A baseball team is a group of players organized to take part in a game against another similar group. A team can be organized for a single game (e.g. a pick-up game, or an All-Star Game) or more frequently, it is put together to play a schedule of games against different opponents.
The first baseball teams were made up of amateurs who were members of a sports club that often organized teams in other sports as well. The Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York is generally considered the first organized baseball team, having been formed in 1845 with a constitution, a set roster and other features characteristic of a modern team. The first professional team was the Cincinnati Red Stockings, which began to pay its players in 1869. It would play a schedule of exhibition games against amateur teams, sometimes featuring a few professional players of their own.
Most teams nowadays are part of a league, which organizes a fixed schedule of games and determines the winner of its championship. Teams may also play games against teams outside their league, either as exhibitions or in games that count towards the league's championship.
It normally takes two teams to play a game. However, games can be played by members of a single team divided into two sides for the purpose of that game (these are known as "intra-squad games" and are a feature of the early days of spring training). There have also been attempts at having three-sided games, with each of the three teams involved playing six of the nine innings, but this is not a practice that has caught on.
Teams generally feature the following types of members:
- a front office composed of non-playing personnel, with an owner, executives such as a team president and vice-presidents, a general manager and his assistants;
- a coaching staff including a manager, several coaches and specialized personnel such as batting practice pitchers and bullpen catchers;
- a training staff including an athletic trainer, physical therapists, team doctors and strength and conditioning coaches; and
- a roster of players whose size is determined by league rules.
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- Richard Worth: Baseball Team Names: A Worldwide Dictionary, 1869-2011, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2013. ISBN 978-0-7864-6844-7
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