Baseball Turns 140 Today: Here’s How it Changed

A baseball player taking a swing circa 1913. Harris & Ewing Collection/ Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Rewind 140 years ago to April 22, 1876, and picture yourself planted at the first National League Baseball game, which pinned eternal East Coast city rivals the Boston Red Stockings (currently the Atlanta Braves, somehow) against the Philadelphia Athletics (who became the Oakland A's). As TIME explains, it took almost 100 years before the game, which took place in Philadelphia, was recognized as the birth of Major League Baseball. But hey, our country was born there, too, a century before, and that also took a bit of disagreement until everything was ironed out.

And much has certainly changed since that fateful first pitch was thrown. Take a moment today to consider some of the major changes from the good ole days. Now we've got replays to challenge umpires' decisions; enormous sums of money involved in paying players; night games scheduled by TV programmers; less team cohesion thanks to players being free agents (and thus caring more about personal statistics than team success); the inclusion of all races. Oh, and the World Series no longer sees the light of day. Well, at least that's one more excuse to crank open a classic American beer