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Baseball is a popular bat-and-ball field sport that is played among two teams each consisting of 9 players. The main goal of the players is to collect runs by striking a ball by a bat and then touching the four bases around the four corners of a huge 90-foot wide diamond. Each of the batters from the batting team takes turns to strike the ball thrown by the pitchers on the fielding squad. The defensive or the fielding team tries to stop the batting team from scoring the runs by getting the hitters out in numerous ways. A player of the batting or offense team can halt at any 1 of the 4 bases and then later proceed through a teammate's strike or by other ways. The teams alter between batting and defending anytime the fielding team can get three batters out. A single term at batting for each team make up a single innings and nine such innings collectively make up a single professional game of baseball. The team who can score the maximum number of runs at the completion of all the nine innings is declared the winner.
Baseball evolved from bat-and-ball sports that were much older. A very early baseball prototype was known to be played during the mid-18th century in England. Baseball was introduced in North America by immigrants, where a modern version of baseball was developed. By around late 19th century, the game of baseball was widely regarded as United States' national sport. Currently baseball enjoys a high level of popularity in North America, several areas of South and Central America, the Caribbean Islands and some parts of Eastern Asia.
In the North American continent, the professional MLB or Major League Baseball squads are further divided into two leagues; the NL or the National League and the AL or the American League. Each of these two leagues are again divided into three regional divisions; East, Central and West. The champion of the Major League is determined by the playoffs that finally end with the World Series. A total of 5 teams from each league participate in the playoffs; these five teams include three teams who are winners of the regular season division as well as 2 wild card teams.
In Cuba as well as in Japan, baseball is considered to be the most important team sport. In these countries, the topmost game level is divided between two leagues: Cuba's East League and West League and then Japan's Pacific League and Central League. In the Central and National Leagues, a pitcher is needed to bat as per the conventions of baseball. In American, Cuban and Pacific Leagues, there is also a 10th player in the team who is a designated hitter. The hitter in this case replaces the pitcher and bats for him. Each of the high-level teams has a system consisting of one or several minor league squads.