Every now and then, an idea comes along that seems so fresh and carries so much potential, it can inspire an energy within fans that appears obsessive and off-putting to outsiders. “Star Trek,” “Hamilton,” “Homestuck,” “Rick and Morty” and “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” are a few examples. I want to announce that I am unapologetically jumping head-first into the ranks of these nerds, and inviting everyone to follow me; for the past month, I have not been able to shut up about “Blaseball.”
Technically, “Blaseball” is a browser game, but it plays more like an alternate reality game. At its core, it is a surreal and absurdist take on fantasy baseball. Gameplay consists of choosing a team, betting on games and choosing players to idolize in order to get in-game currency, which can be spent on votes. The first season began on July 20. During a season of “Blaseball,” which lasts only a week, a new game is played every hour, 24 hours a day. After championship games take place on Sundays, there is usually a cutscene where the game’s ongoing story progresses, and then new decrees are voted on.
The decrees change the rules for future seasons in a number of ways, and the effects aren’t always obvious before a decree has been passed. One option that has appeared gave a particular team an extra base to run around, while another would have changed every player’s blood type to grass; it’s unclear what effect this would actually have had on the game. The overarching plot involves antagonistic baseball gods, which so far include a peanut, a squid and a coin, who nobody knows much about as of yet. Several fan creations have also made their way into the game’s lore, such as the lore surrounding Tillman Henderson, of the Charleston Shoe Thieves, who is terrible and annoying.
With so many of us stuck inside our homes during the pandemic, fans have had plenty of free time to contribute. I am very online and have seen my share of budding internet fandoms, but I can count on one finger the amount of times I have seen a fanbase create this level of content this early on. Fans of my team, the Seattle Garages, have decided to collectively start releasing music albums on Bandcamp and Spotify as “The Garages,” who currently boast 14 complete albums. I’ve even started writing a song myself, about Garages pitcher Lenny Marijuana.
I love silly and extreme fictional versions of actual sports, from “Rocket League” to “Space Jam” to WWE, so “Blaseball” is definitely up my alley, but it is also one of the most strange and interesting concepts I have encountered on the internet so far, which is saying quite a lot. I will honestly be a little surprised if “Blaseball” cosplay isn’t the hot new trend when comic and anime conventions start back up. It’s only going to get bigger from here.
Regular games are currently in a hiatus between seasons 11 and 12 while more content is being added by the development team, but there is an ongoing exhibition tournament called The Coffee Cup, which has divided players into special teams based on their coffee preferences, so anyone looking to check out “Blaseball” is encouraged to tune in to blaseball.com at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, December 8 for the cup championship between Inter Xpresso and the Flat White Ex-Blaseball Club.