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The GFORCE Guide to...Baseball

Added 17 Apr 2019 by GFORCE

It’s Baseball season! America's game is back to the world stage, so in this niche sport guide we introduce you to baseball!

Baseball was an Olympic sport from 1992 to 2008, but was dropped from the programme after Beijing. Given its status as the number one sport in Japan though, it is making a comeback for the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Softball will also be played, which is the name for the women's version although the rules are virtually identical.

While baseball and softball are heavily associated with the USA, they is actually thought to have begun in the United Kingdom as a development of the game rounders. The first recorded game took place in 1749 in Surrey and the Prince of Wales was one of those playing in the inaugural match.

What developed from there is a game which involves a pitcher throwing a ball, sometimes as fast as 100mph, towards a batter who attempts to hit it into the field. The batter then tries to run past a series of three bases to score a run, although they can stop at each base and wait until the next batter in line hits a ball and gives them time to carry on. This is because there is an opposing team of fielders trying to get the ball back to the bases to get the person running out.
When three outs are recorded, the batting and fielding teams switch roles. A team having a turn at both batting and fielding makes up one inning. There are nine innings in total in a game of baseball or seven in a game of softball, after which the team with the most runs is declared the winner.

Despite its popularity in America, the country has only won one of the five baseball gold medals ever competed at the Olympics. South Korea has won one of the others and Cuba has taken home three. The USA did win three of the four softball gold medals fought for though, with Japan claiming the other.

Will America rule at their game in 2020 or can Japan reign supreme in front of a home crowd?

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