Blernsball is a game from the Futurama fictional universe. It is a "jazzed up" version of baseball, as baseball was considered "as boring as mom and apple pie." Leela was the first woman to play professional blernsball, but she was only a gimmick to attract spectators (she was shortly followed by Jackie Anderson, "the first female player to play the sport well."). This is possibly a reference to baseball pitcher Ila Borders, who became the first woman to play professional baseball when she debuted with the St. Paul Saints in 1997. Players (at least those on the New New York Mets team) have fractions on their jerseys because all the whole numbers have been retired.
Although similar in play to baseball, many new rules have been integrated into the game. These include:
- The ball is attached to the field by an elastic tether, though powerful hits have been known to break it. A billboard just beyond the reach of the tether triggers an automatic win (a "grand slam blern") if the ball enters a small hole in the center of the sign (marked "hit it here to win the game!"). Occasionally, the ball has escaped Earth's atmosphere.
- There is a mandatory steroid-injection rule for players.
- If three balls go into a small hole in the center of the field, a pinball-style "Multiball" is initiated; dozens of balls are shot at high speeds into the field, causing frenetic action. If all the balls are hit by the batter, they get a "blern".
- Relief pitchers are conveyed from the bullpen to the pitcher's mound by means of a giant tarantula wearing the team's cap. (A notable exception was during Leela's stint as a relief pitcher, where she typically remained in the dugout.)
- A player may circle the bases on a Light Cycle. However, this might only be allowed when a blern is hit.
- Bases occasionally explode. Again, this might only happen when a blern is triggered.
- There is a position of Fifth Blernsmen, despite the basepath's resembling a baseball diamond.
- Traditions of the game include aluminum bats, the 7th inning grope, and taking home blernsball players as souvenirs.
As revealed in a DVD audio commentary track, the writers of Futurama deliberately keep blernsball just out of the realms of comprehension.
List of known professional blernsball teams
- The Boston Poindexters (a play on the Boston Red Sox)
- The Mars Greenskins
- The New New York Mets
- The New New York Yankees
- The Pituitary Giants
- The Swedish Meatballs
- The Atlanta Braves (though it is revealed in the later episode "The Deep South" that Atlanta had sunk to the bottom of the ocean. This had apparently not been forgotten by the writers, as the Braves logo is now a trident).
- The Spark Plugs
- During the credits of "Bender Should Not Be Allowed on TV", Leela mentions "Blernsday Night Blernsball" during the cast's rendition of the Black Flag song "TV Party".
- The name "Blernsball" was revealed in the DVD commentary to come from "Blernsday", which was added to the Futurama schedule during the first season by executive producer David X. Cohen to accommodate work which had to be done, but couldn't be scheduled onto the REAL calendar days as they were full of other work.
- The current worst blernsball player of all time is Turanga Leela, who replaced Hank Aaron's descendant, Hank Aaron XXIV. Aaron XXIV, however, still retains the title of worst football player of all time.
- There was once a blernsball Robot League, mentioned by Bender in "Fear of a Bot Planet". This is in reference to the Negro leagues of the 1930s and '40s and continues the series' subtle theme of human/robot relations.
- In the Blernsball Hall of Fame, there are several aliens who broke the various color barriers, which also parody the Negro leagues. At their display, Bender wonders aloud when humanity will realize that all races are equally inferior to robots.
- The professor claims that Clem Johnson is the best player of all time.
- In "Fear of a Bot Planet", on Leela's scorecard the name "Costanza" can be seen at the top of the list under the Yankees. This is a reference to George Costanza, a character on the television sitcom Seinfeld, who worked for the New York Yankees during Seinfeld's sixth, seventh and eighth seasons. The card also lists a "Maris" with an asterisk, in reference to the qualified home-run record of Roger Maris in the Yankees' 1961 season. Other names on the scorecard are Zork, Zork Jr, Miller Qzdjlyd, Lombard, Gore (Lombard and Gore were the writers of the episode), Raspberry (probably a reference to Darryl Strawberry), and "Jones with Clemens' Arm". For the visiting team, Leela's score card lists: Karis, Adler, Horsted, Verrone, Keeler, Burns, Cohen, Kaplan, and Morton. This refers to various Futurama staff: Writer Matt Karis, writer Justin Adler, co-executive producer Eric Horsted, producer/writer Patric M. Verrone, co-executive producer Ken Keeler, producer J. Stewart Burns, executive producer David X. Cohen, producer Eric Kaplan and producer Lewis Morton.