Baseball? Professional? Nope!
we play cricket here. Baseball is the very poor relative! And hardly any other country plays it.
Still wanna pink 'at, though! I could wear it at tennis. It looks pretty generic. No-one needs to know where it came from
As for where it came from, it appears to have been an English game. In Northanger Abbey
, a novel by Jane Austen published posthumously, the heroine, Catherine, is described as what we might today call a tomboy, and one of the games she is described as playing is baseball. It was written in that manner, too, as one word, even though for years afterward, in the United States it was written as two words, base ball. The novel was based on a childhood story she had written, Catherine, or the Bower
, and was completed for publication in 1798. It sat around on a publisher's shelf until he finally sold it back to her father, and it was published after her death in 1817.
I always like to bring it up, though--just about every spring, baseball fans exchange letters in the New York Times
about the origins of the game, and speak of articles in local newspapers in the 1830s about games of "base ball" between New York and New Jersey teams. Fanatics about baseball don't like to be told it is a game that girls played in England in the 18th century. The New York Times
long ago stopped publishing my letters when i wrote in.
As for hardly any other country playing it, that is a foolish and naive remark on your part. The Japanese and the Chinese of Taiwan are mad for it. The Japanese have a professional league every bit as faithfully followed by Japanese fans, and involving just as much hooplah and heavy financial investment as the teams in the United States. A few Japanese players have even ended up playing in the United States.
But more than that, the people of Mexico, Central America and the West Indian Islands are mad for baseball. Some of the greatest players in the history of the sport in the United States have been and continue to be from Mexico, Central America and the Islands. In fact, on the team which was my favorite, the Giants, there was a trio of brothers who all came from the Dominican Republic (a nation which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti), and who all began their professional careers with the Giants: Filipe, Matty and Jesus Alou. In fact, in a game in 1963 in the Polo Grounds in New York (the early home of the Mets, and once the home of the Giants when they were in New York), Al Dark, the manager, used the Alou brothers as pinch hitters, creating a unique event, the only time that three brothers batted consecutively in a game.
But the one nation which is really as crazy for baseball as the United States is Cuba. Yes, Cuba. They are also the scariest competition the United States faces in the Pan-American Games in baseball, which Americans feel is "their" game, but which the other nations of the western hemisphere consider to be just as much theirs as the Americans'. Before Castro, there were a lot of Cuban players in Major League Baseball, and "Red" Schoendienst, better known to most baseball fans as the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, once made baseball history while he was a player, when, due to substitutions during a game against the Washington Senators, he hit into the only all-Cuban double play combination in major league history (that means that the entire infield, four of the nine players, were Cuban).
Cuba beat the United States for the gold medal in the Pan-Am Games last year. Castro is a fanatic for baseball, and, incidentally, a fan of the New York Yankees. Sometimes the games are marred when Cuban players defect during the games, when major league recruiters wave millions of dollars under their noses. The last time i recall this was when the Pan-Am games were held in Winnipeg, in Canada, in 1999, and eight Cuban players defected.
Americans have had to eat crow for years while Little League (boys and girls aged eight to twelve years old) teams from Taiwan or Japan, or from Central America or the Islands have won the Little League World Series. Once considered the sole province of American teams, it has gotten to the point that Little League fans go crazy when an American team manages to beat the Chinese of the Japanese, who have dominated the tournaments for the last few decades.
I suspect you don't know too damned much about "base-oo-ball."