pesäpallo

Pesäpallo (; , both names 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 Finland 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). The game is similar to brännboll, rounders, baseball and lapta. 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.