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Word Count: 2,318
Baseball is an immensely popular American gameknown as the national pastime played between twoteams of nine players each The basic implements used inthe game are a leather-covered ball wooden bats forhitting the ball and gloves for catching it Baseball is playedon a large scale in Latin America Japan and other placesbesides the United States but it is in the United States thatit thrives most both as a participants and spectators sportIt is played at its highest level in the United States and twoCanadian cities where 26 teams make up the Americanand National Leagues each with two divisions East andWest Combined these leagues are called major-leagueprofessional baseball Most players who reach the majorleagues have worked their way up through Little Leaguescholastic college and minor-league professional ballThe vast majority of major-league players areAmerican-reared although since the 1960s the sport hasseen an influx of Latin American players Following aregular season of 162 games the division winners vie foreach leagues pennant the American and National Leaguechampions then compete in the World Series Both roundsof competition employ best-of-seven series of gamesBaseballs popularity is in part a result of the fact thatalmost every American boy plays the game at one time oranother and the lore of the game is intertwined withAmerican life Baseball has supplied the American culturewith a wide range of legendary heroes as well as booksmagazines movies and songs The game has contributedhundreds of words and phrases to the American languageThe History of Baseball The popular myth that AbnerDOUBLEDAY invented baseball in Cooperstown NYin 1839 is without foundation Actually baseball evolvedfrom cricket and rounders with town ball and the NewYork game popular in the eastern United States by the1820s as intermediaries On June 19 1846 a New Yorkteam defeated the Knickerbocker Baseball Club of NewYork which had drafted 1845 rules establishing thenine-player team and the four-base diamond The score atElysian Fields in Hoboken NJ that day was 23-1 in fourinnings In 1857 a convention of baseball clubs establishedthe length
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