baseball as a sport

Most popular Sports in United States


Baseball is undoubtedly America's favorite pastime. Aside from sheer love of the game, other things associated with it have been dominating American popular culture, including food, clothes and even everyday language. Even if you do not like the game, there is still a very good chance that you like something related to it.

The origins of Baseball are quite cloudy as several different versions and theories exist. Some have connected it to a similar game played in England all the way to the 1300's. Myths have also been debunked, such as the formerly widely-held belief that Abner Doubleday invented it. In a way, all these stories (never mind being farfetched) simply serve to underscore the cult-like status of baseball.

To anyone who loves baseball for how it is played though, all that matters is the present.

Currently, the number of baseball tournaments and sanctioning bodies is eye-popping. There are developmental leagues, tee ball leagues, youth leagues, little leagues, high school leagues, college leagues, amateur adult leagues and professional leagues. You name them, we have them. Discussing them would need a different discussion, but suffice to say, baseball in America is well-funded, -supported, -organized and -played.

Baseball is very much alive in other parts of the world too. Many MLB players come from Latin America and East Asia, where the game has very large followings. At the Olympics, it is Cuba that is the most dominating nation, having never left the medal podium with three gold medals and two silvers. The United States and South Korea each has one gold and one bronze, while the rest of the medals are split by Japan, Australia and Chinese Taipei. Unfortunately for fans, baseball, will not be played at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, just like in London in 2012. Whether it will return at the 2020 Games will be determined in September 2013 when the International Olympic Committee will convene to announce the next host city and which new sports will be included.

If you are itching for international action, however, fret not for foreign talents will continue to have a major presence in MLB. The 2012 season had 243 players from outside the US, representing 28.4% of the total number of MLB players. Names such as Ichiro Suzuki, David Ortiz, Justin Morneau and Ivan Rodriguez should be able to satisfy your, as well as other fans', thirst.

Important Equipment Rules.

Because baseball is a highly equipment-oriented game, rules have had to be set in place to make sure that these pieces of equipment are not used by any player or team to gain an unfair advantage over their opponents. The bat has the most stringent rules, and rightly so since numerous cases of cheating regarding its use have been exposed. Most of these cases involved the use of non-wood bats. It is rather unfortunate that there are still some individuals who seem undeterred as they try to device new ways to make bats hotter. Sanctioning organizations such as the USSSA, ASA and NSA, however, remain vigilant and dedicated to cracking down on cheating by strictly implementing tournament rules, instituting and updating material and performance standards, and coordinating with manufacturers regarding development of bats. (If you are using a non-wood bat, and it does not have your league's latest stamp, you may need it to have inspected by tournament officials.)

baseball gloves are not strictly governed by many rules as bats are except for size and color. There is very little concern about materials used, and most players simply focus on how their gloves are going to perform and feel. For beginners they have the added task of determining the position/s suitable for them. Leather, such as steer hide, cow hide and buffalo, remains the top choice, although synthetic materials such as mesh can be seen even among some MLB players.

Most sanctioning organizations are very clear about baseball cleats in youth tournaments: molded only. They also insist that batters need to have their helmet on when they are at bat, waiting to bat or running the bases. Helmets should be worn correctly and secured in place. Likewise, catchers need to be in their full protective gear (helmet, face mask, throat guard, chest protector, athletic supporter with a cup, shin guards and a catcher's mitt) whether in the game, in the bullpen or during warm-ups.