, he went to some lengths to avoid interaction with the public. He spent over three decades working for the Melbourne Cricket Club, where he had some responsibility for the operations of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the scene of many of his great performances with the bat. In 1981 the Northern Stand at the MCG was renamed the WH Ponsford Stand in his honour, and in 2005 a statue of him was installed outside the pavilion gates. In recognition of his contributions as a player, Ponsford was one of the ten initial inductees into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.

Quotes

A kid copies what is good. I remember the first time I saw Lefty O'Doul, and he was as far away as those palms. And I saw the guy come to bat in batting practice. I was looking through a knothole, and I said, 'Geez, does that guy look good!' And it was Lefty O'Doul, one of the greatest hitters ever.
-- Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox left fielder, on his childhood baseball idol


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Ivan Rodriguez, a notable Puerto Rican MLB player
Puerto Rico currently has the second-most active players in Major League Baseball (MLB) among Latin-American countries, behind only the Dominican Republic. More than two-hundred players from the archipelago have played in the league since 1942. This includes players that were born in either one of the archipelago's islands and immigrants of Puerto Rican heritage that have represented Puerto Rico in international competition. Only those players that have worked in the league are listed, not those active in the minor leagues. The first player from the Puerto Rico to play in MLB was Hiram Bithorn. After the baseball color line was abandoned following Jackie Robinson's debut in the league, more players from the island signed contracts. This led to an improvement in their performance, and some of them were selected to participate in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Including their names in the Major League Baseball Draft is a requisite for first-year players born in Puerto Rico, because the league recognizes the island as a jurisdiction within the United States. Following the implementation of this measure, Puerto Rico's government requested exclusion from the draft and help to develop players, in order to reduce the impact of the change in the format of talent development.

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