July 31, 2015

IF DOCK ELLIS HAD BEEN ABNER DOUBLEDAY:

What Finland Can Teach America About Baseball (BRIAN COSTA, July 9, 2015, WSJ)


It is called pes├Ąpallo, an obscure version of baseball that is little known outside the Finnish countryside. And for anyone who has ever grumbled about the plodding pace of play in North America, it offers something previously unimaginable: baseball without wasted time.

Tired of pitchers ambling around the mound? In Finland, there is no mound. Pitchers stand beside the hitter and toss the ball vertically over the plate.

Falling asleep waiting for the next batted ball? In Finland, hitters put nearly every pitch in play, sending fielders scampering in every direction. Players aren't allowed to call for time between plays or pitches.

Seen enough late-inning pitching changes? In Finland, there are no relievers. The typical pitcher throws every inning of every game, all season long.

And those are only some of the quirks of a game that includes a zigzag base path, a rectangular outfield, trios of designated hitters called jokers and managers whose primary mode of communication resembles the feathers of a peacock.

"If you dropped acid and decided to go make baseball, this is what you would end up with," said Andy Johnson, a Minnesota Twins scout based in Norway.

Posted by at July 31, 2015 2:02 PM
  

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