2Pesäpallo literally meaning "nest ball", also referred to as "Finnish baseball") is a fast-moving bat-and-ball sport that is quite often referred to as the national sport of Finlad and has some presence in other countries, such as Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, and Northern Ontario in Canada (Both Canada and Australia have high Scandinavian populations).Pesäpallo is a combination of traditional ball-batting team games and North American baseball. The game was first developed by Lauri "Tahko" Pihkala in the 1920s. Pesäpallo has changed with the times and grown in popularity.The basic idea of pesäpallo is simple. One team tries to score by hitting the ball and running through the bases, the other team tries to defend by catching the ball and putting the runners out. The most important difference between pesäpallo and baseball is that the ball is pitched vertically which makes hitting the ball, as well as controlling the power and direction of the hit, much easier. This gives the offensive game more variety, speed and tactical aspects compared to baseball. The fielding team is forced to counter the batter’s choices with defensive schemes and anticipation, and the game becomes a mental challenge.The manager has an important role in pesäpallo. He leads his team’s offense by giving signals to the players using a multicolored fan. The defensive team play is directed by the manager’s orders and hand signals by the fielders.Pesäpallo was a demonstration sport at the 1952 Summer Olympics, held in Helsinki, Finland.
3RulesA modern competition game is played in two periods of four innings each. A period is won by the team which scores more runs in its offensive half-innings. If the periods are tied, there will be an extra inning and after that, if needed, a special scoring contest similar to a penalty shoot-out where both teams try to bring players home from the third base.During an inning both teams take turns playing offense (batting) and defense (fielding).The defensive team has nine players on the field. The offensive team can use three jokers (designated hitters) during one half-inning in addition to the nine players in the regular batting order. The offensive team can continue batting until three players have been put out or one round of the batting order has been completed without at least two runs scored.The batter and the pitcher face each other in the home base, on opposite sides of the circular plate. The pitch is delivered by throwing the ball directly upwards above the plate, to a height of at least 1 meter over the head of the pitcher.The batter has three strikes available on his turn at bat. A fair hit does not force him to advance; he can use all three strikes at bat before he becomes a runner. A pitch counts as a strike if the batter takes a swing at the ball or if the umpire rules the pitch legal. If the pitcher delivers a bad pitch (ball), the batter is granted a walk to the first base only if the field is empty. If there are runners on the field, the point runner is granted a walk to the next base for the second bad pitch. A pitch is ruled bad if the ball does not fall on the plate, if the pitch is too low, or if the pitcher commits a violation.A hit is foul if the ball first touches the field outside of the boundaries. The batter or the runners cannot advance on a foul hit. If the fielders get control of the ball before it touches the field, the hit is a catch, and all runners who tried to advance on that play are caught. Players who have been caught are removed from the field, but they do not count as outs.After the batter becomes a runner, he must try to advance safely to the first base. The runner reaches safety on a base by touching the base area before the ball is thrown to a fielder in the base. If the ball gets to the base first, the runner is put out and removed from the field. The batter is also put out if his third strike is foul hit. A runner on a base is forced to advance if the next runner reaches safety on the same base.The offensive team scores a run when a runner returns safely to the home base after advancing safely through all three field bases. If a batter advances to the third base on his own fair hit, he scores a home run. He can then stay on the third base and try to score again as a regular runner by reaching the home base on a later play.
4EquipmentHelmet.Each player is required to wear a helmet when playing in an offensive inning. If a player sets at bat without a helmet an out can be marked for the team. The pitcher and the outfielders are not required to wear a helmet, but other fielders need to wear helmets.Glove.The glove is used to ease catching the ball when playing a defensive inning. The glove used in pesäpallo differs from the one used in baseball both in characteristics and in appearance, resembling more a hockey goalkeeper's glove . The glove is made of leather although some manufacturers use different kinds of synthetic fibers on the back side. The inside of the glove is always made of thick leather and the main differences between gloves lie in the amount and quality of padding, the thickness of the leather, the size of the glove and its shaping.The ball is caught into the glove's cup between the thumb and the index finger. Sometimes, however, the ball hits the palm and a properly designed glove can prevent injuries.Other devices to catch the ball are not allowed.
5EquipmentBatThe bat is a round, tapered cylinder. Previously the bats used in pesäpallo were made of wood. These were fairly brittle and did not last very long when used to hit such a heavy ball. Now, wooden bats are only used in children's games and the bats used in adult's games are made of a mixture of glass fiber and carbon fiber.The biggest differences between bats lie in the weight, center of gravity, flexibility and length. The maximum length of the bat is 100 centimeters. When using a children's ball the maximum length of the bat is 90 centimeters.The weight of the bat is considered to be its most important property. A typical bat used in top competitions weighs between 580 and 620 grams. The heaviest bats weigh more than 650 grams but these are only used by strong players like batting jokers. Junior players typically use bats that weigh less than 400 grams. The usual diameter for the bat's hitting point is 56 millimeters.SpikesThe use of spiked shoes—like in running—is not required to play pesäpallo. However, they do help the player substantially in rapid situations, especially when playing on modern artificial grass fields which are very slippery to ordinary sport shoes. The artificial turf differs from what is used in football fields.There are only a few manufacturers producing spikes designed for pesäpallo and many players use normal running spikes. Some shoes have also spikes at the heel but mostly spikes are positioned under the ball of the foot. Usually there are seven spikes in a shoe and they are 3– 15 millimeters long. When playing on artificial turf the maximum length of spikes is 6 millimeters.BallThe ball used in pesäpallo is yellow and has a circumference of 21.60–22.20 centimeters. The weight of the ball varies by series:Men's ball 160–165 gramsWomen's ball 135–140 gramsJunior ball 95–100 grams
6CompetingThe Finnish championship series is known as Superpesis. Both men and women compete in their own series.A World Cup is played internationally every three years. In 2006 the fifth World Cup was played in Munich, Germany. Participant countries included Australia, Finland, Germany and Sweden. The sixth World Cup took place from July 8–11, 2009 in Pori, Finland, with teams from Australia, Finland, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. The seventh World Cup is scheduled for October 8–13, 2012 on the Gold Coast of Australia. In addition to the five teams which had competed in 2009, it is thought that Japan and Estonia may also participate in 2012.