Pesäpallo is a Finnish variation of baseball developed by Lauri “Tahko” Pihkala in Finland around 1920. It’s based on the basic of baseball but pesäpallo it’s a much faster, entertaining and a more tactical sport, that can be played by everyone. Pesäpallo is the national sport of Finland but is also played in many other countries such as Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Japan and Canada.
Pesäpallo vs. Baseball
Most significant differences:
- Because battling is easer, there’s a back line on the field, if a fly ball crosses the line before hitting the ground counts as a foul ball.
- A batter’s box is removed and the home plate serves as a pitching plate, which is round with a diameter of 60 cm.
- Pitches are lifted straight upwards from above the pitching plate, and the batter hits the ball when it drops down. There is no catcher; the ball hitting the pitching plate is a miss.
- The strike zone is rather different, the ball is good if it was lifted at least one meter above the heads and it hits the pitching plate.
- Walking requires fewer invalid pitches.
- Catching a ball in flight is not an automatic out, but forces all runners not on a base to return to home base. To put a runner out the ball must be thrown to base before runner gets there.
- The batter is not required to run after hitting the ball on his first or second strike.
- The bases are not in a diamond shape, players have to ‘zig zag’ the court.
- The distance between bases vay, the shortest is the distance between home base and first base, the longest is between third base and home base.
Official balls (approved by Pesäpalloliitto) have a circumference between 215 and 225 mm. The weight varies by series:
- The weight of a men’s ball is between 155 and 165 g.
- The weight of a women’s ball is between 130 and 140 g.
- The weight of a children’s ball is between 90 and 100 g.
The bat is a round, tapered cylinder. They are made of a mixture of glass fibres and carbon fibres, previously they were made of wood.
The maximum length of a bat is 100 cm (90 cm for children).
A typical bat weights between 580 and 620 grams. Junior players use bats that weight less than 400 grams.
Is used to ease catching the ball when playing a defensive inning. The glove is made of leather or different kinds of synthetic fibers on the back side. The inside of the glove is made of thick leather. Main differences between gloves lie in the amount and quality of paddings, the thickness of the leather, the size of the glove and its shaping.
A protective helmet must be used in official games played with the men’s ball. The pitcher and the outfielders are not required to wear a helmet, but other fielders need to wear helmets.
In official games played with the women’s ball all infielders, the batter and the runners must wear the helmet.
The use of spikes is not required to play pesäpallo.However, but they do help the player especially when playing on modern artificial grass fields.