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Cindy Fisher
The exact origins of baseball are clouded in mystery, myth and speculation. But for the last century and a half, baseball has been touted as America's favorite pastime. Whether it was invented by Abner Doubleday or just evolved from a variety of bat and ball games brought from England by colonists settling the "new world," the "national game" has formed a permanent niche in American culture today. From coaching base Little League teams to playing pick up games in the field and even in the Major Leagues, Marines too have participated in the baseball experience.

Some, like Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Robert Clemente Walker, have served in the Marine Corps or Marine Corps Reserves and then went on to earn greatness on the playing field. Others such as Jerry Coleman and Hall of Famer Ted Williams, interrupted their baseball careers to serve in the Corps in combat when the nation called.

Like baseball, the antecedents of softball are unclear. The game has been played since the early twentieth century and gained national interest in the United States in the 1930s. For Marines, playing softball can be a serious business, especially at the All Marine level, said Master Sgt. M. Scotty Cobb, the coach for this year's All Marine Men's Softball team.

Semper Fit runs softball leagues on most installations. On Camp Lejuene alone, a base with roughly 45,000 Marines, there are probably 40 to 50 softball teams with about 15 players per team, said Cobb. In addition, most major subordinate commands field a softball team to compete in the Marine Corps Regionals, held on the East and West coasts, and in the Far East.

While the teams compete to win the bragging rights as the best at their regional level, individual players showcase their skills in hopes of invitations to that year's All Marine Trials Softball Camp.

Cindy Fisher

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