Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of nine players each, who take turns batting and fielding. A run is scored when a player advances around the bases, Players on the batting team take turns hitting against the pitcher of the fielding team, which tries to prevent runs by getting hitters out in any of several ways. A player on the team who reaches a base safely can attempt to advance to subsequent bases during teammates turns batting. The teams switch between batting and fielding whenever the team records three outs. One turn batting for both teams, beginning with the team, constitutes an inning. A game is composed of nine innings, and the team with the number of runs at the end of the game wins. Baseball has no clock, although almost all games end in the ninth inning. Baseball evolved from older bat-and-ball games already being played in England by the mid-18th century and 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 sport of the United States.
Baseball is now popular in North America and parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, in the United States and Canada, professional Major League Baseball teams are divided into the National League and American League, each with three divisions, East and Central. The major league 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 evolution of baseball from older bat-and-ball games is difficult to trace with precision, a French manuscript from 1344 contains an illustration of clerics playing a game, possibly la soule, with similarities to baseball. Other old French games such as thèque, la balle au bâton, consensus once held that todays baseball is a North American development from the older game rounders, popular in Great Britain and Ireland. Baseball Before We Knew It, A Search for the Roots of the Game, by David Block, suggests that the game originated in England, recently uncovered historical evidence supports this position.
Block argues that rounders and early baseball were actually regional variants of other. It has long believed that cricket descended from such games. The earliest known reference to baseball is in a 1744 British publication, A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, David Block discovered that the first recorded game of Bass-Ball took place in 1749 in Surrey, and featured the Prince of Wales as a player. William Bray, an English lawyer, recorded a game of baseball on Easter Monday 1755 in Guildford and this early form of the game was apparently brought to Canada by English immigrants