Wiffle ball

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A Wiffle bat and ball Wiffle bat and ball.jpg
A Wiffle bat and ball

The game of Wiffle ball is a variation of baseball. [1] The Wiffle ball is designed for indoor or outdoor play in confined areas. The game is played using a perforated, light-weight, resilient plastic ball and a long, typically yellow, plastic bat. [1]

Contents

History

Miniature versions of baseball have been played for decades, including stickball, improvised by children, using everything from rolled up socks to tennis balls. The ball most commonly used in the game was invented by David N. Mullany at his home in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1953 [2] when he designed a ball that curved easily for his 12-year-old son. It was named when his son and his friends would refer to a strikeout as a "[[wiktionary::whiff|whiff]]". The Wiffle Ball is about the same size as a regulation baseball, but is hollow, lightweight, of resilient plastic, and no more than 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. One half is perforated with eight .75-inch (19 mm) oblong holes; the other half is non-perforated. This construction allows pitchers to throw a tremendous variety of curveballs and risers.[ citation needed ]

In April 2011, the government of the State of New York proclaimed that wiffle ball, as well as kickball, freeze tag and dodgeball were a "significant risk of injury" for children, and declared that any summer camp program that included two or more of such activities would be subject to government regulation. [3] The story became a frequent source of ridicule and amusement, with Parenting.com sarcastically commenting, "According to new legislation introduced in New York State, to survive classic schoolyard games like capture the flag is to cheat death." [4] Wiffle ball executives originally thought the order was a joke. The company has never been sued over safety issues in its 50+ year history. [5] The disapproval of people from across the nation pressured the New York legislature to remove wiffle ball and other entries such as archery and scuba diving from the list of high-risk activities, that require state government oversight. [6]

Game

Wiffle ball being played in a park Game of wiffleball.jpg
Wiffle ball being played in a park

The game became popular nationwide by the 1960s, [7] and is played in backyards, on city streets, and on beaches. The game is similar to baseball, and is designed for 2–10 players. A single game of Wiffle ball consists of 7 innings or 60 minutes, whichever is earlier. [8] [9]

A wiffle ball, showing the perforated half, which allows for easy curvature while pitching. Wiffle ball.jpg
A wiffle ball, showing the perforated half, which allows for easy curvature while pitching.

Tournaments

Tournaments have been the driving force in modern wiffle ball and have been held in the United States and Europe since 1977. That year, Rick Ferroli began holding tournaments in his backyard tribute to Fenway Park in Hanover, Massachusetts. [10] In 1980, the World Wiffle Ball Championship was established in Mishawaka, Indiana by Jim Bottorff and Larry Grau. With the explosion of the Internet in the 1990s, there are now hundreds of Wiffle ball tournaments played in the United States, most in the same place every year, with a few tournament "circuits". The World Wiffle Ball Championship remains the oldest tournament in the nation, having moved to the Chicago suburbs in 2013, after introducing regional stops over three decades in Baltimore; Los Angeles; Indianapolis; Eugene, Oregon; and Barcelona, Spain. [11] The tournament is featured at #27 in the book, "101 Baseball Places to Visit Before You Strike Out." [12]

There is a national fast pitch tournament every summer held in Morenci, Michigan as well. This tournament determines which league is the best in the country. It is called the NWLA Tournament. [13]

The first United Wiffle National Championship Tournament was held at PeoplesBank Park in York, Pennsylvania in 2020. [14]

Fields

Some wiffle ball players have built fields to resemble major league ballparks. Thomas P. Hannon, Jr. authored a book, Backyard Ball, on his experiences building a smaller version of Ebbets Field. Patrick M. O'Connor wrote a book, Little Fenway, about building his versions of Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. [15] But not all wiffle ball fields have been modeled from major league ball parks. Some have created original fields, Strawberry Field in Encino, California being the most exquisite. Rick Messina spent over $700,000 constructing Strawberry Field, which features lights for night games, bleachers, and a press box. [16] He also converted a neighboring house into a clubhouse/pub. [17]

Building fields can lead to controversy and legal issues. In 2008, The New York Times published an article about Greenwich, Connecticut teenagers who were forced by the city to tear down a wiffle ball field they had built because of neighbor complaints. [18]

In his 2003 book The Complete Far Side , cartoonist Gary Larson reproduces a letter he received after including a "wiffle swatter" in his cartoon. The letter contains language from Wiffle Ball Incorporated's attorneys: "In the future, when you use the brand name WIFFLE, the entire brand should be capitalized, and it should only be used in reference to a product currently manufactured by The Wiffle Ball, Inc." [19] [20] In 2009, video game developer Skyworks Technologies released a game based on Wiffle ball, simply titled Wiffle Ball . [21]

In science, it is frequently used by marine biologists as a size reference in photos to measure corals and other objects. [22] [23]

National Champions

Fast Pitch Wiffle Ball Champions
YearWinnerRunner-UpTournamentLocation
1989J. Murphy OriolesHanover PiratesWorld Wiffle Ball Association
1990Zoo CrewWorld Wiffle Ball Association
1991Zoo Crew (2)OrangemenWorld Wiffle Ball Association
1992OrangemenTrenton MilmenWorld Wiffle Ball Association
1993No Tournament
1994No Tournament
1995Team TrentonBechtold BombersNorth American Wiffle Ball Championship
1996Team Trenton (2)Bechtold Bombers (2)North American Wiffle Ball Championship
1997Team Trenton (3)Georgia LongshotzNorth American Wiffle Ball Championship
1998Brown HornetsDoomWiffle Up! World Series
1999Tri-State TerrorDoom (2)Wiffle Up! World Series
2000Tri-State Terror (2)Doom (3)Wiffle Up! World Series
2001A-BrosLakeside KingsUSPPBA
2002VipersState of MindUSPPBA
2003Vipers (2)ShockersFast Plastic
2004SwingersIn The BoxFast Plastic Cedar Park, Texas
2005In The BoxGunnersFast Plastic
2006RookiesCCXFast Plastic
2007GSWNY KnightsFast Plastic
2008603 All-StarsRemember the NameFast Plastic
2009Phenoms603 All-StarsFast Plastic
2010Usual Suspects603 All-Stars (2)Goldenstick Wiffle Ball League
2011DoomUsual SuspectsGoldenstick Wiffle Ball League
2012Doom603 All-Stars (3)Goldenstick Wiffle Ball League
2013Blue RazrsState of Mind (2)Goldenstick Wiffle Ball League
2014Blue Razrs (2)The UGoldenstick Wiffle Ball League
2015603 All-Stars (2)Dread the RedGoldenstick Wiffle Ball League
2016No Tournament
2017C4Remember the RookiesFast Plastic
2018C4 (2)PhenomsFast Plastic
2019C4 (3)Phenoms (2)Fast PlasticBrushy Creek Sports Complex; Cedar Park, Texas
2020Usual Suspects (2)Black Dog Country ClubUnited Wiffle Ball PeoplesBank Park; York, Pennsylvania
2021October 22-24, 2021United Wiffle BallPeoplesBank Park; York, Pennsylvania
National Wiffle League Association National Champions
YearWinnerRunner-UpLocation
2012OCWA Freaky FranchiseTampa Bay Wiffle Ball Lightning Columbus, Ohio
2013Tampa Bay Wiffle Ball LightningOCWA Freaky Franchise Dublin, Ohio
2014WSEM DadsTampa Bay Wiffle Ball Lightning (2) Dublin, Ohio
2015WSEM Dads (2)OCWA Freaky Franchise (2) Dublin, Ohio
2016OCWA Freaky Franchise (2)SWBL Cardinals Dublin, Ohio
2017WSEM Dads (3)SWBL Cardinals (2) Morenci, Michigan
2018WILL WavesGBL Legends Morenci, Michigan
2019AWAA Blue KamikazeesGBL Legends (2) Morenci, Michigan
2020HRL Dong ShowKWL Keggers Canonsburg, Pennsylvania (originally awarded to Indianapolis)
2021September 17-19, 2021 Indianapolis, Indiana

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References

  1. 1 2 "The Wiffle Ball, Inc. - A Brief History". www.wiffle.com.
  2. "What's 50, Curvy And Full of Air?; It's the Wiffle Ball, Still Popular, Holes and All". The New York Times . August 14, 2003. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  3. Blain, Glenn (April 19, 2011). "Classic kids games like kickball deemed "unsafe" by state in effort to increase summer camp regulation – New York Daily News". Articles.nydailynews.com. Archived from the original on December 24, 2011. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  4. "Playground Games Deemed Unsafe for Kids". Parenting.com. April 20, 2011. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  5. Blain, Glenn (April 20, 2011). "Wiffle Ball creators call scrapped New York state listing of backyard game as dangerous 'ridiculous' – New York Daily News". Articles.nydailynews.com. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  6. "State Officials Back Off Regulating Freeze Tag, Kids' Games". NBC New York. April 19, 2011. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
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  8. "Wiffle Ball Rules & Field Dimensions".
  9. "The Wiffle Ball, Inc. – A Brief History". www.wiffle.com. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  10. "Wiffleball: A Connecticut invention that keeps giving back".
  11. "World Wiffle Ball Championship".
  12. "101 Baseball Places to Visit Before You Strike Out".
  13. "Official Site of the NWLA Tournament". NWLA Tournament. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  14. "United Wiffleball". United Wiffleball. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  15. "Official Site of the Little Fenway Wiffle Ball Field Located in Jericho, VT". Little Fenway. Archived from the original on February 2, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  16. "Wiffle Ball Hits Home – Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. October 11, 2000. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  17. Wiffle Ball: The Ultimate Guide by Michael Hermann, pages 107–110
  18. Peter Applebome (July 10, 2008). "Our Towns – Build a Wiffle Ball Field and Lawyers Will Come". The New York Times. Greenwich, Connecticut. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  19. "How the Wiffle Ball Came to Be".
  20. Larson, Gary (2003). The Complete Far Side . 2. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 71. ISBN   0-7407-2113-5.
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  22. "Live Webcams: Scientists Studying Corals Damaged by Oil in the Gulf of Mexico". Penn State Science. 25 June 2014.
  23. "PHOTOS & VIDEO". Nautilus Live. Retrieved 30 April 2015.