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players each on a field with four white bases laid out in a diamond (i.e., a square oriented so that its diagonal line is vertical).Teams alternate positions as batters (offense) and fielders (defense), exchanging places when three members of the batting team are “put out.” As batters, players try to hit the ball out of the reach of the fielding team and make a complete circuit around the bases for a “run.” The team that scores the most runs in nine innings (times at bat) wins the game.In the winter, baseball fans participated in “hot stove leagues,” reminiscing about past games and greats and speculating about what the next season had to offer.The World Series, inaugurated in 1903 and pitting the champions of the American and National Leagues in a postseason play-off, quickly took its place alongside the Fourth of July and Christmas as one of the most popular annual rites.American colleges and universities even began to offer courses on baseball literature, and baseball films likewise proliferated.

Instead, the commission claimed that, to the best of its knowledge (a knowledge based on flimsy research and self-serving logic), baseball had been invented by In a country comprising a multiplicity of ethnic and religious groups, one without a monarchy, an aristocracy, or a long and mythic past, the experience of playing, watching, and talking about baseball games became one of the nation’s great common denominators.To counter the game’s reputation for rowdiness, baseball promoters took pains to encourage women to attend.“The presence of an assemblage of ladies purifies the moral atmosphere of a baseball gathering,” reported the , “repressing as it does, all the out-burst of intemperate language which the excitement of a contest so frequently induces.” When women played on barnstorming teams in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, the press routinely referred to them as “Amazons,” “freaks,” or “frauds.” In 1943, during World War II, when it was feared that professional baseball might be forced to close down, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League made its debut.Novelists and filmmakers frequently have turned to baseball motifs.After the mid-20th century, at the very time baseball at the grassroots level had begun a perceptible descent, baseball fiction proliferated.

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In the 1850s, young artisans and clerks, frequently displaced in the city and finding their way of life changing rapidly in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, conceived of themselves as members of what was known as the “base ball fraternity.” Like the volunteer fire departments and militia units of the day, they donned special uniforms, developed their own rituals, and, in playing baseball, shared powerful common experiences.

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