The Texas Rangers and the Arizona Diamondbacks will face off on Friday in the first game of the 2023 World Series. They’ll carry on a 120-year sports tradition in the United States. Predating the Civil War, baseball is considered uniquely American, helping create an identity and culture for a young nation.

Today, 30 Major League Baseball teams and 120 Minor League teams play in the United States and Canada. America’s pastime has gained increasing international appeal, with professional leagues in Japan, Australia, Mexico and beyond.

How has the game endured over the centuries? Grab some peanuts and Cracker Jack, and take a look.

a crowd fills a baseball stadium
While other sports have gained popularity, baseball still fills stadiums like Coors Field in Denver, which has a capacity of more than 50,000. That’s especially true on beautiful summer nights like this one. Dan Peak, Colorado, 2019
people stand for the national anthem at a baseball game
Players and fans, including team mascot Mudonna, stand during the national anthem as military planes perform a flyover at a St. Paul Saints Minor League game. Paul Robertson, Minnesota, 2009
a baseball pitcher throws the ball
A Minor League pitcher for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs shows off his flexibility on the mound. Joseph Sivco, Pennsylvania, 2009

baseball players look out at the pitcher from the dugout
Players in the Washington Nationals dugout enjoy their home-field advantage as the opposing pitcher takes the field. Jennifer Richards, Washington, D.C., 2009
baseball players sit watching the game
A wand-accessorized Barbie backpack adds a touch of femininity to a male-dominated bullpen. Julie Blichmann, Kansas, 2010
fans with baseball gloves anticipate catching a foul ball
Young baseball fans with gloves in tow are prepared to catch any fly balls that might come their way. Walter Rachunok, New Jersey, 2010

a reflection of a baseball field is seen on a baseball players helment
A baseball field and sports fans can be seen in the reflection of a shiny helmet at a Detroit Tigers game. Ryan Plachta, Michigan, 2010
a young baseball player blows a bubble with chewing gum
A young baseball player in the making opts for chewing gum instead of chewing tobacco. Wise choice. Kelly Carter, Ohio, 2009
a black and white team portrait of a baseball team
Members of the Tennessee Association of Vintage Baseball pose for a team photo in Murfreesboro. Vintage baseball follows the rules of the game from 1864. That means no gloves. William Steber, Tennessee, 2021

action in the middle a baseball game
A sparse crowd cheers on the Chicago Cubs at historic Wrigley Field as the players take on the San Diego Padres. William Tucker, Illinois, 2010
a large American flag is displayed on a baseball field
As the All-Star Game opens in Phoenix, a large American flag is unfurled on the field, prompting fans to stand in tribute. Audrey Kanekoa-Madrid, Arizona, 2011
a baseball player warms up
A player casts a shadow in the bullpen as he warms up to take the field. Jamie Arthur, Massachusetts, 2019

a baseball is being autographed
Preparing for the pros, a college player autographs a baseball for young fans of the game. Rachel Bennett, California, 2019
the sun sets over a baseball stadium
The sun sets as players and fans focus on the task at hand: enjoying America’s pastime on a beautiful summer evening. Robert Thompson, Kentucky, 2005

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