Baseball BeatMay 06, 2010
Wiffleball '79
By Rich Lederer

To bridge the gap between our stat-based articles, I present to you Wiffleball '79, an entertaining and nostalgic short film directed by Perry Jenkins and Travis Kurtz. The five-minute movie made its YouTube debut yesterday. Travis notified me via email this morning. It's a good one for any baseball fan, especially those who have played wiffleball. You can be one of the first 100 people to watch it. Enjoy.



It was wiffleball that first showed me the difference between "loves sports" and "gifted athlete." I used to switch-hit, mostly because it was different. In the neighborhood wiffle games I was the only lefty bat until the most talented kid decided to try it one day. It took him all of two weeks to be better lefty than any of the rest of us were righty.

It also taught me a basic sabermetric principle that I didn't recognize until years later: that on an at-bat basis, there's a lot of luck involved. We won a little-brothers vs. big kids game when I fought off an 0-2 inside pitch... it wobbled down the "third-base" line and stopped dead in the grass just inside the mailbox - the pitcher had to field grounders before they stopped or it was a single. Ball game. I wasn't clutch or gritty or locked-in, I was caught way out in front and I'm lucky that the neighbors couldn't mow around the mailbox post the way they had mowed the rest of the lawn.

I think this makes me the David Eckstein of wiffle ball, except that I have a better arm.

Any idea why this gem was only released a few days ago?