A tribute to an online game that brought people together during difficult times
I am from Chicago.
Now, that’s a weird thing to read, isn’t it? I’m writing for a newspaper based in Regina, and if you ask me where I grew up, I’ll say Saskatchewan. But, if you ask me where I’m from, I’ll say Chicago. This is because, in a little game called Blaseball, when you sign up to be a fan of the Chicago Firefighters you are eternally from Chicago. I don’t make the rules, that’s just how it goes. And, according to the Firefighters’ Twitter, just because Blaseball has ended doesn’t mean you ever stop being from Chicago.
Yes, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Blaseball has ended.
You may be asking yourself, what is Blaseball?
Blaseball is baseball meets chaos incarnate. It’s an online game that was a baseball simulation, except not all the players are exactly human and sometimes in the middle of the game players get incinerated or stuck in peanut shells. It’s written out, and you read what’s happening in each game as it goes on, almost like a simplified radio broadcast of a real baseball game. As you watch, you can also gamble fake Blaseball currency on each game. You can choose your favourite team, and you get extra coins when they win. But there’s also a large community aspect to Blaseball. The community came up with the backstories for each player and tons of extra history about each team and player.
Blaseball was a pandemic creation. The man who made it wanted a game with friends that could be played through the browser. Originally it was going to be about horse races and gambling on those, but it ended up being about baseball. It launched on July 20, 2020. For those who knew me during that era of the pandemic, I was a Blaseball fanatic. I always had a screen with Blaseball on it. I bet on every single game during that first “Internet Series.” I was a Blaseball evangelist, telling everyone I knew about it. Which now includes all of you, readers.
In memoriam, let’s go over a couple of the most important events and players in Blaseball history.
The first-ever player to be incinerated in Blaseball was historically Jaylen Hotdogfingers. Hotdogfingers was the best pitcher for the Seattle Garages team. When the Forbidden Book (the rules book) was opened, Hotdogfingers died. Yes, Jaylen Hotdogfingers does have hotdogs for fingers. It’s what makes them such a good pitcher. But, in the sixth season, Hotdogfingers was resurrected and rejoined the game.
During the Discipline Era of Blaseball, an event occurred called the Grand Unslam. It is believed that there was a Grand Slam so strong the space-time continuum broke. Los Angeles split into infinite cities, the team formerly known as the Los Angeles Tacos became the Unlimited Tacos, and the Wyatt Masoning was forced upon them. Every single player on the Unlimited Tacos was forced to bear the name of Wyatt Mason, the Tacos’ worst hitter.
Easily the most well-known player of Blaseball is Jessica Telephone. She emerged fully formed from a payphone, and that is how she was born. She is a waveform of the 80s. She started as a member of the Dallas Steaks but really rose to fame as a member of the Philadelphia Pies and the Hades Tigers. She has 11 wives and 25 girlfriends.
Baby Triumphant is a baby. A literal baby. A baby with massive muscles. Triumphant is a fantastic hitter, but a terrible runner because, well, baby legs.
Blaseball may be over now, but it was a cultural phenomenon while it was happening. I feel the following tweet from @ChiBlaseball, the Chicago Firefighters’ official account, sums it up best: “We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”