The sport of baseball has been around since the 18th century when people in Europe would hit a ball pitched to them, while the batter ran a circuit of bases after hitting the ball.
While baseball has evolved since those days, some central baseball concepts remain. In its early stages, baseball was known by many different names, but the term baseball wasn’t used until 1700, according to some people, while others dispute the term was used in 1672 to describe a game known as stoolball.
It wouldn’t be until 1846 that two teams, the New York Mutual and the Knickerbockers, would play the first “official” baseball game in the United States.
Since then, there have been college, amateur, and professional baseball teams in the United States and worldwide. Some of the most popular baseball leagues worldwide are MLB, NCAA baseball, and Japan NPB.
Major League Baseball
MLB has been around since 1876 and is the oldest professional baseball league globally. MLB is made up of two leagues, the National League and the American League, with 15 teams each.
MLB has a 162-game regular season, followed by three playoff rounds for the NL and three for the AL, with the winner from the AL and NL facing each other in the championship game, the World Series.
The NL and AL both have three divisions each and those divisions have five teams each. The team with the best record in each division will go to the playoffs, plus two additional teams with the best record that didn’t win their division.
The wild card round is a one-game elimination between the two teams that didn’t win their division; the division series will be between the top team and the winner of the one-game match while the other two remaining teams face each other in a best-out-of-five series.
The final playoff round, the league championship series, will be the best out of five series between the division series winners, with the winner of this series going to the World Series.
NCAA Baseball was first played by Amherst College and Williams College in 1859 under “Massachusetts rules,” which had a few different rules than the baseball we know today.
Those differences were that fielders were allowed to put a runner out by hitting him with a thrown ball, there was no foul territory, and the rules did not require baserunners to stay within the baselines.
Today, NCAA baseball follows most of the standard rules across all baseball leagues.
The NCAA baseball regular season consists of 82 games, with 64 teams going to an NCAA baseball tournament at the end of the season for a chance to become the next College World Series champions.
The tournament is unique in that it features four tiers of competition, alternating between double-elimination brackets and the best-of-three series.
Throughout the entire 64-team tournament, a team can lose a total of four games and still be crowned champions.
National seeds are given to 16 teams during team selection, with the top eight teams automatically hosting a super regional if they advance past the regional round.
Conference champions receive automatic bids in these tournaments while the selection committee fills the remaining spots.
The tournament brackets are divided into these three stages: regionals, super regionals, and the College World series.
Nippon Professional Baseball
NPB is a Japanese baseball league that consists of two leagues and 12 teams between the Pacific League and the Central League.
The NPB regular season consists of 146 games, with the conclusion of each regular season seeing the best teams from each league play in the Nippon Series, also known as the Japan Championship Series.
The Nippon Series is a best-of-seven series between the Central League’s team with the best record and the Pacific League’s team with the best record. There are no playoff games to get to the Nippon Series.