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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 objectives of the offensive team (batting team) are to hit the ball into the field of play, and 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.

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Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson Day is a traditional event which occurs annually in Major League Baseball, commemorating and honoring the day Jackie Robinson made his major league debut. Initiated for the first time on April 15, 2004, Jackie Robinson Day is celebrated each year on the same date. The festivity is a result of Robinson's memorable career, best known for becoming the first African-American major league baseball player of the modern era in 1947. His debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers (today known as the Los Angeles Dodgers) ended approximately eighty years of baseball segregation, also known as the baseball color line, or color barrier. He also was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, remembered for his services with the number 42 jersey. The gala is often celebrated at varied ballparks by Major League team players. Shea Stadium was one of the prominent venues hosting the event, having commemorated the retirement of Robinson's number 42 jersey in 1997. The numbered jersey is still worn to mark the event every year. Bob DuPuy, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Major League baseball, described Jackie Robinson Day as a significance "not only for baseball, but for our country in general."

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Robert William Meusel (July 19, 1896 – November 28, 1977) was an American left and right fielder in Major League Baseball who played 11 seasons from 1920 to 1930, all but the last for the New York Yankees. He was best known as a member of the Yankees championship teams of the 1920s, nicknamed the "Murderers' Row", during which time the team won its first six American League pennants and first three World Series titles. Meusel, noted for his strong throwing arm in the outfield, batted fifth behind Baseball Hall of Famers Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. In 1925 he joined Ruth in becoming the second Yankee to lead the AL in either home runs (33), runs batted in (138) or extra base hits (79). Nicknamed "Long Bob" because of his 6-foot (1.8 m), 3 inch (1.91 m) stature, Meusel batted .313 or better in seven of his first eight seasons, finishing with a .309 career average; his 1,005 RBI during the 1920s were the fourth most by any major leaguer, and trailed only Harry Heilmann's total of 1,131 among AL right-handed hitters. Meusel ended his career in 1930 with the Cincinnati Reds. He hit for the cycle three times, a feat accomplished by only one other player previously and one since. His older brother, Emil "Irish" Meusel, was a star outfielder in the National League during the same period, primarily for the New York Giants, who shared a stadium with the Yankees during part of their careers. He had a comparable career batting average (.310) but, unlike Bob, had a weak throwing arm which prevented him from being a great outfielder.


In the end it all comes down to talent. You can talk all you want about intangibles, I just don't know what that means. Talent makes winners, not intangibles. Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win - if they're nice guys with a lot of talent. Nice guys with a little talent finish fourth and nice guys with no talent finish last.

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Johnny Damon, 2002 Final Vote winner, was the first AL player elected
All-Star Final Vote is an annual Internet and text message ballot by Major League Baseball fans to elect the final player for each team that participates in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game after all other selections have been made and announced on national television. The first 32 players are selected by a combination of procedures. The 2009 edition of the process, which ran from 2:00 p.m of July 5 until 4:00 pm on July 9, 2009, was named the "2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote." In the most recent ballot for the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game announced on July 5, 2009, National League players Cristian Guzmán, Matt Kemp, Mark Reynolds, Pablo Sandoval, and Shane Victorino and American League players Chone Figgins, Brandon Inge, Ian Kinsler, Adam Lind, and Carlos Peña were on the ballot. Ultimately, Inge and Victorino were elected to represent their respective leagues. A record 68.6 million votes were cast. That figure far exceeded the previous year's record of 47.8 million votes that elected Evan Longoria and Corey Hart to the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The 68.6 million votes representing 34.3 million ballots exceeded the 17.8 million ballots cast for the starting lineup.

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