Explaining pesäpallo "Finnish baseball" with Olli Määttä
The Detroit Red Wings defenseman helps me understand his national sport
Full disclosure, I’ve wanted to write this story for a while.
Ever since I went to Finland in 2019, and heard about pesäpallo — AKA Finnish baseball — I’ve asked Finnish NHLers about the sport, and the answers have been less than thrilling.
Many have been very well, Finnish, in their response, downplaying any enthusiasm about Finland’s national sport.
And that’s what I expected when I approached Olli Määttä on Tuesday morning, ready to ask another Finn about pesäpallo, and ready to have them tell me, “We played it in school,” or something like that.
Red Wings goalie Ville Husso, another Finn, told me last week, “I played it in school, because I was a goalie they put me near the catcher spot, I think.”
Määttä, however, gave me the answer I’ve been looking for.
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