My research into the increasingly popular sport led me down a rabbit role that seemed larger than I imagined. With the rest of the baseball world still waiting on the league’s decision, I dove deeper into Wiffle ball.
My findings led me to a website called nationalwiffle.com where I messaged the person that runs their account on Twitter. Tom Gannon, also known by his Wiffle ball nickname “Dr. Winkly”, runs the account on Twitter and is a collection of all things wiffle ball featuring news, highlights, and places to sign up if people are interested in trying the sport on a more professional level. I asked him how he got involved in what he calls “the best-kept secret in sports” to which he stated “Some guys I went to high school started a league, and they played in the NWLA national tournament. There were actually two leagues in my home town, and after I kinda outgrew them I started looking for more competitive tournaments.”
We ended up talking about a variety of topics that regarded wiffle ball from the various leagues and teams associated with the sport, to the different rules and regulations based on each league. We also talked about the differences in speed and ball mechanics to which he stated “Fastpitch, the pitcher can throw as hard as they want. Medium and slow there’s a speed limit/ more pitch to contact.” When he told me this, I compared this to how baseball has softball and hardball which while both can be hard to hit against depending on the pitcher, a hardball can be thrown with more movement and manipulated better.
Another thing that we discussed was how players that have particular skill and talent in this sport have often tried taking it pro by signing up for leagues and tournaments that offer payouts. This led me to watch a documentary from the hit show Vice about the golden stick wiffle league which is another one of the leagues previously mentioned. We also talked about how there are many leagues in the sport, and while it is fun to see such an active community, we both pondered what it would be like if there was just one league with unity, where we see it being taken to more of a professional level.
With the absence of baseball and many other sports, sports fans are trying to find other ways to cope with the loss by reminiscing about games of the past or discovering new ones like myself and wiffle ball. There is still a lot to dig into with this sport and I am grateful for the people I’ve met and talked with along the way. With some sports eyeing towards returning, wiffle ball is still a sport that should get some recognition, or should it still be the best kept secret?