Major League Baseball is back for the 2022 season and baseball's biggest stars are set to light up the league once more.
Major League Baseball is America's top professional baseball league and is the oldest professional sports league in the world, tracing its origins back to 1876. The MLB also has the highest attendances of any professional sport league in the world, due to its long seasons. 30 teams form the league, with the World Series title the ultimate prize.
The regular MLB season is 162 games long and spans the spring and summer months before an autumn postseason that can last up to 19 games, depending on results.
The MLB consists of two leagues, the American League and National League, which are then split into three divisions of five each - the East, West and Central. Teams play mainly teams in their own division and league but also play a number of interleague games throughout the season against clubs from the opposite league.
After the 162-game season, the best 12 teams advance to the playoffs, with the best team from each league meeting in the World Series.
Spring training is currently under way for MLB teams and the regular season will begin on 7th April, delayed by a week from its original date by the lockout. The regular season is set to end on 5th October, with the postseason following on from that.
The lockout was a dispute between the players and owners over a new collective bargaining agreement that would dictate the rules of the game and the way money was divided up.
Players and clubs could not conduct any baseball activities during the lockout, for example no team could sign players or organise training sessions.
An agreement was finally reached between the players union and the owners on 10th March, allowing baseball to get back under way.
As a result of the new agreement the playoffs have been expanded to include 12 teams, with the National League also agreeing to adopt the designated hitter, meaning pitchers will no longer have a spot in the batting line-up.
MLB is shown on BT Sport throughout the season, they show roughly up to 12 games a week and the full postseason schedule. MLB has also signed a deal with Apple+ this season, they will show Friday Night Baseball doubleheaders throughout the season. MLB.tv is also available to purchase and allows the viewer to watch every single game of the season.
The Atlanta Braves won the 2021 World Series, beating the Houston Astros 4-2. The Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship game before they secured their first World Series title since 1995.
Jorge Soler hit three vital home runs in the series, each time giving the Braves the lead in a game that they did not surrender, he took home World Series MVP as a result.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are 9/2 to win the 2022 World Series. The 2020 champions fell just short last year and signed one of the biggest free agents in the off season, Freddie Freeman. The first baseman was a key part of the Atlanta Braves side that took the crown last year.
The Toronto Blue Jays, priced at 8/1, have spent big on pitching to supplement their talented young batting line-up.
The beaten World Series finalists from last year, the Houston Astros, are 9/1 but have lost key player Carlos Correa in free agency.
The Braves are 13/1 to win back-to-back World Series.
MLB hands out an MVP award each year to the best player from each league, as well as a Cy Young award for the best pitcher in each league.
Philadelphia Phillies' outfielder Bryce Harper was the National League MVP while a two-way player, meaning he both hits and pitches, Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels took home the award in the American League.
The Toronto Blue Jays' Robbie Ray was the Cy Young award winner for the American League while the Milwaukee Brewers' Corbin Burnes won the title in the National League.
The New York Yankees are by far the most successful team in MLB history, winning 27 World Series titles, the St Louis Cardinals are a distant second with 11.
The Yankees were extraordinarily successful in the past, winning four titles in a row in the 1930s and five consecutive in the 1950s. However, New York has not won a title since 2009.
In the last 10 years, only two teams have won multiple World Series titles, with the San Francisco Giants taking the crown in 2012 and 2014 and the Boston Red Sox coming out victorious in 2013 and 2018.
MLB games are primarily played in teams' home cities but the league has branched out, playing regular season games in Mexico, Japan and Australia. In 2019 the first ever MLB games in Europe took place at the London Stadium, the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox in both encounters.