Over-the-Line Baseball

When you don’t have a full baseball field or enough people for a baseball team, this game substitutes a lot of the baseball necessities without losing any of the fun. Can be played indoors if you get creative with the equipment. Can even substitute a kickball. Best when played outdoors.

Area: Depends on what you have. For the purposes of this game we’ll pretend we only have a narrow field.

Materials: baseball bat, tennis ball, boundary and line markers

Object: to score more runs than the other team, just like in real baseball

How To Play: From a designated home plate, mark off four distances. For example, the first distance will be at pitcher’s mound, the second distance will be 20 feet past that, the third distance will be 20 feet past that and the fourth will be a random target anywhere in the field. The field should be narrow, such as the area between 2nd and 3rd base, so that a ball hit in any area other than between 2nd and 3rd base is a foul ball. Three fouls is an out.

Take turns at bat as in normal baseball. When the ball is hit, if it bounces before the pitcher’s mound (the first distance) it is an out. In other words, the batter must at least hit the ball past the first distance line. If the ball flies past the first distance without touching the ground first, it is  a single. If the fielders don’t stop the ball before it gets to the second distance, it is a double. If they don’t stop it before it gets to the third distance, it is a triple. If the ball hits the random target area it is a home run.

The hitting team is up until they have three outs. Imaginary runners inhabit imaginary bases in this game, so be sure to keep track of where your runners are. Runners automatically advance the number of bases the hitter moves them up, so, if a runner is on second base and the hitter smacks a double, that means the runner scores.

There are no steals or double-plays or any other tricky baseball moves since you’re dealing with imaginary runners.

There are numerous adaptations to this game. One great adaptation is indoors. I use to play this down a narrow hallway, about 15 feet long, in my apartment in Playa del Rey, CA with only two players. The pitcher pitched from the bedroom at the one end of the hallway, the batter was in the living room at the other end of the hallway. We used a broom handle for a bat and a stuffed animal head with masking tape for the ball. If the ball was hit into the hallway without being stopped by the living room wall, it was a single. If the ball flew past the hallway and into the bedroom but was stopped by the pitcher before it hit the back bedroom wall, it was a double. If the ball flew past the hallway and made it past the pitcher to the back bedroom wall it was a triple. If the ball sailed all the way down the hallway and hit the back bedroom window before it ever touched the ground, it was a homerun. If the ball was stopped by the living room wall, it was an out.

You don’t need to take chances with your furniture to play this game safely indoors. Use your hand for a bat and a paper wad for a ball. Be creative with the equipment and with the scoring options.

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