- Baseball in the Garden of Eden, A Book ReviewPosted 775 days ago
Wiffle Ball: The Perfect Game
- Updated: March 27, 2010
With Spring Training officially underway and the regular season of baseball right around the corner, I thought this was the perfect time to discuss one of the best games in the entire world: Wiffle ball. It has been a long, long winter for most of us, but just thinking about Wiffle ball gets me ready for the spring.
Wiffle ball has been around since 1953, and many of us will find it hard to believe life existed without it. Wiffle ball takes us back to a simpler time as children when we played for the love of the game and didn’t take score. It reminds us of what it is like to have pure, childish fun and one of the very few things in this world that unites us all.
I can still remember the very first time I picked up a Wiffle bat. I was six years old when my father first placed the plastic bat and ball in my hands. Barely able to hold the bat, my father taught me how to swing and I instantly fell in love with the game of baseball.
Few things have brought a smile to my face quicker than when I watched a child playing wiffle ball with his grandparents on the beach. This little guy was full of energy and didn’t have a care in the world. And to see his grandmother chasing down balls like she was in her 30′s and grabbing her grandson as he ran the bases was quite a site to see. It was a small reminder about what life is all about.
Wiffle ball has created many stories and images just like that one for over 50 years. One of the beauties of Wiffle ball is that it excludes no one. Anyone can play it, from age 5 to 105, black or white, male or female, no matter how athletic or skilled you are. Most of our best memories of Wiffle ball occurred when we were kids, but kids aren’t the only ones who enjoy the game. You can find adult Wiffle ball leagues and tournaments in towns all across America. Whether in a competitive league or a friendly game in the backyard with friends, nobody outgrows Wiffle Ball.
A nice perk to Wiffle ball is that it can literally be played anywhere. In fact, the instructions on the box actually tell you it is “safe anywhere.” That means you can play it on a field, you can play it at the beach, you can play it in the street, and heck, you can even play it indoors. And Wiffle balls and bats are designed so that people are unable to hit them very far, so there is little chasing and even a Major League hitter does not stand at too much of an advantage.
There are no official rules to playing Wiffle ball, and there are an infinite number of ways you can play it. Slow pitch, fast pitch, calling balls and strikes, foul limit or unlimited fouls, one strike and you’re out, home run derby, the list goes on and on. Part of what makes it fun is that the rules in your backyard are almost certainly different from the ones next door.
And don’t overlook another important aspect of Wiffle ball, at least for cheapskates like myself, is that it costs next to nothing to play. The standard Wiffle ball bat costs around five bucks and you can buy wiffle balls for around a dollar each. So for ten bucks you can buy a bat and enough balls to last you for years.
As childish as it might sound, one of the things I look forward to the most when Spring approaches is having the chance to play Wiffle Ball. And I’m not alone. Millions of Wiffle balls are sold every year for a reason. I haven’t met a single person yet who does not enjoy Wiffle ball, and I don’t expect that to change in the near future. Wiffle ball might just be our national pastime.
Editor’s Note: For a great book on the game of Whiffle Ball, please check out Backyard Ball By Thomas P. Hannon, Jr.