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Portal:Baseball

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Baseball (crop).jpg
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The goal is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot square, or diamond. Players on one team (the batting team) take turns hitting against the pitcher of the other team (the fielding team), which tries to stop them from scoring runs by getting hitters out in any of several ways. A player on the batting team can stop at any of the bases and later advance via a teammate's hit or other means. The teams switch between batting and fielding whenever the fielding team records three outs. One turn at bat - 3 outs - for each team constitutes an inning; nine innings make up a professional game. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.

Evolving from older bat-and-ball games, an early form of baseball was being played in England by the mid-eighteenth century. This game and the related rounders were brought by British and Irish immigrants to North America, where the modern version of baseball developed. By the late nineteenth century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. Baseball on the professional, amateur, and youth levels is now popular in North America, parts of Central and South America and the Caribbean, and parts of East Asia. The game is sometimes referred to as hardball, in contrast to the derivative game of softball.

In North America, professional Major League Baseball (MLB) teams are divided into the National League (NL) and American League (AL). Each league has three divisions: East, West, and Central. Every year, the champion of Major League Baseball is determined by playoffs that culminate in the World Series. Five teams make the playoffs from each league: the three regular season division winners, plus two wild card teams. Baseball is the leading team sport in both Japan and Cuba, and the top level of play is similarly split between two leagues: Japan's Central League and Pacific League; Cuba's West League and East League. In the National and Central leagues, the pitcher is required to bat, per the traditional rules. In the American, Pacific, and both Cuban leagues, there is a tenth player, a designated hitter, who bats for the pitcher. Each top-level team has a farm system of one or more minor league teams. These teams allow younger players to develop as they gain on-field experience against opponents with similar levels of skill. (more...)

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Ichiro Suzuki was the first high-profile NPB player (and second overall) to use the posting system.
The posting system (ポスティングシステム, posutingu shisutemu) is a baseball player transfer system which operates between Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and the United States' Major League Baseball (MLB). Despite the drafting of the United States – Japanese Player Contract Agreement in 1967 designed to regulate NPB players moving to MLB, problems arose in the late 1990s. Some NPB teams lost star players without compensation, an issue highlighted when NPB stars Hideo Nomo and Alfonso Soriano left to play in MLB after using loopholes to void their existing contracts. A further problem was that NPB players had very little negotiating power if their teams decided to deal them to MLB, as when pitcher Hideki Irabu was traded to an MLB team for which he had no desire to play. In 1998, the Agreement was rewritten to address both problems and was dubbed the "posting system". Under this system, when an NPB player is "posted", MLB holds a four-day-long silent auction during which MLB teams can submit sealed bids in an attempt to win the exclusive rights to negotiate with the player for a period of 30 days. If the MLB team with the winning bid and the NPB player agree on contract terms before the 30-day period has expired, the NPB team receives the bid amount as a transfer fee, and the player is free to play in MLB. If the MLB team cannot come to a contract agreement with the posted player, then no fee is paid, and the player's rights revert to his NPB team. Up to the end of the 2008/09 posting period, thirteen Japanese players had been posted using the system. Of these, seven signed Major League contracts immediately, three signed minor league contracts, and three were unsuccessful in attracting any MLB interest. The two highest-profile players that have been acquired by MLB teams through the posting system are Ichiro Suzuki and Daisuke Matsuzaka. They attracted high bids of $13.125 million and $51.1 million respectively, and have enjoyed successful MLB careers. However, since its implementation the posting system has been criticized by the media and baseball insiders from both countries.

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Chien-Ming Wang pitching
Credit: Keith Allison

Chien-Ming Wang (Chinese: 王建民; pinyin: Wáng Jiànmín; Wade–Giles: Wang Chien-min; born March 31, 1980) is a Taiwanese starting pitcher for the Washington Nationals in Major League Baseball. He was initially signed as an amateur free agent by the New York Yankees prior to the 2000 season. He came to be known as the Yankees ace pitcher over the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

Selected biography

Clark Griffith Baseball.jpg
Clark Calvin Griffith (November 20, 1869 - October 27, 1955), nicknamed "the Old Fox", was a Major League Baseball pitcher (1891 - 1914), manager (1901 - 1920) and team owner (1920 - 1955).

Griffith entered the American Association in 1891, pitching 226 ⅓ innings and winning 14 games for the St. Louis Browns and Boston Reds. He began the following season with the Chicago Colts, and in 1894 began a string of six consecutive seasons with 20 or more victories, compiling a 21-14 record and 4.92 ERA. Griffith lowered his ERA over the following years to a low of 1.88 in 1898, the lowest mark in the league.

Griffith won 20 games for his 7th and final time in 1901 as a member of the Chicago White Stockings in the nascent American League; it was also the first year he assumed managerial duties. His success extended beyond his own play as the White Stockings won the AL title with an 83-53 record.

Quotes

We are and have been traveling along a fictitious prosperity for the last two or three years, and the sooner we step down the better it will be for the game and everybody concerned. Next season may not be so good for the owners. Good times have affected their heads and they are unconsciously doing baseball an almost irreparable injury by inflating the price on players as they have this year. There is likely to be a slump in baseball and then some of the owners will wish they had kept the strings tied to their pocketbooks.
Ban Johnson, American League President, December 24, 1922.
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Selected list

Jason Varitek, the most recent Red Sox captain
There have been 19 different captains of the Boston Red Sox, an American professional baseball franchise also known previously as the Boston Americans. This is a comprehensive list of these captains. The Boston Red Sox are the 2007 World Series Champions. They are members and current champions of both the Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League Eastern Division and of the American League (AL). The "Red Sox" team name originates from the iconic uniform feature. They are sometimes nicknamed the "BoSox", a combination of "Boston" and "Sox" (as opposed to the "ChiSox"), the "Crimson Hose", and "the Olde Towne Team". Most fans simply refer to them as "the Sox". In Major League Baseball, a captain is an honorary title given to the member of the team primarily responsible for strategy and teamwork while the game is in progress on the field. This role has been particularly important during eras and situations in which managers and coaches have been precluded by the rules from interacting with players on the field while the game is in progress. As is the case with the National Hockey League, some MLB captains (such as the Red Sox' Jason Varitek) wear a distinctive "C" on the left side of their jersey.

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