• Dan Rattiner

Play and Announce a Major League Baseball Game

There may not be Major League Baseball this spring, but you can always play the game on your own, even in isolation. All you need is a deck of cards, a pencil and paper, a little imagination and for an opponent, anyone over seven years old. You are one team, your opponent, the other.

The game has all the nuances of a real baseball game. I invented it when I was about ten and have been playing it with others occasionally since.

As you turn the cards over, here is what they tell you. These rules must be written down before the game begins.

After you shuffle the cards, each player turns over a card. The higher number gets to be the home team and bats last, which could mean the bottom of the ninth.

The game consists of two transactions. The first one is between the pitcher and the batter. The batter turns the cards, one at a time, off the top. Here is what each card means.

Ace through four is a strike. Five through ten is a ball. Jack through king means the ball has been hit.

If the batter has not struck out or walked, the game moves to the second transaction. The turning of the next card shows the result of the hit.

Two, three and four are ground outs.

Five, six, seven and eight are fly outs.

(It should be noted that the higher the card, the longer the ground outs and fly outs are. So for example, an eight would be a fly out to deep center field and would result in a runner on third scoring. As for the ground outs, a two or three would be a double play if a runner were on first.

Nine, ten and jack are singles. A ten or jack allows a runner on third to come home. (Again, the higher the number the longer the hits.)

A queen is a double.

A red king is a triple.

An ace or a black king is a home run.

As you see, the cards describe all possible transactions in the game. Because of this, after turning over any card, one of you can enhance the game with a sports casters narration. (This is particularly effective if your opponent is under the age of twelve.)

(For a two or three third strike comment “and he swings and misses by at least a foot,” or with four “he takes his third strike with the bat still on his shoulder.”)

Here’s another enhancement. The coach for the team at bat can stop the game to announce an attempted steal. Ace through ten is safe for stealing second, the rest out. Stealing third is ace to eight out and nine through king safe. For stealing home, only the ace of spades brings success.

Another enhancement is to use an actual batting roster from a major league team as your batting line up. That way you get the cleanup hitters and the designated hitters (where appropriate.)

Have fun. And let me know how it works out.

The game also works using Skype or Zoom with two sets of cards.

--Dan Rattiner


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