Baseball, as you know, has been America's pastime for, I don't know, ever. Growing up, I played baseball with a small group of friends nearly every day. We would all meet at one of our houses and ride bikes to the local elementary school to play. It was usually 2-on-2 with an all time pitcher or something like that.
We'd play variations of the game. We would declare the opposite field foul, forcing the batter to hit into the defense. Often times the pitcher would be the first baseman, and if the infielder made the throw before the batter reached first, it was an out. You get the idea.
Other times we'd play wiffleball. The rules were often the same. We could play fast pitch which made hitting a bit more difficult. Wiffleball was especially fun when we had a yard with a fence. You could park it if you connected just right. When we played wiffleball, we'd even integrated Indian tags. Now you could peg guys out by drilling them with the ball. Ghost runners often occupied the base paths and on more than one occasion, we'd all try and hit with our opposite hand.
After I moved across town, I lived next door to the local little league complex. I would get up early in the morning and head to the field. It was great.
The games we played were fun but they also helped us improve. Indian tags improved our arm accuracy. Hitting fast-pitch wiffleball improved our hitting, and playing 2-on-2 taught us how to hit the ball to a certain field.
Playing on these crappy fields improved our fielding skills, and since we played outfield and infield, I could play anywhere on the diamond. These games even taught me how to switch hit.
Twenty years have passed and I keep an eye out for these games. I don't see them much though. Perhaps I'm just not looking in the right places. Of course I can't see what's going on in each cul-de-sac and back yard. I know things have changed since the late 80s. Maybe kids still get together to play baseball. More likely though, it's MLB The Show online on Playstation and Xbox.
There is still time. The summer is just beginning. Get out there and play. Let your mind take the place of the computers and video game systems. You might just find a new way to beat the heat.