Finland put their own spin on baseball by inventing the sport Pesäpallo. It's a combination of baseball, cricket, soft toss and river diving. Yeah, the last one caught me off guard, too. Playing the outfield in Pesäpallo requires you to wear swim trunks because there's a good chance you'll have to get wet at some point. Why? Because the arena they play in, Saarikenttä, which translates to "island stadium", is surrounded by a river, with the most prominent access point living in right field.
Now, in American baseball, there are foul balls and ground rule doubles. But, the Finnish must love to see people layout into the water because those don't exist in Pesäpallo. No, balls that go into the river are live. Whoever designed Saarikenttä may be the biggest troll in sports history. "You know what, Pesäpallo could use a Green Monster...but why waste the money building one when nature has gifted us a river? Yes, this is the way."
Moving on, a play from a Pesäpallo game this week made waves on the Internet because many of us were exposed to the right-field river for the first time.
The River Dive Heard Around the World
Why would you put a river there? pic.twitter.com/daA2gsVLmP
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) July 12, 2022
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We're live from the "Superpesis" - the World Series of Pesäpallo. The right fielder chases a chopper down the line and dives for the ball as it descends into the river. For the split second he's out of frame, you're asking yourself where the hell he went. But, luckily for us, there's a river cam that shows the Finnish baseball player sliding into the water head first. The fact there's a river cam is incredible. How often do river dives happen for the broadcast to deem it worth their while to set up a camera there? Quite a bit apparently! The league had enough footage to create a montage of river dives from the 2015 season.
Yeah, this sport wasn't wild enough. It needed the potential for a player to snap their neck for it to be exciting.
My mind is running at 100 miles per hour right now. Why would you not hit it in the river every single time if you were on offense? Making the right fielder climb up and down and be miserable in his soaked uniform. Then we get to the point where teams create a shift and place a guy in the river. He can't see what's going on at all. It's just him in the river, vibing.
I'm now intrigued by the idea of adding natural hazards to sports other than golf. Plant some trees down the third baseline. Add a bunker to midfield of the gridiron. Put a coy pond underneath the basket. Sure, the probability of injuries would increase by 1000%, but in a world where ratings are constantly declining (Yes, this is COMPLETELY true), Pesäpallo shows us that bringing nature into the game attracts eyeballs.
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