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Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who 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 it to run the bases—having its runners 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.

The first objective of the batting team is to have a player reach first base safely. A player on the batting team who reaches first base without being called "out" can attempt to advance to subsequent bases as a runner, either immediately or during teammates' turns batting. The fielding team tries to prevent runs by getting batters or runners "out", which forces them out of the field of play. Both the pitcher and fielders have methods of getting the batting team's players out. The opposing teams switch back and forth between batting and fielding; the batting team's turn to bat is over once the fielding team records three outs. One turn batting for each team constitutes an inning. A game is usually composed of nine innings, and the team with the greater number of runs at the end of the game wins. If scores are tied at the end of nine innings, extra innings are usually played. Baseball has no game clock, although most games end in the ninth inning.

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 and South Korea.

In the United States and Canada, professional Major League Baseball (MLB) teams are divided into the National League (NL) and American League (AL), each with three divisions: East, West, and Central. The MLB champion is determined by playoffs that culminate in the World Series. The top level of play is similarly split in Japan between the Central and Pacific Leagues and in Cuba between the West League and East League. The World Baseball Classic, organized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation, is the major international competition of the sport and attracts the top national teams from around the world.

Selected article

Ichiro Suzuki was the first high-profile NPB player (and second overall) to use the posting system.
The posting system (ポスティングシステム, posutingu shisutemu) is a baseball player transfer system which operates between Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and the United States' Major League Baseball (MLB). Despite the drafting of the United States – Japanese Player Contract Agreement in 1967 designed to regulate NPB players moving to MLB, problems arose in the late 1990s. Some NPB teams lost star players without compensation, an issue highlighted when NPB stars Hideo Nomo and Alfonso Soriano left to play in MLB after using loopholes to void their existing contracts. A further problem was that NPB players had very little negotiating power if their teams decided to deal them to MLB, as when pitcher Hideki Irabu was traded to an MLB team for which he had no desire to play. In 1998, the Agreement was rewritten to address both problems and was dubbed the "posting system". Under this system, when an NPB player is "posted", MLB holds a four-day-long silent auction during which MLB teams can submit sealed bids in an attempt to win the exclusive rights to negotiate with the player for a period of 30 days. If the MLB team with the winning bid and the NPB player agree on contract terms before the 30-day period has expired, the NPB team receives the bid amount as a transfer fee, and the player is free to play in MLB. If the MLB team cannot come to a contract agreement with the posted player, then no fee is paid, and the player's rights revert to his NPB team. Up to the end of the 2008/09 posting period, thirteen Japanese players had been posted using the system. Of these, seven signed Major League contracts immediately, three signed minor league contracts, and three were unsuccessful in attracting any MLB interest. The two highest-profile players that have been acquired by MLB teams through the posting system are Ichiro Suzuki and Daisuke Matsuzaka. They attracted high bids of $13.125 million and $51.1 million respectively, and have enjoyed successful MLB careers. However, since its implementation the posting system has been criticized by the media and baseball insiders from both countries.

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Selected biography

Lee Smith.jpg
Lee Arthur Smith (born December 4, 1957) is a retired American right-handed relief pitcher who played for eight teams in Major League Baseball from 1980 to 1997. A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Smith was scouted by Buck O'Neil and drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 1975 Major League Baseball Draft. In his 18-year major league career, Smith's longest tenure with any one team was with the Cubs, with whom he spent his first eight seasons. One of the dominant closers in history, Smith held the major league record for career saves from 1993 until 2006, when San Diego Padres relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman passed his final total of 478 on September 24. Smith was known as an intimidating figure on the pitcher's mound at 6 feet, 6 inches (1.98 m) and 265 pounds (120 kg) with a 95 mile per hour (150 km/h) fastball.

In 1991, Smith set a National League record with 47 saves for the St. Louis Cardinals, and was runner-up for the league's Cy Young Award; it was the second of three times he led the NL in saves, and he later led the American League once while with the Baltimore Orioles in 1994. He also set the major league career record for games finished (802), and his 1,022 career games pitched were the third most in history when he retired; he still holds the team records for career saves for the Cubs (180), and he also held the Cardinals record (160) until 2006. Smith has been a candidate for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame five times since 2003, but has generally received 37-45% of the necessary votes on all total ballots cast by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, with 75% needed for election. After the end of his major league career, Smith spent time working as a pitching instructor at the minor-league level with the San Francisco Giants. He then served as the pitching coach for the South Africa national baseball team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and afterwards continued his previous job as a minor-league roving pitching instructor for the Giants.

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"The only way to make money as a manager is to win in one place, get fired and hired somewhere else."


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Fred Clarke, manager of the Pirates from 1900 to 1915
The Pittsburgh Pirates are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They play in the National League Central division. The team began play in 1882 as the Alleghenies (alternately spelled "Alleghenys") in the American Association. The franchise moved to the National League after owner William Nimick became upset over a contract dispute, thus beginning the modern day franchise. The team currently plays home games at PNC Park which they moved into in 2001. Prior to PNC Park, the Pirates played games at Three Rivers Stadium and Forbes Field, among other stadiums. Through the 2008 season the Pirates have had 16 consecutive seasons with a losing record—tying a United States professional sports record.

There have been 38 managers for the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise. The Pirates' first manager was Horace Phillips, who had coached the team before their move to the National League. In 1900, Fred Clarke began his tenure with the franchise. Clarke's 1422 victories and 969 losses lead all managers of the Pirates in their respective categories, Clarke also had the longest tenure as manager in his 16 years in the position. Clarke managed the franchise to its first World Series victory, a feat that would also be accomplished by Bill McKechnie, Danny Murtaugh, and Chuck Tanner. Thirteen Pirates managers have been player-managers—those who take on simultaneous roles as a player and manager. McKechnie, Connie Mack, and Ned Hanlon were inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum as managers. Five Pirates managers were inducted into the Hall of Fame for their performance as players. Billy Meyer's number 1, Pie Traynor's number 20, Honus Wagner's number 33, and Murtaugh's number 40 have been retired by the franchise. Hired before the 2011 season, the Pirates' current manager is [Clint Hurdle].

From the franchise's beginning, the owner and manager fulfilled the duties of the general manager. However, in 1946, Roy Hamey left his position as president of the second American Association to become the Pirates' first general manager. The franchises' second general manager, Branch Rickey, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1967. Hired in September 2007, Neal Huntington is the Pirates's current general manager. Barney Dreyfuss purchased the franchise in 1900, bringing players including Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke with him from the Louisville Colonels, which he had previously owned. In his 32 years as owner, Dreyfuss built Forbes Field and helped to organize the World Series. Dreyfuss was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008. Robert Nutting served as Chairman of the Board from 2003 to 2007, at which point he became majority owner of the franchise.

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