Baseball, the sport which people often connect to the United States. Why is that, some would ask? Well, because it was popularized in the United States, and some would even argue that it was created in the United States. While the game of baseball was certainly not invented in the United States, it was there where it was reforged into what we see today. The rules of modern baseball were forged in the United States, during the first years of its existence, or more notably, when the National League was formed, in the late 19th century.
But, baseball was played in England prior to it being played in the United States. That brings us to the question, where is baseball also popular? Which countries love baseball as much as the United States? Here is where baseball is also popular.
Believe it or not, baseball is a very popular game in South Korea. In 1905, American missionaries brought the game to South Korea, changing a bit of what their future in sports is going to look like. Baseball was popular in South Korea even before it became a professional sport.
During the first half of the 20th century, there were a couple of notable matches which included South Koreans. The first of the notable matches was against an all-American team from the MLB, which stopped in Seoul in December of 1921. An all-Korean team was assembled, but they were beaten, 23-3. In the match against a Babe-Ruth led American team in 1934, at least one South Korean played.
The sport became a professional sport in 1982, and the highest level of competition, the Korea Baseball Championship, was created. It is now known as the KBO League, simply, and it still is the highest level of baseball in South Korea.
Japan had baseball even before Korea did, back in 1872. Unlike South Korea, however, they started their professional baseball journey in 1920. The Japanese Baseball League existed from 1936 to 1949. It was replaced with the NPB, Nippon Professional Baseball, in 1950. It is, to this day, the highest level of baseball in Japan. The sport was actually introduced by Horace Wilson, a professor at the Kaisei Academy in Tokyo, in 1872. This led to the popularization of the sport and the first professional team being founded in 1878. The sport became popular through the 20th century and is today one of the most popular spectator sports in Japan.
There are slight differences to the way baseball is played in the MLB, however. Japanese baseball is played with different equipment, a smaller ball, smaller playing fields and strike zones. There is a limit on the innings, 12 in the regular season and 15 in play-offs. Likewise, ties are allowed, due to these limits.
This is a broader topic, but baseball is popular in Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. There is a governing body for the entirety of Europe, called the European Baseball Confederation or CEB, which is short for its French name. CEB was formed in 1953. Most countries, with the exception of Italy, had baseball at the start of the 20th century. The UK, Netherlands and Spain had contact with baseball earlier than Italy did.
Baseball is one of the most popular sports on the planet. It is not as popular as some other sports are, but it is something many people love watching and even playing. Outside the United States, baseball is popular in a lot of countries, like Cuba, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Venezuela and the ones mentioned above. Baseball is played almost everywhere!