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Baseball in the United States

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[[Image:Citizensbankpark philadelphia.jpg|thumb|350px|One of the United State's many major league ballparks]]
'''Baseball''' has been considered America's pastime for over a century and today remains one of the biggest sports in the country. Baseball is played at a number of amateur levels, from Little League to High School to College, and professional leagues range from the lowest Minor Leagues to Major League Baseball. In almost any place in America, there will be a baseball game going on during the spring and summer months, and it is a fantastic way to meet the locals and experience American sports culture.
==Major League Baseball==
'''Major League Baseball''' [] is the highest level of baseball played in the U.S. and the richest professional baseball league in the world. It attracts the highest level of talent from North America, South America, Asia, and the Caribbean. Thirty major-league teams are spread across the US in twenty-seven cities. Each team plays in its own stadium, all of which seat at least 40,000 spectators. Tickets generally cost between $15-50 for most seats; the best seats will cost upwards of that. The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs are the most difficult teams to get tickets for, but online seller-to-seller websites have available tickets if you're willing to pay more. Major League Baseball season runs from early April-late September, with pre-season Spring Training games in March and the post-season playoffs in October.
[[Image:Fenway Park.jpg|thumb|250px|Fenway Park - Home of the [[Boston]] Red Sox]]
Major League Baseball is divided into two leagues: the '''American League''' and the '''National League''', each of which is further divided into three divisions: East, Central, and West.
The two leagues are also distinguished in that the American League uses the '''designated hitter rule''' where the pitcher does not hit and run bases with another player, the designated hitter, substituting; the National League does not use this rule.
Here's a run-down of all the teams:
'''American League East'''
* Baltimore Orioles - Camden Yards - [[Baltimore]], Maryland (in [[Baltimore/South Baltimore|South Baltimore]])
* Boston Red Sox - Fenway Park - [[Boston]], Massachusetts (in [[Boston/Fenway-Kenmore|Fenway]])
* New York Yankees - Yankee Stadium - [[New York City]], New York (in the [[Bronx]])
* Tampa Bay Rays - Tropicana Field - [[Saint Petersburg (Florida)|Saint Petersburg]], Florida
* Toronto Blue Jays - Rogers Centre - [[Toronto]], Ontario, Canada
[[Image:Progressive Field.JPG|thumb|250px|Progressive Field - Home of the [[Cleveland]] Indians]]
'''American League Central'''
* Chicago White Sox - U.S. Cellular Field - [[Chicago]], Illinois (in [[Chicago/Bridgeport-Chinatown|Bridgeport]])
* Cleveland Indians - Progressive Field - [[Cleveland]], Ohio (in [[Cleveland/Downtown|Downtown]])
* Detroit Tigers - Comerica Park - [[Detroit]], Michigan (in [[Detroit/Downtown|Downtown]])
* Kansas City Royals - Kauffman Stadium - [[Kansas City]], Missouri
* Minnesota Twins - Target Field - [[Minneapolis]], Minnesota (in [[Minneapolis/Downtown|Downtown]])
'''American League West'''
* Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Angel Stadium - [[Anaheim]], California
* Oakland Athletics - Oakland Coliseum - [[Oakland]], California
* Seattle Mariners - Safeco Field - [[Seattle]], Washington (in [[Seattle/Sodo-Georgetown|Sodo]])
* Texas Rangers - Rangers Ballpark in Arlington - [[Arlington (Texas)|Arlington]], Texas
'''National League East'''
* Atlanta Braves - Turner Field - [[Atlanta]], Georgia (in [[Atlanta/South|South Atlanta]])
* Florida Marlins - Dolphin Stadium - [[Miami]], Florida
* New York Mets - Citi Field - [[New York City]], New York (in [[Queens]])
* Philadelphia Phillies - Citizens Bank Park - [[Philadelphia]], Pennsylvania (in [[Philadelphia/South|South Philly]])
* Washington Nationals - Nationals Ballpark - [[Washington, D.C.]] (on the [[Washington, D.C./Waterfront|Waterfront]])
[[Image:Pnc park pittsburgh2.jpg|thumb|250px|PNC Park - Home of the [[Pittsburgh]] Pirates]]
'''National League Central'''
* Chicago Cubs - Wrigley Field - [[Chicago]], Illinois (in [[Chicago/Lakeview-North Center|Lakeview]])
* Cincinnati Reds - Great American Ball Park - [[Cincinnati]], Ohio
* Houston Astros - Minute Maid Park - [[Houston]], Texas
* Milwaukee Brewers - Miller Park - [[Milwaukee]], Wisconsin
* Pittsburgh Pirates - PNC Park - [[Pittsburgh]], Pennsylvania (on the [[Pittsburgh/North Side|North Side]])
* St. Louis Cardinals - Busch Stadium - [[St. Louis]], Missouri
'''National League West'''
* Arizona Diamondbacks - Chase Field - [[Phoenix]], Arizona (in [[Phoenix/Downtown|Downtown]])
* Colorado Rockies - Coors Field - [[Denver]], Colorado
* Los Angeles Dodgers - Dodger Stadium - [[Los Angeles]], California (in [[Los Angeles/Downtown|Downtown]])
* San Diego Padres - PETCO Park - [[San Diego]], California (in [[San Diego/Downtown|Downtown]])
* San Francisco Giants - AT&T Park - [[San Francisco]], California (in [[San Francisco/SoMa|SoMa]])
===Spring Training===
Prior to the start of the regular season, the Major League teams participate in a series of exhibition games through the month of March. Spring Training is an opportunity to get a lot closer to your favorite players than would be possible during the regular season. For climate-related reasons, all Spring Training games are held in [[Arizona]] or [[Florida]], the '''Cactus League''' and '''Grapefruit League''' respectively.
====Cactus League====
Composed mostly of teams from the west and some from the [[Midwest]].
* Arizona Diamondbacks - Tucson Electric Park - [[Tucson]]
* Chicago Cubs - HoHoKam Park - [[Mesa]]
* Chicago White Sox - Tucson Electric Park - [[Tucson]]
* Cleveland Indians - [[Goodyear]]
* Colorado Rockies - Hi Corbett Field - [[Tucson]]
* Kansas City Royals - Surprise Stadium - [[Surprise]]
* Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Tempe Diablo Stadium - [[Tempe]]
* Milwaukee Brewers - Maryvale Baseball Park [[Phoenix]]
* Oakland Athletics - Phoenix Municipal Stadium - [[Phoenix]]
* San Diego Padres - Peoria Sports Complex - [[Peoria (Arizona)|Peoria]]
* San Francisco Giants - Scottsdale Stadium - [[Scottsdale]]
* Seattle Mariners - Peoria Sports Complex - [[Peoria (Arizona)|Peoria]]
* Texas Rangers - Surprise Stadium - [[Surprise]]
====Grapefruit League====
[[Image:Osceola County Stadium main.JPG|thumb|250px|Osceola County Stadium - [[Kissimmee]]]]
Composed mostly of teams from the east and the rest from the [[Midwest]].
* Atlanta Braves - Champion Stadium - [[Walt Disney World/Hollywood Studios#ESPN Wide World of Sports|ESPN Wide World of Sports complex]] at [[Walt Disney World]].
* Baltimore Orioles - Fort Lauderdale Stadium - [[Ft. Lauderdale]]
* Boston Red Sox - City of Palms Park - [[Fort Myers]]
* Cincinnati Reds - Ed Smith Stadium - [[Sarasota]]
* Detroit Tigers - Joker Marchant Stadium - [[Lakeland]]
* Florida Marlins - Roger Dean Stadium - [[Jupiter]]
* Houston Astros - Osceola County Stadium - [[Kissimmee]]
* Los Angeles Dodgers - Holman Stadium - [[Vero Beach]]
* Minnesota Twins - Hammond Stadium - [[Ft. Myers]]
* New York Mets - Tradition Field - [[Port St. Lucie]]
* New York Yankees - Steinbrenner Field - [[Tampa]]
* Philadelphia Phillies - Bright House Field - [[Clearwater]]
* Pittsburgh Pirates - McKechnie Field - [[Bradenton]]
* St. Louis Cardinals - Roger Dean Stadium - [[Jupiter]]
* Tampa Bay Rays - Charlotte Sports Park - [[Port Charlotte]]
* Toronto Blue Jays - Knology Park - [[Dunedin (Florida)|Dunedin]]
* Washington Nationals - Space Coast Stadium - [[Viera]]
===All-Star Game===
Held every year in early to mid-July, the All-Star Game is an exhibition game pitting the best players in the American League against the best of the National League. Wherever it is held, the All-Star Game is the centerpiece of a week-long celebration, which usually includes a fan fest and a home run derby. The league determines the location of the game in advance, and tickets are very expensive.
===Playoffs/World Series===
Every October, the leaders of each of the three divisions plus a Wild Card team (the best second-place team in the league) from each league will compete to play in the World Series championship. The World Series pits the winner of the National League playoffs against the winner of the American League playoffs.
===Hall of Fame===
A destination for any baseball fan is [[Cooperstown (New York)|Cooperstown]], [[New York (state)|New York]], home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which honors the game's history and its finest players. According to folklore, Cooperstown is where the game of baseball was invented, but no one has been able to prove that this is the case. Nevertheless, the town has become synonymous with the history of baseball.
* All teams have a team store at the stadium to purchase jerseys, hats, and other memorabilia.
* Team merchandise can often be purchased at nearby stores for less than what the stadiums charge.
* All stadiums have a plethora of eating options from standard ballpark fare like hot dogs, hamburgers, beer, and sodas to more specialized eats like sausages in Milwaukee, fish tacos in San Diego, and sushi in Seattle. Prices usually run between $3-$5 for hot dogs and $10 or more for specialized food like barbecue or chicken.
===Stay Safe===
* Any interference with the game in play will lead to an ejection from the stadium without compensation.
* Drunkenness at the stadium will also be cause for ejection and possible arrest.
* Smoking is prohibited in most locations in most stadiums. Some may ban it in all locations.
* Many stadiums prohibit coolers, large bags, backpacks, plastic or glass bottles, cans and video cameras from the stadium. Check specific stadium policies before attending. All stadiums will ban knives, firearms, fireworks, and noisemakers.
==Minor League Baseball==
'''Minor League Baseball''' [] is the general name for a group of developmental leagues operated by major league teams for younger players who have not yet developed the skills to play in the major leagues. Almost all small to mid-sized cities in America will have a minor league team of some sort and it's considered a very affordable and fun alternative to higher priced major league games. The leagues are organized in a system based on the level of talent. Triple A is the highest dropping down to A level and then to the Rookie Ball level. Minor League Baseball operates from early April to early September, though lower levels may only play from late June until late August. The minor leagues are praised for being fan friendly and cost efficient for families.
Tickets generally cost between $7-12 each, with special promotions sometimes lowering that price. At almost all stadiums, you are able to walk up and purchase tickets at the gate, but be advised that certain higher level teams do sell out ahead of time.
Food is priced similarly to major league stadiums and generally the same things are available, although variety decreases dramatically below the AAA level.
'''Triple A Level''' covers most of the largest metropolitan areas without Major League Baseball franchises, as well as some smaller cities.
* '''International League''' (mainly cities in the eastern part of the country)
** [[Buffalo (New York)|Buffalo]] Bisons, [[Charlotte]] Knights, [[Columbus]] Clippers, [[Durham (North Carolina)|Durham]] Bulls, [[Gwinnett County|Gwinnett]] Braves ([[Lawrenceville]]), [[Indianapolis]] Indians, [[Lehigh Valley]] IronPigs ([[Allentown]]), [[Louisville]] Bats, [[Norfolk (Virginia)|Norfolk]] Tides, [[Pawtucket]] Red Sox, [[Rochester (New York)|Rochester]] Red Wings, [[Scranton]]/[[Wilkes-Barre]] Yankees, [[Syracuse (New York)|Syracuse]] Chiefs, and the [[Toledo (Ohio)|Toledo]] Mud Hens.
* '''Pacific Coast League''' (mainly cities in the western and midwestern parts of the county)
** [[Albuquerque]] Isotopes, [[Colorado Springs]] Sky Sox, [[Fresno]] Grizzlies, Iowa Cubs ([[Des Moines]]), [[Las Vegas]] 51s, [[Memphis]] Redbirds, [[Nashville]] Sounds, [[New Orleans]] Zephyrs, Oklahoma RedHawks ([[Oklahoma City]]), [[Omaha]] Royals, [[Portland (Oregon)|Portland]] Beavers, [[Round Rock]] Express, [[Sacramento]] River Cats, [[Salt Lake City]] Bees, [[Tacoma]] Rainers, and the [[Tucson]] Sidewinders.
'''Double A Level''' teams can be found in many mid-sized cities.
* '''Eastern League'''
** [[Akron]] Aeros, [[Altoona (Pennsylvania)|Altoona]] Curve, [[Binghamton]] Mets, [[Bowie]] Baysox, Connecticut Defenders ([[Norwich (Connecticut)|Norwich]]), [[Erie]] SeaWolves, [[Harrisburg]] Senators, [[New Britain]] Rock Cats, New Hampshire Fisher Cats ([[Manchester (New Hampshire)|Manchester]]), [[Portland (Maine)|Portland]] Sea Dogs, [[Reading (Pennsylvania)|Reading]] Phillies, and the [[Trenton]] Thunder.
* '''Southern League'''
** [[Birmingham (Alabama)|Birmingham]] Barons, Carolina Mudcats ([[Raleigh]]), [[Chattanooga]] Lookouts, [[Huntsville (Alabama)|Huntsville]] Stars, [[Jacksonville]] Suns, Mississippi Braves ([[Pearl]]), [[Mobile]] BayBears, [[Montgomery]] Biscuits, Tennessee Smokies ([[Knoxville]]), and the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx ([[Jackson (Tennessee)|Jackson]]).
* '''Texas League'''
** Arkansas Travelers ([[North Little Rock]]), [[Corpus Christi]] Hooks, [[Frisco (Texas)|Frisco]] RoughRiders, [[Midland (Texas)|Midland]] RockHounds, Northwest Arkansas Naturals ([[Springdale (Arkansas)|Springdale]]), [[San Antonio]] Missions, [[Springfield (Missouri)|Springfield]] Cardinals, and the [[Tulsa]] Drillers.
*'''American Association'''
** [[El Paso]] Diablos, [[Fort Worth]] Cats, [[Grand Prairie]] AirHogs, [[Lincoln]] Saltdogs, [[Pensacola]] Pelicans, [[Saint Paul]] Saints, [[Shreveport|Shreveport-Bossier]] Captains, [[Sioux City]] Explorers, [[Sioux Falls]] Canaries, and the [[Wichita]] Wingnuts.
'''Single A Level - High-A leagues'''
* '''California League'''
** [[Bakersfield]], [[Modesto]], [[San Bernardino]], [[San Jose]], [[Stockton (California)|Stockton]], etc.
* '''Carolina League'''
** [[Frederick]], [[Myrtle Beach]], [[Winston-Salem]], etc.
* '''Florida State League'''
** [[Daytona Beach]], [[Fort Myers]], [[Tampa]], etc.
'''Single A Level - Low-A leagues'''
* '''Midwest League'''
** [[Cedar Rapids]], [[Dayton]], [[Fort Wayne]], [[Peoria (Illinois)|Peoria]], etc.
* '''South Atlantic League'''
** [[Asheville]], [[Charleston (South Carolina)|Charleston]], [[Greensboro]], [[Lexington (Kentucky)|Lexington]], [[Savannah]], etc.
'''Single A Level - Short-season A leagues'''
* '''New York-Penn League'''
** [[Auburn (New York)|Auburn]], [[Brooklyn]], [[Burlington (Vermont)|Burlington]], [[Williamsport]], etc.
* '''Northwest League'''
** [[Boise]], [[Eugene]], [[Spokane]], [[Vancouver]], etc.
'''Rookie Level'''
* Appalachian League - teams in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina.
* Arizona League - teams in Arizona
* Gulf Coast League - teams in Florida
* Pioneer League - teams in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah
==College Baseball==
'''College Baseball''' is the general term for non-professional baseball organized by either the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). College baseball play can run the gamut from high level programs such as the University of Oregon, University of North Carolina, and University of Miami which compete in the NCAA, to small schools like Lewis-Clark State University of the NAIA. The biggest event in college baseball is the College World Series, an NCAA sanctioned event featuring the best college baseball teams held each June in [[Omaha]]. Almost all colleges will have a baseball team and play runs from February to June.
====College World Series====
Held in Omaha every June, the CWS pits eight teams against each other in a double elimination tournament to choose the NCAA Champion. Tickets range from $19-36 for reserved seats and $10 each or $70 for ten for general admission (non-guaranteed) seats. Tickets go on-sale in April 2008 for the 2008 tournament.
====National Alliance of Summer Baseball []====
These are NCAA sanctioned summer baseball leagues, partially funded by Major League Baseball, drawing from college-age players. A high percentage of drafted players come from these leagues.
*'''Cape Cod Baseball League''', [[Cape Cod]], [[Massachusetts]], []. Over 110 years of history. One in seven Major League Baseball players played in this league.
*'''Central Illinois Collegiate League''', [[Illinois]], [].
*'''Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League''', [].
*'''New York Collegiate Baseball League''', [[New York (state)|New York]], [].
*'''Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League''', [[Pennsylvania]], [[New York (state)|New York]] and [[New Jersey]], [].
*''' Southern Collegiate Baseball League''', [].
*'''Valley Baseball League''', [[Virginia]], [].
*''' Florida Collegiate Summer League''', [[Florida]], [].
*'''Coastal Plain League''', [[North Carolina]], [[South Carolina]], and [[Virginia]], [].
==High School Baseball==
'''High School Baseball''' is played around the nation by teams organized by each individual high school. The level of play is lower than college baseball, though some elite schools produce multiple college baseball players each year. Schools typically play local and regional competition in an April through June schedule. There is no national championship like in college baseball or pro levels, and teams rarely charge to attend games.
==Little League Baseball==
'''Little League Baseball''' is a collection of youth baseball leagues run by Little League Baseball. It operates leagues for children from ages 8-18. Its premier event is the Little League World Series. In almost any town across the country, you can find a Little League game between April and June, and seating is free with most places having a food stand of some kind.
====Little League World Series====
Held in [[Williamsport]], Pennsylvania, every August, the LLWS pits sixteen teams of 11-12 year olds from around the world in a tournament to prove the best team. Its very popular among people of all ages and the atmosphere is electric for every game. Tickets are available first come, first served for all games except the World Championship Game. Those tickets are distributed by a lottery system, but seating beyond the stadium fences is always available.
==Outside the United States==
Baseball has since spread from the United States to other countries. The following countries also have a large number of baseball fans and players:
*[[Puerto Rico]]
*[[Dominican Republic]]
*[[South Korea]]

Revision as of 22:40, 27 January 2011

THE CHICAGO CUBS ARE THE BEST BASEBALL IN HISTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!