Portal:Baseball

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Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The goal is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot square, or diamond. Players on one team (the batting team) take turns hitting against the pitcher of the other team (the fielding team), which tries to stop them from scoring runs by getting hitters out in any of several ways. A player on the batting team can stop at any of the bases and later advance via a teammate's hit or other means. The teams switch between batting and fielding whenever the fielding team records three outs. One turn at bat for each team constitutes an inning; nine innings make up a professional game. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.

Evolving from older bat-and-ball games, an early form of baseball was being played in England by the mid-eighteenth century. This game and the related rounders were brought by British and Irish immigrants to North America, where the modern version of baseball developed. By the late nineteenth century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. Baseball on the professional, amateur, and youth levels is now popular in North America, parts of Central and South America and the Caribbean, and parts of East Asia. The game is sometimes referred to as hardball, in contrast to the derivative game of softball.

In North America, professional Major League Baseball (MLB) teams are divided into the National League (NL) and American League (AL). Each league has three divisions: East, West, and Central. Every year, the champion of Major League Baseball is determined by playoffs that culminate in the World Series. Five teams make the playoffs from each league: the three regular season division winners, plus two wild card teams. Baseball is the leading team sport in both Japan and Cuba, and the top level of play is similarly split between two leagues: Japan's Central League and Pacific League; Cuba's West League and East League. In the National and Central leagues, the pitcher is required to bat, per the traditional rules. In the American, Pacific, and both Cuban leagues, there is a tenth player, a designated hitter, who bats for the pitcher. Each top-level team has a farm system of one or more minor league teams. These teams allow younger players to develop as they gain on-field experience against opponents with similar levels of skill. (more...)

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Ichiro Suzuki was the first high-profile NPB player (and second overall) to use the posting system.
The posting system (ポスティングシステム posutingu shisutemu?) is a baseball player transfer system which operates between Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and the United States' Major League Baseball (MLB). Despite the drafting of the United States – Japanese Player Contract Agreement in 1967 designed to regulate NPB players moving to MLB, problems arose in the late 1990s. Some NPB teams lost star players without compensation, an issue highlighted when NPB stars Hideo Nomo and Alfonso Soriano left to play in MLB after using loopholes to void their existing contracts. A further problem was that NPB players had very little negotiating power if their teams decided to deal them to MLB, as when pitcher Hideki Irabu was traded to an MLB team for which he had no desire to play. In 1998, the Agreement was rewritten to address both problems and was dubbed the "posting system". Under this system, when an NPB player is "posted", MLB holds a four-day-long silent auction during which MLB teams can submit sealed bids in an attempt to win the exclusive rights to negotiate with the player for a period of 30 days. If the MLB team with the winning bid and the NPB player agree on contract terms before the 30-day period has expired, the NPB team receives the bid amount as a transfer fee, and the player is free to play in MLB. If the MLB team cannot come to a contract agreement with the posted player, then no fee is paid, and the player's rights revert to his NPB team. Up to the end of the 2008/09 posting period, thirteen Japanese players had been posted using the system. Of these, seven signed Major League contracts immediately, three signed minor league contracts, and three were unsuccessful in attracting any MLB interest. The two highest-profile players that have been acquired by MLB teams through the posting system are Ichiro Suzuki and Daisuke Matsuzaka. They attracted high bids of $13.125 million and $51.1 million respectively, and have enjoyed successful MLB careers. However, since its implementation the posting system has been criticized by the media and baseball insiders from both countries.

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William Harold Ponsford MBE (19 October 1900 – 6 April 1991) was an Australian cricketer, the only player to twice break the world record for the highest individual score in first-class cricket. Predominantly playing as an opening batsman, he formed a successful and long-lived partnership opening the batting for Victoria and Australia with Bill Woodfull, his friend and state and national captain. Aside from Brian Lara, he is the only man to score 400 runs in an innings on two occasions. Ponsford holds the Australian record for a partnership in Test cricket, set in 1934 in combination with Don Bradman—the man who broke many of Ponsford's other individual records. Despite being heavily built, Ponsford was quick on his feet and renowned as one of the finest ever players of spin bowling. His bat, much heavier than the norm and nicknamed "Big Bertha", allowed him to drive powerfully and he possessed a strong cut shot. However, critics questioned his ability against fast bowling, and the hostile short-pitched English bowling in the Bodyline series of 1932–33 was a contributing factor in his early retirement from cricket a year and a half later. Ponsford also represented his state and country in baseball, and credited the sport with improving his cricketing skills. Ponsford was a shy and taciturn man. After retiring from cricket, he went to some lengths to avoid interaction with the public. He spent over three decades working for the Melbourne Cricket Club, where he had some responsibility for the operations of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the scene of many of his great performances with the bat. In 1981 the Northern Stand at the MCG was renamed the WH Ponsford Stand in his honour, and in 2005 a statue of him was installed outside the pavilion gates. In recognition of his contributions as a player, Ponsford was one of the ten initial inductees into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.

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I'm done trying to figure [...] out [what went wrong]. The more I try to figure them out, the bigger headache I get.


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The award was renamed in honor of Edgar Martínez, a five-time winner, upon his retirement.
The Edgar Martínez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award, commonly referred to as the Edgar Martínez Award and originally known as the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award, has been presented annually to the most outstanding designated hitter (DH) in the American League (AL) in Major League Baseball (MLB) since 1973. The award is voted on by club beat reporters, broadcasters and AL public relations departments. All players with a minimum of 100 at bats at DH are eligible. It was given annually by members of the Associated Press who are beat writers, broadcasters, and public relations directors. The Associated Press discontinued the award in 2000, but it was picked up by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, which has administered it since.

In September 2004, at Safeco Field ceremonies in honor of Edgar Martínez, Commissioner Bud Selig announced that the award would be renamed for the five-time recipient (1995, 1997–98, 2000–01). In an 18-year career with the Seattle Mariners, primarily as a designated hitter, Martínez batted .312, with 309 career home runs and 1,261 runs batted in.

David Ortiz has won the award six times, more than any other player (2003–2007, 2011). Other repeat winners of the award include Martínez himself (five times), three-time winner Hal McRae (1976, 1980, and 1982) and two-time winners Willie Horton (1975 and 1979), Greg Luzinski (1981 and 1983), Don Baylor (1985 and 1986), Harold Baines (1987 and 1988), Dave Parker (1989 and 1990), and Paul Molitor (1993 and 1996).

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