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Sunday, May 19, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Wiffleball evolved

Since the invention of baseball, the concept of the game has captured Americans across the country. Like any other sport, however, not everyone could play competitively.
In 1953, David Mullany created a variation of the game that would later be named wiffleball. Since that time, people, young and old, have swung for the fences in backyards everywhere hoping to generate that rare feeling of blasting a ball into a neighbor's yard.
While baseball hasn't changed much over the years, wiffleball has gone through several facelifts. It started with a simple ball and thin yellow bat. Since then, you can walk into any toy store today and find balls as big as grapefruits and bats that look like they came straight out of the Flintstones.
The newest enhancement comes in the form of the Blitzball. Crafted to be the most realistic baseball-like experience in the wiffleball community, its shape and design make the ball's speed and movement unlike any wiffleball experience in the past.
Aaron Kim, creator of the Blitzball, has been perfecting his invention for some time now.
"I came up with the original Blitzball concept around 4-5 years ago with the idea that a flat sided ball would allow for super curveballs by deflecting airflow better when spun," Kim said. "My original prototype looked something like a rounded cube. It didn't work very well and then I just made a series of improvements since then."
Wiffleballs are notorious for the intense spin that can be applied to a pitch and the Blitzball takes this feature to another level.
The Blitzball mimics the actual mechanics of a real baseball, which allows pitchers to throw the ball just like they would a normal baseball. Hitters are able to swing freely, as well, as the ball travels farther than a normal wiffleball.
Kim and other Blitzball users agree that the distance factor is huge when deciding which product to use.
"I think that baseball novices will prefer the Blitzball over traditional wiffleballs because of the substantially improved distance you get when you hit it," Kim said.
Although Blitzball seems to be a solid new product, whether or not it can make a dent in the wiffleball market remains to be seen.
Kim has been a lifelong fan of the wiffleball and doesn't know for sure if his product will be able to replace the American classic. With that said, he does think that people who sample his product will have a tough decision to make.
"I think that people who try the Blitzball for the first time will be quite surprised by the improved action that you get," Kim said. "In another 50 years, who knows?"
A few important questions came to mind when looking into the Blitzball, none more glaring than its durability. After seeing it batted around the diamond, it is safe to say that the ball can take some punishment.
Kim explained that the Blitzball is made with the highest quality materials and if a customer finds any defects in the ball, a full refund will be issued.
An interesting incentive to trying out the Blitzball is a contest the company started last year. Anyone who has purchased a Blitzball can film a home video of the Blitzball in action and submit it for a chance to win $1,200.
The company uses their Facebook following as judges and the top three videos win a prize.
Kim feels this customer interaction goes a long way towards building a fan base for the Blitzball.
"Since we have such a tiny advertising budget compared to other guys like Wiffle, we have to be more creative with our marketing ideas," Kim said.
Anyone interested in a Blitzball can visit the website at The current promotion lets a customer purchase four Blitzballs for $11.99.
Whether or not the Blitzball will catch on remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure -- a bunch of people are going to have a lot of fun testing it out.
And in the end, that is what this game is all about.




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