If you think trying to hit a baseball off a professional pitcher is hard, it might not have anything on trying to hit a Wiffle Ball off a professional.
And yes, there are professional Wiffle Ball players.
All you have to do is look at the video below, courtesy of MLW Wiffle, of what professional Wiffle Ball players can do to these balls -- and you’ll learn quickly that this isn’t like pitching in the backyard to the kids or to some friends over for a barbecue.
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There are so many high-speed curves, bends, drops and rises, it’s as if there is always a gale-force wind present to play tricks on the ball, but it’s just players working their magic.
So, what’s the secret to getting the ball to twist and turn like an out-of-control fly?
Kyle Schultz, founder and commissioner of MLW Wiffle, a professional league based out of Brighton, Michigan, said it’s a combination of years of practice and doctoring the ball when it comes out of the package.
That’s often a no-no in real baseball, but it’s an accepted practice in Wiffle Ball.
“(It’s) a funny ball,” Schultz said. “The more you scuff it or knife it up, the more it will actually move, which is something really interesting for us. Within our league, we scuff (balls) on pavement, and that allows the ball to do some pretty crazy stuff. It can move left, right, rise up or it can drop down.”
Indeed, a ball that is straight out of the package won’t do anything, Schultz said. But scuff it up on dirt, pavement or other surfaces, and it seemingly turns into a runaway comet.
“For some reason, when you scrape it up, get some dirt on it or cut it up, it moves way more incredibly than when it comes out of the package,” Schultz said.
The league, which has been around since 2010 and features 50 players and eight teams, welcomes average players to come and play with the professionals at a field that was built in 2018 within Huron Meadows Metro Park.
Its YouTube channel has 260,000 subscribers and has had 35 million views, to further emphasize just how daunting of a task it can be to hit a Wiffle Ball.
“We see that at a lot of our tournaments,” Schultz said. “A lot of times people are surprised by how much the ball moves.”