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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Base Ball 

Noted in passing that a group of former ball players are trying to start up a vintage base ball league. Here are some of the "vintage" rules:
six balls for a walk, and a foul ball won't count as a strike — unless it's caught, in which case the batter will be out. A foul ball caught on a bounce counts for an out, and a hit batter is only a ball, with no base awarded.
Gloves will be tiny, bat handles will be thick and the ball — that's right, one ball will be used per game unless it falls apart or is lost — will be dead. There aren't any pitcher's mounds, and there's no such thing as a balk on pickoff attempts . . . umpires must be addressed as "sir." Fans — called "cranks" — will be encouraged to wear period costumes . . . .
The ball will have seams in the lemon-peel style, which was replaced by the current seam pattern designed by Albert Spalding, adopted by the major leagues in 1877. Pitching will be overhand, and games will average about 2 hours, 15 minutes.
Before each plate appearance, a batter will declare his "desired strike zone preference" — belt to knee or belt to armpits. If the umpire misses a call because his view is blocked, a team captain can ask for a "gentleman's ruling," in which players involved in the play are to truthfully say what occurred. If a dispute remains, the umpire may ask the cranks for their opinion.
Sounds like fun, but I just hope you can still yell from the stands.

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