Archive for December, 2006

Pesäpallo (Or Finnish Minutia)

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Keeping with the winter theme and the long stretch between pitches we’ll pull away from the holidays and focus on the wonders that the game brings to those encumbered by the cold or in other cases as we’ll see distance from the origins the baseball we watch here in the US of A.

First let’s take a look at an attempt to transfer the game to a different surface as did a group of folks in Cleveland tried way back in 1920.

Judging by the popularity of that form of the game these days I’ll venture that it didn’t catch on, which in retrospect is too bad, as it probably would have helped heighten the knowledge of global warming.

Moving on let’s take a look at what I find to be a fascinating version of the game of baseball in the Finnish game of Pesäpallo.

Pesäpallo, a literal translation of baseball, combines many traits of baseball and older Finnish ball games. Pesäpallo was introduced to Finland in 1922 by Lauri “Wheatstone” Pihkala (Finland’s Abner Doubleday) after he visited the U.S. in 1907. Some call it the national sport of Finland, it is often found in other countries that have a larger then usual population of Finns.

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Kitten Ball

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

“Let us go forth awhile, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms… The game of ball is glorious.”

Walt Whitman

The winter in the Pacific Northwest is one of short days and long nights. It’s a lot like Michigan, just not as cold. In Michigan the winters were spent skating on lakes and man made rinks in friends back yards, here in the PNW the basketball courts are often covered with a roof to allow year round play in the rain.

The industrial revolution not only brought the world an array of new consumer and manufacturing items but it brought the need for exercise in an increasingly mechanized world. This need for exercise is best exemplified by the invention of basketball and volleyball in Massachusetts in the 1890’s. Of course at the time the passion of the nation was on one ballgame and it had nothing to do with a pig or a scrimmage. It was baseball of course that held the pulse of the sporting mad Americans in the crowded and empty cities that dotted the landscape.  (more…)