Baseball: Its History, Uniqueness and Impact
Baseball, as we all know, is a recognized national sport in the United States. Did you know that it originated from England? It evolved from an old bat game brought by immigrants to North America where the modern version was designed and widely played.
Though baseball was regarded as America’s past time during the 1800s, it was also played in other countries. Canada joined the National League in 1969 and even won championships early in the 1990s. In Mexico, American soldiers brought the game in the mid 1800s. Cuba, with its rich baseball history, became the center of the formal league outside the United States. This paved the way to make baseball a craze in Central America. The Dominican Republic formed its own tournament in 1912. During the time of World War I and II, other countries also began forming their own tournaments. Among these countries are Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.
After World War II, baseball spread like wild fire across Latin America and in Asia as well. Venezuela, the Caribbean island countries, South Korea, Taiwan and China also formed their own professional leagues. The European nations also established their professional leagues as well. Women’s baseball also was played in various countries; however, it was played only on amateur setting. In 1992, baseball was allowed to be included as an Olympic game. In 2008, baseball remained part of the Olympics but was dropped from the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Unlike any other team sports, baseball is unique in many ways. Firstly, in baseball, there is no clock to kill. In sports limited by clock, the leading team kills the clock in order to win. In baseball, the team has to compete aggressively against the opposing team. This means that we can expect surprising turnarounds even till the last part of the game. Secondly, the game involves an individual contest between the pitcher and the batter. Coaching staffs can signal new and fresh tactics anytime to both pitcher and batter. This adds further excitement and unexpected turn of events for every inning. Thirdly, baseball playing fields are unique from each other in many ways. Though the measurement of the infield should be accurate and official, there are no rules to the height of fences and other structures beyond the outfield. Since baseball is played in an open field, other factors such as climate, wind and altitude can affect each play.
Baseball’s impact on culture is very evident in America. It was regarded as America’s religion! Its popularity in the 1900s and 2000s contributed to a revenue record of six billion dollars. American sports fans regarded baseball as their favorite sport. Little League Baseball where about two million American children participated will concretely show its popularity among young American boys and girls as well. In Japan, baseball remained the leading spectator sports. In 2007, the attendance recorded in Nippon Professional Baseball was approximately twenty million.
Baseball, being an international sport loved by almost all countries, will always occupy a greater part the world of sports. Baseball will always be a classic and at the same time a modern game definitely enjoyed by everybody!