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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 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.

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, South Korea and Taiwan.

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.

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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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J. R. Richard signing autographs at an Academy Sports + Outdoors

James Rodney Richard (born March 7, 1950) is an American former starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played his entire career, from 1971 to 1980, with the Houston Astros.

After leaving high school, Richard was selected by the Astros as the second overall pick in the first round of the 1969 amateur draft. From the time he made his major league debut with the Astros in 1971 until 1975, Richard had a limited role as an Astros pitcher, throwing no more than 72 innings in a season. In 1975, Richard played his first full season in the majors as a starting pitcher. Read more...

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"Baseball has been good to me since I quit trying to play it."


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Connie Mack began his managing career as a player–manager.
In early baseball history, it was not uncommon for players to serve as player–managers; that is, they managed the team while still being signed to play for the club. In the history of MLB, there have been 221 player–managers, 59 of whom are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The dual role of player–manager was formerly a common practice, dating back to John Clapp, who performed the task for the Middletown Mansfields in 1872. One reason for this is that by hiring a player as a manager, the team could save money by paying only one salary. Also, popular players were named player–managers in an effort to boost game attendance. Babe Ruth left the New York Yankees when they refused to allow him to become player–manager. Five of the eight National League (NL) managers in 1934 were also players. Connie Mack, John McGraw, and Joe Torre, among the all-time leaders in managerial wins, made their managerial debuts as player–managers.

Today, player–managers have become rare in baseball. Pete Rose is the most recent player–manager, serving from 1984 through 1986 with the Cincinnati Reds. Whereas some player–managers, such as Lou Boudreau, were full-time players as player–managers, by the time Rose became player–manager, he was a part-time player. Rose was trying to prolong his career to break the all-time hit record set by Ty Cobb, and Reds owner Marge Schott used this as a marketing ploy. One criticism of the practice holds that the manager has enough to be preoccupied with during a game without playing. With specialized bullpens, extensive scouting reports, and increased media scrutiny, the job of a manager has become more complex. A player–manager needs to decide how much playing time to give himself. Don Kessinger, player–manager of the Chicago White Sox in 1979, believes he did not play himself enough. Additionally, Bill Terry felt he became isolated from his team when he became a player–manager.

However, the idea of the player–manager has been addressed recently. The Toronto Blue Jays considered hiring Paul Molitor as a player–manager in 1997. When approached with the idea in 2000, Barry Larkin reported that he found it "interesting", though general manager (GM) Jim Bowden rejected the idea. In the 2011–12 offseason, the White Sox considered hiring incumbent first baseman Paul Konerko to serve as manager. White Sox GM Kenny Williams said that he believes MLB will again have a player–manager.

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