Mastery of blaseball is in the blood. And the peanuts.
April 5, 2021 8:04 AM   Subscribe

Love the *idea* of Blaseball, but can't quite be arsed to actually follow the mutant-surreal fantasy baseball process in real time? Quinns from Shut Up and Sit Down has you covered! A quick and jaunty recap of the last 14 seasons, with illustrations. Part 1 (The Discipline Era) and Part 2 (Peace and Prosperity)

Blaseball, previously and musically
posted by FatherDagon (21 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
This is great! But now I hunger for a Ken-Burns-style blaseball documentary series.
posted by zeptoweasel at 8:23 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]

My husband has become a Hades Tigers fan and has regaled me with stories of their player who is a demon in the form of an actual tiger (or maybe an anthropomorphic tiger?), who left the team for their home reality at the end of the last season.

Blaseball is pretty fucking goofy and I am glad it exists but I sure do feel like a five minute recap is about all the blaseball I need in my life.
posted by egypturnash at 9:00 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]

I've seen videos about this in my YouTube feed and thought "Hey, that guy looks a lot like Quinns."
posted by Slothrup at 9:20 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]

Quinns did another vid last year about the Blaseball phenom for People Make Games, that may have been the springboard to him becoming the spokesperson on the (currently sparse) official Blaseball yubtub channel.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:28 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]

I am all love Blaseball, but explaining it to someone really does feel like trying to tell them about every Pokemon ever. There's A LOT, and it's not even a year old yet.

The People Makes Games video is my absolute favorite way to show someone the game. The video is charming, and his little drawings are so iconic that the developer he represented with the baseball has a 3D print out of that, and a baseball with a face drawn on it. Ball Clarke shows up in the discord chats as an emoji. It makes sense. Blaseball is a collaboration in so many ways, that a primer on the game added to the game just fits.

I love that they hired Quinns to do these update videos. I've laughed out loud more than a couple of times, and they even maintain how weird the game can be.
posted by gc at 9:52 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]

Blaseball is sports for people who say "sportsball," and I do not mean that as a compliment.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:29 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]

Blaseball is sports for people who say "sportsball," and I do not mean that as a compliment.

That's a bit harsh. Most sports are fundamentally kind of absurd. This never occurs to some people, while others actively have to remember to (for lack of a better phrase) suspend their disbelief. Importantly, this does not automatically prevent one from following or enjoying sports. I think Blaseball suits the latter category of people well; it's an absurd and fascinating fantasy take on what is really rather a strange activity when you think about it.
posted by jklaiho at 10:39 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]

I like baseball! I went to a Padres game last weekend. I love blaseball with all of my heart, if you can’t see it as deep absurdist satire maybe you aren’t looking closely enough.

If I can’t convince you maybe the people at Baseball Prospectus can. Or maybe they’re not hardcore enough?
posted by q*ben at 10:44 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]

As someone who followed Blaseball casually until some time in season 3 (I remember the peanuts and that's about it), I think I might actually understand Blaseball LESS after watching the video on The Discipline Era. The whole thing feels like a massively multiplayer collaborative fiction version of Calvinball.
posted by chrominance at 10:51 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]

I haven't logged in since around September, it's good to see Jessica Telephone back from the abyss and playing for the Pies again! Is the commissioner still doing a great job?
posted by cmfletcher at 11:01 AM on April 5

I sometimes wonder when blaseball is going to get eaten by NFTs. It feels stupidly inevitable.
posted by phooky at 11:06 AM on April 5

Given the two ways to start a fight between teams are "Which team is the most anticapitalist? (Tacos, Spies, Garages, Mills have the strongest claims imo, for various reasons)" & "Which team is the gayest? (Lovers, Lift, Magic imo)", and it's a game stat, I suspect resistance to NFTs would be high and scorched-earth.

("Which team is the most anticolonial?" doesn't provoke the same fights, because it's pretty conclusively the Fridays and everybody just kinda looked at their charity efforts and went "Yeah, that's yours")

And yeah, I'd say "sportsball" is a bit of a mean dig; with how many people I've seen angle into Mariners fandom from the Garages alone, I'd say if anything it's people who used to make that dig a decade and a half ago & have recovered, paired up with upcoming kids-these-days. We don't need to be fighting the high-school clique fights of yestercentury, it's alright to be enthusiastic about sport.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:29 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]

Most sports are fundamentally kind of absurd.

I will concede the arbitrariness and absurdity of many sports, but at least there is at some level a fundamental pursuit of measurable excellence at the heart of them.

Blaseball enthusiasm and team allegiances prove that humans are pareidolic narrative-creation machines, which—sure, that's fine and it's fun and kayfabe is also fun, I get it. I'm not better than it.

But after a solid couple of decades of enduring nerds being snide about sports, I can't help but be pretty grumpy upon seeing a bunch of nerds wilding out over an explicitly imaginary sport (And I know this isn't fair: I'm sure at least most of those nerds are not the same nerds that are snide about "sportsball").

My distaste is also colored by my only-too-vivid awareness that if I'd gotten into Blaseball early I'd probably be nuts about it, but now it's so dense and in-jokified that it's totally impenetrable—and more to the point, the real fun of it is obviously being there as it happens, and watching explainer videos just isn't the same.

But seriously, no Blaseball fan better ever make a sportsball crack ever again.
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:42 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]

Seconded, Sokka. Let the healing begin
posted by q*ben at 12:04 PM on April 5

if I'd gotten into Blaseball early I'd probably be nuts about it, but now it's so dense and in-jokified that it's totally impenetrable

Eh, I dunno, I feel like it was like that from day one. To be really into Blaseball, you basically had to already be in the Discord, responding live to games as they played out, and building the fanfiction in real time. The people I follow on the internet who got way into Blaseball were all people with ample experience playing or DMing tabletop role-playing games, for example.

Regarding nerds and sports: I feel like the nerddom surrounding Blaseball is adjacent to but not quite the same as nerddom surrounding sports themselves. Maybe it's just because I've heard way too many stories about baseball, but it feels like some parts of sports nerddom can get really into statistics to prove something is not just awesome but mathematically awesome. The two can coexist, and I'm sure there's at least some crossover.
posted by chrominance at 12:08 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]

Blaseball is right up there with Homestuck as something that you're either a rabid fan of or the whole thing seems completely impenetrable.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:25 PM on April 5 [5 favorites]

90% of the time, I’m perversely much more interested in hearing the secondhand account of a thing than actually doing a thing, so I am looking forward to Quinns talking about this.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:51 PM on April 5

Iʻve given up on blaseball, but it has had its lasting effect on me, for at long long 70-year-old last I no longer can sit still and watch the likes of MLB, NFL, and Euroamerican ballsports in general.

Now I can still get my lifelong sports-spectator jones quenched, viewing 2+ hour-long YTs consisting of hyperactive Aussie boys roughing it up with each other playing Australian Rules Football. Itʻs so much more interesting than any of its more sedate cousins -- soccer, ice hockey, rugby, basketball and suchlike.

Iʻm an American though, and cannot watch dispassionately. I find I must root for one of the ARF contestant teams, none of which I had been even aware of heretofore. I select by following 2 rules: (1) the goofiest-sounding team "home" (Geelong being on top of the list); or, failing that, (2) the more obscure one (say, Fremantle, as opposed to, say, Sydney). Iʻm inexplicably crestfallen should "my" team lose.

Fortunately, there exist helpful YT walk-throughs of the basic rules. This makes all the difference: I feel informed; seeming chaos has become a bit more transparent. And of course, thereʻs always fun to be had about the deep unglobalized local accents of those hyperexcited Aussie announcers. I do take a quiet pride in comprehending a good half of their live-game commentary, though I still have a very hard time with the language of the players themselves during the obligatory halftime interviews.
posted by Droll Lord at 1:55 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]

I always enjoy seeing Americans see Aussie Rules for the first time, specifically when they realise that 'marking' is part of the game.

'Marking' is catching the ball in the air. The twist: it is legal to climb up on top of other players in order to catch the ball.

I select by following 2 rules: (1) the goofiest-sounding team "home" (Geelong being on top of the list); or, failing that, (2) the more obscure one (say, Fremantle, as opposed to, say, Sydney). Iʻm inexplicably crestfallen should "my" team lose.

I learned by watching soccer* that the way to make any sport exciting is to arbitrarily pick a team to back. This is an excellent way to do it, although I will point out that due to Australian geography and fierce inter-state rivalries, the two Sydney teams are sort of perpetual outsiders, even though they're both rather good. A lot of Aussie Rules teams are based around specific Melbourne suburbs - it's a Melburnian game, and it comes out of Melbourne, and Melbourne and Sydney have a centuries old blood feud going on.

*Aussie Rules claims to predate the Football Association, and in any case Australia has four different kinds of football, so it's necessary to disambiguate by calling association-rules football 'soccer'.
posted by Merus at 4:28 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]

And if you do feel like following along a little, we have a little weekly thread on FanFare; Season 15 just started today and I already don't really know what's happening because I had some errands to run.

Blaseball is right up there with Homestuck as something that you're either a rabid fan of or the whole thing seems completely impenetrable.

On the contrary, Blaseball is something that even if you're a rabid fan the whole thing seems completely impenetrable. The joy is in embracing the chaos and the uncertainty and the quantum superposition of a hundred different headcanons.
posted by cortex at 4:32 PM on April 5 [4 favorites]

To see baseball as nothing more than pitting RNGs against each other is to ignore the human pursuit of excellence therein, which is the sine qua non of sports, and IMHO a very "sportsballish" attitude.

The fanfiction and fanart are acceptable if a bit samey, and the metagame proceeds too quickly and radically to allow apples to apples comparisons, but imposing a storyline on the games? That's a cardinal sin.

If you are going to be creative in anything sports-adjacent, IMHO, you must understand deep in your bones that Our Mother Chaos Rules All.
posted by whuppy at 11:50 AM on April 6

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