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 18th 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 19th 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.
There is a common misconception that U.S. Army officer Abner Doubleday invented baseball in the mid 19th century. This urban legend has been thoroughly discredited, but many of Harry Turtledove's stories are set in time periods when it is still widely believed, and characters may incorrectly assert it from time to time.
Minor league baseball player George Ruth was never able to become a big-league sensation. In his later years, he became convinced that if he'd been discovered by a major league team while he was in his prime, he could have become another Buzz Arlett, arguably the greatest player the game had ever seen.
Baseball was a sport known throughout the United States and the Confederate States but popular only in the New England region of the US. In every other region of both countries, football was a far more popular sport, though baseball bats made effective weapons in street brawls.
Ullhass and Ristin were not the only members of the Race to play baseball; it became fairly popular among the Race's expatriate community in the US. Lizards' skittering walking motion made them talented middle infielders, and being smaller than humans, their strike zones were correspondingly small and thus difficult to pitch into. However, the Race's musculature prevented its members from becoming power hitters.