The national sport of Finland is Pesäpallo. The game, which is broadly based on the baseball game played in the U.S, has the influence of some local games played in the country. The game was first introduced, developed, and refined by Lauri “Tahko” Pihkala between the period 1910 to 1920. The game has retained most of the rules framed in the beginning and is still popular not only in Finland, but also played in Germany, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, and some parts of Canada.
The game’s popularity was such that it was included as an invitation game in the Summer Olympic Games held in Helsinki during the year 1952.
Though broadly based on the baseball game, it is the variation with the normal baseball game that makes it all the more interesting and popular.
In normal baseball, as most of you know, if a player hits the ball very hard such that it crosses the fly line on the back, it would definitely result in a home run for the batting team. But, in Pesäpallo, a ball hit across the fly line or the back line would be considered as a foul.
In this game, each team has 12 players – 9 playing in the field and 3 others as jokers. One team will take up batting while the other team does the defending.
In Pesäpallo, the ball hit by a batter should invariably bounce for the first time in the playing area for that strike to be considered normal and fair. This is a major variation as against the normal baseball.
Another interesting aspect of this game, Pesäpallo, is that of koppi. In this game, a batting player will not be declared out if the opponent catches the ball in the air. Instead, he will be declared out only when he is caught in the middle of the ground while attempting to take a run and could not complete the run.
Thus, you can visualize the game as a fast paced one where the time between the first pitch of the ball in the playing area and the throw by the defender to the base is what a batter should take to complete the run.
If a player completes one home run, the other players, who were declared out, can bat again.