Baseball is a sport where two teams, visitors and home, play a ball and bat game, usually on an outdoor surface. Nine players defend the field while one opposing player attempts to strike the ball after it is thrown to him. The playing surface is arranged in the shape of a diamond, ninety feet on each side. At the base of the diamond, the batter stands next to "home plate" in an area called the batter's box. The Pitcher is a field player who stands sixty feet, six inches away on the Pitcher's Mound. This is a small elevated mound of material. There is a Pitcher's rubber on the top which is the required distance away from home plate. The pitcher must be in contact with it as he delivers the ball. The pitcher pitches the ball towards the home plate where the batter awaits. If the batter is able to connect with the ball and drive it into the field, ahead of home plate, he may attempt to run to the "First Base". This is the corner of the baseball diamond ninety feet away on the right of the home plate. The batter, now called the runner since he put the ball in play, reaches first base before the fielding players are able to get the ball to the base, he is deemed "safe" by an umpire. If he is unable to get to the base first, he is out. The game continues with more batters until the visiting team has had 27 players put out and the home team has had up to 27 out as well. This is for the standard game of nine innings.

Baseball is divided into nine innings. Each is measured by the number of players put out on the field of play. The visiting team sends three batters to the plate to try to hit the ball into play, one at a time, in what is called the top half of the inning. The home team attempts to put the batters out. When they do, the game advances to the bottom half of the inning where the home team sends its own three batters to the plate, again one at a time. Each batter attempts to strike the ball and reach each of the bases in sequence without being put out in the process. When a runner reaches first base and is safe, he remains there while the next batter on his team attempts to successfully put the ball into play. If three outs are recorded before he can advance to all of the bases, he is deemed to have been left on base at the end of the inning. The runner does not start the next inning on the base. Each inning starts with no runners on bases.

The pitcher throws the ball, a pitch, towards each batter. The pitch is aimed to the catcher, his teammate, who is positioned behind home plate. The batter can hit the ball or pass. If he hits the ball into the field, the nine players on the field, (the pitcher and eight others), can catch or retrieve the ball and throw it to first base before the runner gets there. This would be an out. If a fielder catches the ball without it having first contacted the ground, the batter is out. If the player passes on the pitch, the umpire determines if the ball was thrown well or now. If it was, then a strike is called against the batter, despite him passing on the pitch. If the batter receives three strikes, he is declared out by the umpire. If the pitch is deemed poor by the umpire, a "ball" is called. Should four balls be thrown, the umpire will award the first base to the batter. There are many other subtle results of each pitch. If the pitch strikes the batter before striking anything else, the batter is awarded first base by the umpire. If the catcher interferes with the batter, the umpire awards first base.

Baseball relies on umpires, the officials who uphold the rules of the game. While some games use a single umpire who stands behind the catcher at home plate, professional baseball games may use as many as six on the field. Regardless of the number of umpires, they must stay out of the play as much as possible and rule in a fair, impartial manner. An umpire is a person so there are occassionally bad or missed calls. These will upset one of the teams and their fans which may lead to heated arguments. The umpire must remain as calm as possible. To restore order, the umpire has the power to eject any person from the baseball game that he feels is overly insulting or disruptive.

Field Positions
In addition to the pitcher and the catcher, the fielding team has players at each of the bases, three in the field behind the bases and an extra infield player. The players at the bases are called by the number of the base. Thus there are the First, Second and Third basemen. The extra infielder is called the Short Stop. This position usually plays between second and third base but he may roam about. Each of the basemen is not restricted to their base but they usually play fairly near it. The outfielders are named for the area of the field that they normally patrol. They are called Center, Left and Right Fielders. These positions are named in relation to the home plate. During play, the fielders will head toward the ball in an attempt to catch it in mid-air for an out, or off the ground. They they through the ball to an infielder who would attempt to record an out of an opposing team's runner.

Base Runners
When a batter successfully reaches a base, he is deemed to be a runner. He must safely touch each base in sequence and finish at home plate in order to score a run. He may only advance to another base when the ball is in play, that is, it has been thrown by the pitcher. If a runner is on first base and the batter hits the ball into play, the runner must advance to second base or be put out in the process. The rules do not allow for two runners to be at a single base. If a runner advances past one of his team's runners, then that runner is called out.

Base Hits
Batters may put the ball in play when they contact the ball and if they reach a base safely, they have scored a base hit. This is a statistical recording only and does not affect the game score. A player reaching first base with a hit is awarded a Single. If they batter should reach second base safely, he is awarded a double. Third base awards the batter a triple. If the batter is able to reach all bases safely and arrives back at home plate, he is awarded a home run. This counts as a run scored since the player has reached home plate. Normally the batter will strike the ball and it travels out of the field of play, between first and third base, for a home run. If the ball does not exit the playing field and the batter is able to round all of the bases safely, he is awarded an inside the park home run. Each type of home run scores one run for the batter's team.

When a batter reaches first, then second, then third, then the home plate, he scores a run for his team. He may reach each base in one play, as with a home run, or he may stop at any of them. Once stopped, he becomes a runner and must wait for the next batter to put the ball into play before he can advance to the next base. He must advance to all bases before the fielding team is able to record three outs or the run cannot be scored.

Professional Baseball
There have been professional baseball teams in American for over 100 years. Skilled players are paid a salary to play baseball in large stadiums in front of a paying audience. Often there are tens of thousands of paying spectators. Many baseball games are broadcast on television to an audience numbering in the millions at times. There are hundreds of professional baseball teams in the world. The Major League is made up of thirty teams, 29 in the United States and 1 in Canada. The teams are divided into the American and National Leagues. Each team plays 162 games in the regular season and then competes to be the champion of their league. The champions from each league play off in the World Series to establish the overall Major League Champion each year. While professional baseball is played in other countries such as Japan and Cuba, only the Major League teams may vie in the World Series. Many of the professional leagues play championship events to establish the top team in their league.

Amateur Baseball
There are various junior baseball leagues around the world. Many thousands of players, of all ages, play baseball for these teams. Some of the junior leagues are essentially teaching facilities for young players. As they advance in skill and ability, they may be promoted to more advanced leagues when they meet age and skill requirements. Many of these teams are said to be farm teams for Major League teams. Many of the amateur leagues have their own championships, similar to the World Series.

Future of Baseball
Baseball was first played in 1846 with a set of established rules. Many rules have evolved since that time and will do so into the future. Rules are changed to adjust the playing conditions when necessary. Each of the baseball leagues has a governing body that regularly reviews rules. Baseball is very popular in North and South America and Japan. Countries where baseball is not commonly played tend to prefer soccer, (football), cricket or other sports. With the spectators willing to financially support the teams by paying for attendance, the teams are able to make a monetary profit. Teams seldom lose money but if they do, they will often move to another city to increase their revenues. There are a lot of people who are very interested in amateur and minor league baseball. With this base of support, baseball is sure to played for the foreseeable future.