Pesapallo is the national sport of Finland. It's the national game of Finland, but when you think Finland you think hockey not baseball. But in the 1920s, Lauri Pihkala adapted local bat and ball games into a Finnish version of baseball after visiting the states and refining it a bit.
Since then, there have been ups and downs including a match fixing scandal in the 90s that resulted in teams being relegated almost out of existence and the league taking a major PR hit.
The Superpesis is the major league and there's one for both men & women, but unlike complainers who hate the WNBA because the NBA subsidizes it, the men's and women's Superpesis don't even have the same teams, the women's game just took root on its own and is popular in its own right.
What a novel concept, right?
The basics of the game are the same — two teams of nine players, but each team gets three DHs called jokers can bat anywhere in the order they want. If the ball goes out of the park like in our baseball, it's not a home run, but a strike. Batters get three pitches to hit and even if you strike out, you can still try to run to first anyway.
The games are divided into two four-inning sets (think tennis) and if the teams split these sets, they play a "Super Inning" (hence the name Superpesis) and if they're tied after that, some kind of hitting content ensues but not sure what that entails.
As you can see, the bases aren't lined up the same way. To be honest, there's so little stuff in English about the sport online that we need to find a Finnish person who speaks English and likes Pesapallo (and preferably knows the differences between Finnish baseball and american baseball) to help translate all of the questions I have about Pesapallo.
- Are there statistics?
- Is it true that a "home run" is only a triple, but that after you hit it, you don't have to run home, that you stay on third before going home? Do you score two runs then?
- What's the deal with the Finnish Home Run king Sami Haapakoski of Vimpelin Veto who I've adopted as my favorite team. Has he really hit 648 home runs?
You can watch games after they've broadcast, which means this league is a step up from rooting for most of your European soccer teams where you have to pay to watch their games — though you can't stream these so maybe not. Same with the women's league. The teams are all over social media in a lot of cases, have fan stores to get stuff and so, it's basically your new obsession.
Catch (Finnish) baseball fever!