First of all, blaseball is not a sport. It's a "splort," and there are some important distinctions. First of all, none of the players, nor the splort itself, are, technically real. Second of all, unlike real-world sports, in splorts, anything can happen. And it often does.
Blaseball is being described as a "cultural event," and is getting a lot of buzz as one of the best games of the year. It's simple, but highly interactive, and a lot of the popularity is driven by the fans. So what, exactly, is Blaseball?
In short, Blaseball is a browser game where simulated players from 20 simulated teams play a splort that's kinda like baseball--or at least, it used to be. Each Monday marks the start of a new season, and from Monday to Friday, hundreds of in-game "days" pass, with games being played every day. By the end of Friday, teams play it out for spots in the finals, which take place on Saturday. Players can use virtual currency (it's completely virtual--it can't be bought or sold, so there's no real gambling here) to bet on games throughout the season or to vote on Blessings, Curses, Idols, or other things that are then in effect in the next season. These game play elements aren't the kind you'd see on your average sports field--players can be raised from the dead, have their souls swapped, entire teams can get better at Partying, or have their entire team sent to Hell, such as in the case of the Hellmouth Sunbeams, formerly the Moab Sunbeams.
A lot of what really makes blaseball amazing, however, is how the community comes together to make a story out of these events. The community makes really beautiful art, wikipedia pages, music, and media to go along with every up and down in the Blaseball community. (As always, listen to your local responsible adult and your own common sense when interacting with others online.) And since players vote each week on changes and additions that are made to the game, the community has a lot of control over what happens next.
For example: during Season 6, the top Idols on the Idol leaderboard were Shelled, meaning they were encased in giant peanut shells, on their teams but unable to actually play Blaseball, including fan-favorite player Jessica Telephone. During Season 7, the team the Unlimited Tacos successfully organized the community around a plan they called the Snackrifice, which got all of the Tacos pitchers Shelled, just so everyone could see what would happen if a team no longer had the ability to successfully play the game. Upon starting Season 8, the Tacos found that they now had a Pitching Machine on their roster--one that seems to come with a human soul inside. And that's just a taste of the sort of unique shenanigans you'll find in the splort of Blaseball!
Here at the library, we love bringing attention to completely free, interactive activities, and Blaseball is a really fun video game that's breaking new ground in the world of community-based games. If you'd like to pair your new obsession with Blaseball with some free library resources, we have a few suggestions:
- Creativebug, our free eSource which has in-depth lessons for all sorts of arts and crafts (in case you want to make Blaseball art)
- Lynda, another eSource full of fun classes and lessons, including "The Data Science of Gaming and Fantasy Sports," teaching statistics and probability in the context of fantasy sports
- Issues and Controversies, where you can learn more about the history of real-world gambling, why people support or oppose it, as well as issues in real-world sports
- Fantasy Sports Volume 1 by Frank Osma, a comic book where the protagonists must compete in a basketball game against a mummy
- the rest of our online catalog for more fictional sports stories, both in print and digital formats!
All images in this article are taken from the public Blaseball Wiki; artists are as follows: MLeeLunsford, Farrell Seagull card; Jadey, a user on the Blaseball Discord, for the Sunbeams logo; and Telekeys, Jessica Telephone illustration.