Last night, we had a huge baseball game over at my Aunt B.’s. I wish y’all could have seen it. They live on one of those huge south suburban lots of land, so the distance between home and first base was almost a city block and then first and second base were only about 25 feet apart, but third base was clear on the other side of the yard and then we had a home plate you touched if you were coming in from third that was different than the home base you stood at to bat, because the little kids would get tired of watching the Butcher and our cousin L. running around trying to tag each other out and so they’d want to bat long before the previous play would finish, so we had to have a place for the above 13 crowd to tag that wouldn’t interfere with the below 13’s enjoyment of the game.
We had to have three balls going at all times, because one was inevitably being used in the play going on on the field, one was being wrestled from one of the three dogs, and the other was being hit.
The dogs ended up being a boon for the under-13s though, because no matter how short those kids hit the ball, a dog would get it and take off with it, thus making possible a huge number of in-field home runs.
Base runners would become fielders, and then return to base running. One time, we ran out of batters, because everyone was either on base or chasing a dog.
It was great fun.
We even had the little neighbor girl who, with a count of seven strikes, five balls, three foul tips, two dog interferences, and being distracted by her mom, managed, her first time at bat, to hit a grounder home run (greatly aided by the fact that no one wanted to wrestle the ball away from the mastiff playing what was probably shortstop, though it seemed to be located right between the pitcher and batter).
I like the three balls in play at all times rule. It should increase the level of difficulty. It also reminds me of when my mom’s whole neighborhood would gather on summer Sundays behind the local market and folks of all ages got together for softball. Good times.