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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 take turns hitting against the pitcher of the opposing team, which attempts to stop the hitting team from scoring runs by getting the hitting players out in various ways. Players on the hitting 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 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 played in England in the mid-18th 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 19th century, baseball was recognized as the national sport of the United States. As of Doomsday, baseball on the professional, amateur, and youth levels was popular throughout North America, parts of Central and South America and the Caribbean, and parts of East Asia.
Today, baseball is played primarily in North and Central America, the Caribbean and Japan. It is played, at a lesser level, in the ANZC and its associated states, particularly Alaska, Hawaii and Samoa. It remains the national sport of Taiwan, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Mexico is where professional baseball continues on. The Beisbol Major Liga, started in 1994, is considered the successor to the U.S.'s Major League Baseball, with Nacional and Mexican Ligas of eight teams each. The winners of each league play one another in a best-of-seven World Series for the Mexican championship. Most players come from the Dominican Republic, with the remainder coming from Venezuela, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
Cuba's domestic league, which is government sponsored and features exclusively Cuban players, is considered the near-equal to the Mexican league in terms of talent and competition. A similar, government-sponsored league exists in Nicaragua (which does allow selected players to play in Mexico). Minor leagues exist in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and portions of the East Caribbean Federation.
In North America, several professional leagues exist. The oldest is in Superior, the level of play being comparable to the Caribbean minor leagues. The Municipal States league was originally intended to be amateur, but as the players are paid stipends, technically qualifies as a professional league.
The leagues break down as thus:
Lexington Piedmont Asheville Rome Tennessee Spartanburg
Coos Bay Port Orford Grants Pass Gold Beach Medford Yreka Redding Crescent City
North American LeagueTorrington Coeur d'Alene Billings Butte Red Deer Lethbridge Medicine Hat Fort Collins
Superior LeagueMadison Thunder Bay Marquette Stowe Sault Ste. Marie Iron Mountain Mackinaw Green Bay Houghton Sudbury Traverse City Boyne City
Texas LeagueOdessa Monahans Nacodgoches Big Spring Edinburg Midland Tyler Fort Stockton
Virginian LeagueWoodstock Fairmont Charleston Lynchburg Roanoke Danville Beckley Lexington
Amateur leagues in Vermont, West Texas and Victoria.
The sport is played in Japan with the same rules as in the rest of the world, albeit with changes in terminology to reflect Japanese culture (and detract from some of the perceived American influence over the sport).