Blitzball: the up and coming backyard ball game

What started as a backyard game is now a competitive sport where athletes like Fiorenza compete all over the country.
Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 10:31 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “Just like baseball, it’s a bunch of kids having fun,” said blitzball player Joe Fiorenza.

You’ve heard of baseball, softball and even wiffle ball. But what exactly is blitzball, and how is it different?

“It’s the amount of curve on these balls,” said tournament director Connor Schneider. “They’re both plastic balls in essence, but you watch some of these pitches out here today, and they’re breaking feet at a time.”

“It’s a lot more skill based than baseball,” Fiorenza said. “You know, the ball’s moving a lot faster. The ball’s moving a lot more.”

More than 20 teams from nearly a dozen, different states step up to the plate in Freeport on Saturday to go head to head in the annual Blitzball Classic Tournament.

What started as a backyard game is now an up and coming sport where athletes like Fiorenza compete from all over the country. Duck pants and all, he’s ready to throw down.

“One of my buddies actually has a big backyard, so we kind of line up, get the background netting, and we just go at it, so that’s kind of how we started,” he said.

Schneider created the competition with a group of friends back in 2016. They reached out to teams on social media to spread the word about the Little Cubs Field and its potential to host such a grand event.

“It’s been you know only 5-10 years since blitzball has really come onto the scene, and it’s so great for the collaboration between the different YouTube channels, and they get to come here and play with the other best blitzball teams around the country,” Schneider said.

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