Major League Baseball, often abbreviated as MLB, is one of the oldest professional sports leagues in North America. It consists of both the American League (AL) and the National League (NL). Each of these leagues features 30 teams, making a total of 30 different teams competing in the MLB.
In terms of attendance, the MLB boasts the highest season attendance out of any and all sports leagues in the world. In 2015 alone, over 75 million spectators were present at MLB games. For more information regarding the schedule of games and how to get MLB tickets, click here.
A History of the MLB
Major League Baseball was officially founded in 1903 after a long period of inter-league rivalries between all the different . The game of baseball itself was supposedly founded in 1839 by Abner Doubleday. Thirty years later, the first professional baseball team was founded in 1869 in Cincinnati, called Cincinnati Red Stockings.
In the early days, there wasn’t any unity or harmony in the game. There were intense rivalries between teams and players, and it was common for players to jump from team to team and even between leagues. Before 1920, baseball was referred to as the dead-ball era. Players struggled to hit home runs and there was even an attempt at fixing the World Series in 1919.
By the time the 1920’s came around, baseball had become a very popular sport. It remained so throughout the Great Depression as well as World War II, and by the early 1950’s, baseball was a national hit.
Things were looking up for baseball during this time. The first person of color, Jackie Robinson, joined the league. Major League Baseball also set its sights on expanding. During this period, many new stadiums were built and artificial turf was introduced. This improved the playing of the sport as it made the balls travel faster, further, and bounce higher.
During this time, the MLB also decided to ban women from signing contracts to play in the league. This policy was effective until 1992.
The Use of Steroids in MLB
One of the biggest scandals to affect MLB has been the use of steroids. In the early years, the original steroid testing policy in the MLB was quite lenient. Penalties were typically short suspensions from games and players were tested once a year.
That all changed with the publication of the Mitchell Report in 2007. The report brought to light the extensive use of steroids and performance enhancing drugs in professional baseball. In the report, there were accusations leveled against at least one player from each of the teams in the MLB.
Following this report, the drug testing policies and punishments in the MLB were all revised. Currently, if a player tests positive for using a performance enhancing drug, they will first receive an 80 game suspension. If caught a second time, they will receive a 162 game suspension and if caught a third time, they will be banned for life from playing in the MLB.
The MLB today is made up of two leagues, the American League (AL) and National League (NL). Each league is divided into three division, east, central, and west, and has fifteen teams.
In the East Division of the American League, there are the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Toronto Blue Jays. In the Central Division, there are the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, and the Minnesota Twins. In the West Division, there are the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, and the Texas Rangers.
In the East Division of the National League, there are the Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Washington Nationals. In the Central Division, there are the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the St. Louis Cardinals. In the West Division, there are the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and the San Francisco Giants.
The League itself is governed by the Major League Baseball Constitution, which is enforced under the oversight and direction of the Commissioner of Baseball.
Each season, the teams will play 162 games and the top five teams from each league will advance to the postseason games. This is a four round tournament which culminates with the World Series. The championship itself is a best of seven series played out by the two top teams to determine the league champions.