In a world where the sport of baseball is all but extinct, what do you do when you need to wear the perfect outfit to your next meeting?
You don’t wear a baseball hat.
That’s because the sport is too big for a baseball fan to wear a hat.
In fact, the last time baseball players went to the field wearing baseball hats, in 1947, it was the first time they wore a baseball cap, not baseball caps.
“You could go out in the street, and you could go to a baseball game and you would get into a good brawl,” says James Kocher, a professional baseball player and broadcaster from Atlanta.
“So if you want to go out to a game wearing a baseball, you better have your hat on.”
The game has changed, but baseball has not.
And baseball fans aren’t just wearing baseball caps anymore.
Today, most people in Japan, Korea and China wear baseball caps, and most sports fans in the West, too.
Baseball fans in Japan are a very specific type of fan.
They are baseball haters.
“They are like the type of fans that like baseball,” says Masaki Ohara, a former Japanese professional baseball pitcher who now runs the Japanese Baseball Federation’s website.
They like baseball because they love the game.
“People think that if you’re a baseball guy, you must love the sport,” says Mr Ohara.
“But baseball is like a love story.
It’s a passion, it’s a love that’s like a life-long passion.”
In the late 1800s, Japan’s national team was led by the best pitcher in baseball history, Masahiro Tanaka.
“I think baseball fans in Tokyo are really passionate, they really want to see their teams win,” says Ms Ohara’s husband, who works in a sports retail chain.
“When I go to baseball games, I see fans that are in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and they’re all wearing baseball shirts.
In Japan, there are now more than 150 baseball clubs. “
The people in Tokyo, it seems like the people who really love baseball are the ones who go to the games.”
In Japan, there are now more than 150 baseball clubs.
“Baseball is really a love affair in Japan,” says Dr Ohara of the Japan Baseball Association.
“It’s a sport that’s so much loved, that people feel the need to follow the game.”
That’s why the country is in a deep funk.
There is no longer any interest in baseball, and the country has lost its best pitcher, Kazuhiro Matsui, to a heart attack in March.
“In baseball, we’ve lost Masahito, and we’ve also lost many of the players who were so close to him,” says Kazuhi Takayama, a baseball historian and director of the Japanese Association of Baseball History and Culture.
“This is a very important time.
Baseball is losing its best players, and its not going to come back.”
The popularity of baseball has fallen from its peak in the early 20th century.
In 1900, Japanese baseball was the fourth-biggest sports sport in the world behind baseball, rugby and rugby union.
In the first five years of the 20th Century, the country produced just 0.3% of the world’s population, according to the Baseball Federation.
The numbers have since been reversed.
The World Baseball Classic is held every four years in Japan.
There are only 12 teams in the tournament.
“There’s only so many baseball players in the country and they all have a passion for baseball,” Dr Oharara says.
“And we have to look after baseball because if baseball goes extinct, we’ll have a huge problem.
We have to put an end to baseball and to the sport.”
Japan has lost about half of its players.
“Every year in Japan there are fewer people playing baseball because there’s not enough players,” says Takayamas, who is also a historian.
“We can’t keep going the way we are now because the number of people playing the game is decreasing.”
Baseball is not just a sport in Japan: it is a lifestyle.
The sport has become a global obsession, with millions of fans worldwide flocking to Tokyo’s Dodger Stadium, the birthplace of the sport.
Even the Japanese National Team is known as the “Hikaru Baseball Club” because of its famous fans.
In Australia, Major League Baseball is the most popular sport.
It was founded in 1919 by an American, Jack Kent Cooke.
Today there are more than 12 million players in Australia, according the Australian Football League.
The popularity is fuelled by the fact that baseball is so much more than just a game.
The game’s history is not only about baseball, but about the history of sport itself.
“A lot of sports in Australia and the world, from cricket to rugby, have a very different history,” says Mark O’Brien