A bat-and-ball sport, baseball was officially played as a sport in 1846, and is a game played between two teams consisting of 9 players each. Each professional game consists of nine innings, and each team takes turns at batting and pitching – runs are scored by hitting the pitched ball with a bat, and touching a series of four bases. By the end of the game, the team that scores the most runs wins. Most popular in the United States and Canada, the professional sport is grouped under Major League Baseball (MLB), which is further sub-divided into the National League (NL) and American League (AL). These branch out into three more sub-divisions – East, West, and Central.
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A popular variant of baseball, softball was first played as an indoor game, in 1888 in Chicago. It was given its name in 1926, and comes under the International Softball Federation, which regulates the rules of the sport in more than 110 countries, prime among these the United States and Canada. A “softer” version of baseball, softball is played on a smaller field, with a larger ball.
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