Baseball, commonly referred to as 'America's Pastime', is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams composed of nine players each. The game of baseball evolved from a popular English bat-and-ball game called Rounders. The first reference of a game called 'base-ball' comes from a 1744 English children's book called A Little Pretty Pocket-Book. Baseball is believed to have been a variant of Rounders that made its way to North America via English immigrants.
In the 1830s, baseball was a popular game but remained officially uncodified. Alexander Cartwright led the codification of the game of baseball, creating 'The Knickerbocker Rules'. The first officially recorded game of baseball occurred in 1846 between the New York Nine and the Knickerbockers, the former winning by a score of 23-1 in four innings.
As time went on, the 'Knickerbocker Rules' evolved into what is now modern baseball. The popularity of baseball in North America grew rapidly with leagues being formed in both the United States and Canada. The most popular baseball league in North America is the MLB (Major League Baseball), which consists of teams from the United States and Canada. There are also amateur baseball leagues, including college baseball and youth-league baseball. Baseball is also very popular in foreign countries, especially Cuba, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, and Japan.
The game of baseball is played between two teams of nine players each. Both teams rotate between offense, in which players attempt to hit the ball with a wooden or metal bat and advance around the four bases, and defense, in which players attempt to field the ball to prevent opposing players from rounding the bases. The four bases, first base, second base, third base, and home base (or home plate as it is most commonly referred to), are rounded by players on offense after hitting the ball from home plate in a clockwise fashion. The objective of the game is to score more points, or runs, than the opposing team by rounding the bases and touching home plate. There are nine innings in a baseball game, each inning consisting of a half-inning in which one of the teams plays offense while the other team plays defense. The teams switch sides each half-inning, and after two half-innings, the next inning begins. If the score of the game is tied at the end of the ninth inning, extra-innings are played until a victor is determined.
Baseball is ever expanding with new rules often being implemented, especially rules involving player safety. The game of baseball is rather simple. The objectives of the game are to score runs, which can only happen while a team is on offense. A team scores a run when a batter completes the cycle of running the bases as a base runner. What makes the game complicated is the amount of rules that are defined and how umpires interpret them. The game is often under the eye of scrutiny due to the 'human factor' of the umpire referees. Most major sports involving human referees are subject to human error, but the debate for an all-electronic officiated sport is still ongoing.