Immaculate Grid is Baseball Internet’s New Obsession

Welcome to your new favorite game and most frustrating part of your day

I can’t tell you why I remember Justin Bour appearing on the short-lived “Off the Bat,” an MTV show meant to make baseball look hip and cool, but I do. Bour went to a bowling alley with the hosts while wearing glasses and a short-sleeved button-up shirt, as I recall and he seemed like a good dude.

I scold myself for my brain somehow storing that information, but not the fact that he played for both the Marlins (which I remembered) and the Angels (which I did not).

I’m upset because knowing Justin Bour’s teams or recalling him entirely, would’ve helped tremendously in my Immaculate Grid.

If you’re on the “baseball internet,” you’ve probably seen Immaculate Grid even if you haven’t played it or recognized it yet. I started seeing 3×3 grids pop up in my social media feeds, with green squares filling some or all of the spaces. At a point a couple of weeks ago, I saw enough of them to curiously click the link and I’ve since played every day, often first thing in the morning.

The 3×3 grid has rows and columns of either teams or statistics. You simply enter in names of players, current or historical, that meet both criteria in their grid position. You only get nine guesses, howevermaking each square high stakes. (Justin Bour would’ve filled my square for Marlins and Angels, which would have been a perfect 9/9!)

The game has swept through baseball dorkdom, with even MLB teams getting in on the action:

With one grid a day, the clean but information-sparse site gives you just the basics, but enough to rue the guesses you got wrong until the next day’s grid goes live. A whole ecosystem has popped up around the Grid: podcasters are filling it out live on their streams, sites get excited when their local team is one featured on that day’s grid, and online chatter ramps up around remembering some guys for the day’s provided teams.

The rules provided on the site are simple and straightforward, but I’ve also added in some guardrails for myself.

I am not allowed to google or otherwise use the internet to “check” my answers, nor to scan team rosters. It all has to be from memory.  I’ve convinced myself (perhaps to soothe my own ego) that most people are using some aide when playing the game, as 9/9 is almost always the most frequent outcome (you can see the day’s Immaculate Grid stats after you’ve completed yours).

Weirdly, I do allow myself to verbally check with anyone in the vicinity to get feedback before I make my official guess, e.g., “Cameron Maybin played for the Phillies at one point, didn’t he?” (he did not). After all, that’s just being polite and making conversation.

Some Grid spots I’ve found to be more difficult than others. A player that played for both the A’s and Reds is challengingthose teams aren’t signing a lot of big-name free agents, and are rarely trading with one another, at least in recent years. In those cases, it’s a process of trying to imagine as many players as I can from either team and ticking off my mental rolodex to see if I can visualize them in the other uniform.

I’ve also found it helpful to keep a few players in my back pocket for when I’m truly stumped. Edwin Jackson holds the MLB record for most franchises played for (14) and has saved me on a couple of occasions. He’s to Immaculate Grid what the letter “E” is to “Wheel of Fortune.”

Octavio Dotel played for 13 MLB teams, and some of them are wonderfully randomWhite Sox, Pirates, Rockies!

Rich Hill likewise has some amazing combinationsTwins and Orioles!

(For the record, I’m looking these up now when I’m NOT playing Immaculate Grid. That is completely allowed in my made-up rules.)

Given the popularity of the game, it’s only a matter of time before there are bots/scripts that will provide the daily grid’s answers (if they don’t already existI refuse to look for fear of tempting myself).

It’s a bit of a mystery as to where the Grid came from; the sparse website has no identifying or contact information anywhere on it. (A DM to the game’s Twitter account for this article was not responded to.)

In that way, it’s unusually refreshing. You can’t watch highlights on YouTube without an ad for some mobile game that is bloated with other advertisements or trying to sell up game enhancements. I would absolutely pay a dollar for a hint for my last square, so I appreciate that Immaculate Grid doesn’t even give me the option (and please don’t!).

The internet axiom is that if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product. I suppose normally I’d be more hesitant to visit a mysterious website and input information on it every day, but if it’s something nefarious I’m not quite sure what they’re going to do with the knowledge that I remember Alfonso Soriano played for both the Nationals and Cubs.

I hope many of us will continue to try our best within whatever parameters we’ve set for ourselves. It’s awfully fun to remember players, and the feeling of accomplishment when I do score 9/9 is a rush that keeps me coming back day after day.

And, remember that former Expos count as Nationals!



Sean Roberts

Sean Roberts is a baseball columnist for Pitcher List. His work has been featured on Baseball Prospectus, the Hardball Times, and October. He's still getting used to the DH in the national league. @seanroberts.bsky.social

One response to “Immaculate Grid is Baseball Internet’s New Obsession”

  1. Eric says:

    A’s and Reds: Jose Rijo!

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