Wow, this fascinates me, and disturbs me almost as much. It’s an article about Ian Silva, a man in Australia who, through a combination of interest in maps and baseball, has created a very detailed, imaginary world. Complete with maps that look straight out of a real atlas and exhaustive records of the baseball league.

People in the Koana Islands love baseball. The first league play started in 1882, barely six years after the MLB. Between the top-tier, Triple- and Double-A leagues, there are over 180 teams spanning the island nation. Fans are so rabid that there’s even talk of expanding to a Single-A league, adding even more teams. If you’re a baseball fan, you might be surprised you’ve never heard of this. You’ll be even more surprised when you try to find the Koana Islands. That’s because the 32-island chain, with its nine major cities, 11 national parks, 93 million residents and a landmass that is equal to Spain and Sweden combined does not really exist.

It fascinates me because I spent hours as a kid staring at my grandparents’ world atlas when I visited them. I would, occasionally, draw maps of my own imagined countries and continents. And, of course, I loved baseball more than just about anything else when I was a kid. This could have been my creation. Well, I never stuck with anything long enough to do something this involved. But you get the idea.

Which is the thing that disturbs me about it, too. What was is it that sends some of us on paths where we have casual hobbies and diversions once we’re adults, and others of us into absolute obsessions like this? I had plenty of weird pastimes as a kid. I still have a handful of oddball interests that I don’t necessarily share with the world. Why do some people just read books, watch sports, maybe collect something while others spend their free time in an extra bedroom or basement obsessing over some esoteric amusement?

Oh, and this reminds me of the wonderful novel The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. as well.

Koana Islands