American-originated sport in which teams compete to score runs by hitting a thrown ball and advancing around bases

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams, of nine players each, that take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objective of the offensive team (batting team) is to hit the ball into the field of play, allowing its players to run the bases, having them advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team (fielding team) is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate (the place where the player started as a batter). The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.

Baseball is not life itself, although the resemblance keeps coming up.

Baseball evolved from older bat-and-ball games already being played in England by the mid-18th century. This game was brought by immigrants to North America, where the modern version developed. By the late 19th century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. Baseball is popular in North America and parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and East Asia, particularly in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

I love baseball. You know, it doesn't have to mean anything. It's just very beautiful to watch.
This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.
See also:
Baseball (TV series)

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  • I once loved this game, but after being traded four times, I realize that it's nothing but a business. I treat my horses better than the owners treat us. Its a shame they've destroyed my love for the game.
  • I love baseball. You know, it doesn't have to mean anything. It's just very beautiful to watch.
  • Baseball is a simple game. If you have good players and if you keep them in the right frame of mind, then the manager is a success. The players make the manager. It's never the other way.
    • Sparky Anderson, as quoted in "Confident Sparky Isn't Worrrying About Pitching; Confident Sparky" by Ross Newhan, in The Los Angeles Times (March 11, 1971), p. D1
  • The game of baseball is like wrestling with your dad in that, at any given point, your dad will make you feel, "I got him." But as soon as you do a cheap elbow and have the idea, "I'm going to take advantage of this situation," before you know it, you are on your back and feeling his entire weight and he's staring right in your eyes going, "Always remember that at any given time I can do this."
  • Baseball can be summed up in one word — youneverknow.
    • Joaquin Andujar, as quoted in "Trujillo throws himself into starters' race" by Peter Gammons, in The Boston Globe (March 28, 1985), p. 51
  • Isn't this a silly game? People throw balls and people swing bats.
    • Johnny Antonelli, as quoted in "Antonelli Projects Image That Isn't Really New?" by Jack Mann, Newsday (January 12, 1961), p. 54
  • Baseball is not life itself, although the resemblance keeps coming up. It's probably a good idea to keep the two sorted out, but old fans, if they're anything like me, can't help noticing how cunningly our game replicates the larger schedule, with its beguiling April optimism; the cheerful roughhouse of June; the grinding, serious, unending (surely) business of midsummer; the September settling of accounts, when hopes must be traded in for philosophies or brave smiles; and then the abrupt running-down of autumn, when we wish for - almost demand - a prolonged and glittering final adventure just before the curtain.
    • Roger Angell, The Summer Game (1972); as quoted in The New York Times (March 27, 1988), p. 51; and in Remember Roberto (1994) by Jim O'Brien, p. 233
  • Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.
    • Jacques Barzun, God's Country and Mine: A Declaration of Love Spiced with a Few Harsh Words (1954), p. 159
  • I've gotten so disgusted with baseball, I don't follow it anymore. I just see the headlines and turn my head away in shame from what we have done with our most interesting game and best, healthiest pastime. [...] It's a matter of contention perpetually, bad behavior by all sorts of people in authority in the game. And, of course, the commercialization is beyond anything that was ever thought of, the overvaluing, really, of the game itself. It's out of proportion to the place an entertainment ought to have. Other things are similarly commercialized and out of proportion. But for baseball, which is so intimately connected with the nation's spirit and tradition, it's a disaster.
    • Jacques Barzun, as quoted in "As Timeless as Tomorrow" by Steve Wilstein, in The Toronto Globe & Mail (March 26, 1993)
  • Baseball leads its fans through various aspects of mental skill development—pattern recognition, numerical calculation, correlation, inferencing, understanding of uncertainty, probability, risk and reward. It also teaches that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. In baseball as in other fields, as soon as we master received wisdom, we tend to assume we know more than we do. It’s one thing to be conversant in a field, but it’s entirely another to grasp the limits of one’s own understanding. Baseball has taught me many times that I’ve been quite wrong about something, after I had been utterly convinced by my detailed knowledge that I must be right. Expertise does not automatically confer wisdom, or even correctness.
  • Nearly everyone's son wants to be a baseball player. Why not? What other profession could he choose where he can slide around in the dirt, never work when it rains and spit whenever he wants?
    • Erma Bombeck, "A Mouthful on Baseball's Spitting Image," The Baltimore Sun (July 15, 1993)
  • You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping as baseball and in the end, it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.
  • Baseball is just the great American pastime. I try to figure out what it is. I think it's the joy of feeling a part of, more than other sports -- wondering whether the guy's going to walk the hitter on purpose, wondering if the steal sign is on, wondering if he's going to bring in a relief pitcher ... The fan somehow feels more a part of the game sitting in the stands ... A lot of them are faster moving, but, in baseball, I get caught up in what I'd do if I were managing. The game seems to move along pretty good ... but I don't even mind when it drags.
  • The baseball mania has run its course. It has no future as a professional endeavor.
    • Cincinnati Gazette, published in 1879; as quoted in Cooperstown Corner: Columns from the Sporting News, 1962-1969 (1969)
  • I carried this rubber ball with me all the time. I squeezed it to strengthen my fingers and wrists and my friend and I would walk to and from school throwing the rubber ball back and forth. Many times at night, I laid in the bed and threw the ball against the ceiling and caught it. Baseball was my whole life. I would forget to eat because of baseball and one time my mother wanted to punish me. She started to burn my bat, but I got it out of the fire and saved it. Many times today she tells me how wrong she was and how right I was to want to play baseball. I bought my parents their home in Puerto Rico and gave them possessions they never thought they’d ever see. All from baseball.
    • Roberto Clemente, as quoted in “Clouter Clemente: Popular Buc; Rifle-Armed Flyhawk Aims At Second Bat Crown” by Les Biederman, in The Sporting News (September 5, 1964)
  • Baseball is a human enterprise. Therefore, by definition, it’s imperfect, it’s flawed, it doesn’t embody perfectly everything that’s worthwhile about our country or about our culture. But it comes closer than most things in American life. And maybe this story, which is probably apocryphal, gets to the heart of it: An Englishman and an American having an argument about something that has nothing to do with baseball. It gets to the point where it’s irreconcilable, to the point of exasperation, and the American says to the Englishman, "Ah, screw the king!" And the Englishman is taken aback, thinks for a minute and says, "Well, screw Babe Ruth!" Now think about that. The American thinks he can insult the Englishman by casting aspersions upon a person who has his position by virtue of nothing except for birth; nothing to do with personal qualities, good, bad or otherwise. But who does the Englishman think embodies America? Some scruffy kid who came from the humblest of beginnings, hung out as a six-year-old behind his father’s bar; a big, badly flawed, swashbuckling palooka, who strides with great spirit — not just talent, but with a spirit of possibility and enjoyment of life across the American stage. That’s an American to the Englishman. You give me Babe Ruth over any king who’s ever sat on the throne and I’ll be happy with that trade.
  • It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.
    • A. Bartlett Giamatti, "Green Fields of the Mind," Yale Alumni Magazine and Journal (Fall 1977); reprinted as "That Game" in The Hartford Courant (December 24, 1977)
  • The only form in which baseball is truly interesting is the typographical form. Rice, Lardner, Hanna, Fullerton and the other arch-deceivers seem to be in a gigantic conspiracy to keep the public well fooled. It is a successful conspiracy, too. They write such entertaining yarns about baseball that it makes you want to see a game; then, when you do see it, you are so anxious to read what they are going to say about it that you forget you've been bored. Thus you are caught in a vicious circle. To put it briefly, baseball is the dullest of all sports. I have never been able to understand why the clergymen want to prevent its being played on Sunday; there is so little about the game to distract one's attention that the grandstand is the ideal place for meditation and prayer.
  • Baseball is very big with my people. It figures. It's the only time we can get to shake a bat at a white man without starting a riot.
  • I listened to the Axis radio. Tokyo Rose said, and she quoted American sources, that Negroes were good enough to serve in the American Army, but they weren't good enough to pitch in the American Big League baseball. And they broadcast this not only to our own troops but also to the billion and a half colored peoples of the earth.
  • “In baseball, democracy shines its clearest,” he later wrote. “The only race that matters is the race to the bat. The creed is the rulebook; color merely something to distinguish one team’s uniform from another.”
  • You know what baseball is? It's playing cards, sleeping, watching TV. Dress. Batting practice. Fool around with the fans. Joke with teammates. Football is a little different. Before the game, everybody sits on the floor, quietly, thinking whose head they're going to take off.
  • Speed alone doesn't count, while strength alone isn't of much value. You've got to use your head. The team with the noodle is the one that invariably wins in the long run. The theme of baseball is much like that of prize fighting. Speed and strength must be mixed thoroughly with brains.
    • Fielder Jones, as quoted in "Why Chicago Wins Games; Fielder Jones Divulges His Secret of Winning Ball Games," Detroit Free Press (April 28, 1907), p.&n bsp;20
  • Baseball is But a Game of Life
    First base of Egotism, Second base of overconfidence,
    Third base of indifference, Home Plate of honest achievement.
    A good many men lose by reason of pop-flies;
    the short-stop of public opinion frequently nips short the
    career of a man who fails to connect with the ball of life
    with a good sound wallop.
    The winner is the man who knocks the horse-hide of opportunity
    loose with the bat of honest effort.
    When you have batted for the last, made the rounds of the bases
    and successfully negotiated home-plate,
    may we hope to hear the Umpire of LIFE, which after all
    is the esteem of friends and acquaintances,
    call to you that you’re safe.
    • Sad Sam Jones, as quoted in "Sad Sam Jones" by Alexander Edelman, in When Boston still had the Babe: the 1918 world champion Red Sox (2008), ed. Bill Nowlin, p. 69
  • Given good eyes and average physical strength, any boy can learn to bat.
  • Harold Keith, Sports and Games (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1941), p. 17
  • Baseball is older than the American nation itself. There are tales about Abner Doubleday's "devising" the game at Coopertown, New York, in 1839. But long before General George Washington struck out Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, sports-hungry American colonists living along the eastern seaboard were playing it. Robert W. Henderson, a sportsman who is also an executive officer of the New York Public Library, has produced inimpeachable evidence to show that the game is closely related to the old West England sport of rounders, and that there was a baseball game in England as early as 1744.
    • Harold Keith, Sports and Games (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1941), p. 22
  • The game quickly worked its way over the Allegheny mountains and across the western prairies until soon it obtained a permanent footing in every town and village in the land. It achieved its most lasting popularity before radio and paved roads destroyed the isolation of the American small town. In those days baseball was the most popular game at recess at the little frame country school and also the two-story brick town school. It also furnished a clean and exciting Sunday afternoon recreation for hundreds of active young men who had no other outlet for muscular energy, and also for thousands of spectators who proudly followed their nines to the small plank grandstands at the edge of the village or in the vacant lots of the cities, and, while supporting them zealously and vociferously, acquired for themselves health and pleasure and an escape from the routine boredom of their own lives that was an invaluable tonic as they faced their jobs the following Monday morning.
    • Harold Keith, Sports and Games (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1941), p. 23
  • Now its rootage and growth are even more vast. Not only do the major and minor leagues play to larger crowds than ever before, but baseball has spawned a lusty manchild- softball- that leads the nation in outdoor sports attendance.
    Other nations have adopted baseball. The Japanese player is learning fast. Already he is a skillful fielder and an alert base-runner. American teams touring Japan report that nearly everybody there is playing baseball. Japanese youngsters are on their way to the baseball grounds early in the morning and play all day. A game was played in the rain at Kokura in 1934 at which eleven thousand spectators knelt in the outfield in water up to their hips. Twenty thousand saw this game and some were at the gates as early as five o'clock in the morning.
    • Harold Keith, Sports and Games (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1941), p. 23
  • Baseball has an inner beauty. It is not governed by time. [...] Baseball, in crucial moments, is often a contact sport, with men on the bases. But if you sit back and just look, you're seeing the most orderly and the most classic game, I believe, in the world. This is why you cannot photograph it. You cannot put it on television and make it as exciting as the other sports. It's too big a range and you have the flattening out on the screen. You lose all the kinetic energy.
    • Gene Kelly, as quoted in "Dancing in the Ballpark"
  • Baseball is a slow, boring, complex, cerebral game that doesn't lend itself to histrionics. You "take in" a baseball game, something odd to say about a football or basketball game, with the clock running and the bodies flying.
  • I have never known a day when I didn't learn something new about this game.
  • Baseball is still a sport. Professional football is a cult. A whole way of life and values has grown up around it and its demands are heavy. To forego the exhibition games is to fail a loyalty test. Not to possess Redskins season tickets spells a fatal absence of status, only slightly less damaging than never being seen in the owner's box. Nobody keeps score on you at a baseball game. Come or don't come, it's up to you. You don't have to go to clinic or brunch or post-game celebration or wake. You can be a Red Sox fan and still be a free American. Baseball is what we used to be. Football is what we have become.
  • Why, certainly I'd like to have a fellow who hits a home run every time at bat, who strikes out every opposing batter when he's pitching and who is always thinking about two innings ahead. The only trouble is to get him to put down his cup of beer, come down out of the stands, and do those things.
  • [B]aseball has to accept that it is now more like classical music than popular music, with football and basketball — and soccer? — being the Justin Biebers and Lady Gagas of sports. Baseball need not hang its head in shame. A lot of things that are good and worthy are not popular. And baseball is plenty popular, for heaven's sake.
  • The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.
  • It was as a sociologist, not as a sportsman—I cannot endure the boredom of sport—that I seized the opportunity to witness for the first time a game of baseball. I found that it has the great advantage over cricket of being over sooner.
    • George Bernard Shaw, "An American Baseball Game," in A Freshman Miscellany (1930) by Karl J. Holzknecht, pp. 249
  • There are a lot of people coming into this country playing ball now who I think don't know how lucky they are to be able to play in a country like this, in the Major Leagues. We were in San Francisco once, and Willie Mays was getting ready to hit. And I said to him, "Willie, this is some game, isn't it? And Willie said to me, in this real high-pitched voice of his, "Smitty, if it wasn't for baseball, I would be picking cotton." And me, I grew up on a farm. And I knew I didn't want to be a farmer if I could be a ballplayer. I worked. I don't think some of these guys want to work very hard. If they're home run hitters, that's all they want to concentrate on.
    • Hal Smith, as quoted in Kiss It Goodbye: The Mystery, the Mormon, and the Moral of the 1960 Pirates (2010) by John Moody, p. 353
  • Baseball is the American success story. It is the only avenue of escape for thousands of boys born into a dreary environment of poverty. It is, moreover, a great common ground on which bartenders and bishops, clergymen and bosses, bankers and laborers meet with true equality and understanding. The game has proved in everyday language that democracy works.
  • The game of baseball is like the game of life. You're up one day, down the next. You have a bad day, so what? It's the same as being married and having a family. You expect your family to stay healthy, but if a child comes down with the measles, you're not through with children. We're down right now, but we'll be back.
    • Eddie Stanky, manager of the then cellar-dwelling Chicago White Sox, speaking on April 24, 1968; as quoted in "Master of the Put-On" by John Hall, in The Los Angeles Times (May 8, 1968), p. E3
  • I would say I wouldn't know, but I would say the reason why they'd want it passed is to keep baseball going as the highest baseball sport that has gone into baseball, and from the baseball angle. I'm not going to speak of any other sport. I'm not in here to argue about other sports; I'm in the baseball business. It's been run cleaner than any baseball business that was ever put out in a hundred years at the present time.
    • Casey Stengel, speaking on July 8, 1958 before the Senate Anti-Trust and Monopoly Subcommittee on proposed measure to exempt MLB from existing anti-trust laws; included in "Casey & The Mick" on Baseball's Greatest Hits; Let's Play (1990)
  • I said: "Baseball is the hurrah game of the republic!" He was hilarious: "That's beautiful: the hurrah game! well — it's our game: that's the chief fact in connection with it: America's game: has the snap, go fling, of the American atmosphere — belongs as much to our institutions, fits into them as significantly, as our constitutions, laws: is just as important in the sum total of our historic life."
    • Horace Traubel, of a conversation with Walt Whitman (4 July 1889) in With Walt Whitman in Camden (1906), Vol. IV, p. 508
  • There was a beauty here bigger than the hurtling beauty of basketball, a beauty refined from country pastures, a game of solitariness, of waiting, waiting for the pitcher to complete his gaze toward first base and throw his lightning, a game whose very taste, of spit and dust and grass and sweat and leather and sun, was America.
  • Good pitching always stops good hitting, and vice versa.
  • Baseball is almost the only orderly thing in a very unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can't get you off.
    • Bill Veeck (with Ed Linn), "Back Where I Belong" Sports Illustrated (March 14, 1976)
  • This is a game to be savored, not gulped. There's time to discuss everything between pitches or between innings..
    • Bill Veeck (with Linn), "Back Where I Belong"
  • [B]aseball is a game of idling, a game of stories. It's an informal game, unlike football, which is paramilitary in nature. As Fred Moody once commented, NFL football doesn't consider the press to be a necessary evil. It considers the press to be an unnecessary evil.
  • Baseball is like church. Many attend, but few understand.
    • Wes Westrum, as quoted in "Are You Bright Enough to be a Big Leaguer?" by John Devaney, in The Los Angeles Times (June 17, 1962)
  • I grew up in central Illinois midway between Chicago and St. Louis and I made an historic blunder. All my friends became Cardinals fans and grew up happy and liberal and I became a Cubs fan and grew up embittered and conservative.
  •   Encyclopedic article on Baseball on Wikipedia
  •   Media related to Baseball on Wikimedia Commons
  •   The dictionary definition of baseball on Wiktionary