18th-century England

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 its players to run the bases, having them 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.

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, South Korea and Taiwan.

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. Historically baseball was more popular in America than anywhere else in the world but the sport is now becoming increasingly popular in other countries such as Japan. Softball is the female version of the game, and it is estimated by the World Baseball Softball Confederation WBSC that 65 million people play either baseball or softball in over 140 countries.