This game is hardly suitable for the average living room, but can be played in basements, recreation rooms and the like. Choose two teams, the same as you would for a sand lot baseball game. In order to play the game properly you must have at least four on each side. Six would be a comfortable maximum, though you might use more. The team which is in the field has a pitcher, a catcher and a man on each of the bases. A shortstop and outfielders may be used, though they are not necessary.
No one runs in this game, except to field a ball. That is, if the man at bat hits successfully, he still does not run. Instead, the team at bat also has a man on first, a man on second and a man on third. The function of these offensive players will be seen in just a moment.
To play the game successfully you will need a number of various colored balloons. To further simplify the game these balloons should be numbered. Balloons as nearly perfectly round as possible are preferable.
A batter steps up to the plate. The pitcher throws a balloon, which the batter attempts to hit. If he hits a fly, and the fly is caught, and flies will usually be caught, he is out. If he fails to hit the balloon in making a strike, he is out. No three strikes in this game-one strike, you're out. However, fouls give the batter another chance.
The bat is the palm of the player's hand, no fists are allowed. If the batter hits the balloon, and it is not caught, he then takes his numbered balloon and throws it to his teammate who stands at first base. If the numbered balloon gets to first base before one of the defensive players can throw the batted balloon to first base, the runner is safe. If the balloon is hit far enough, the offensive man at first base will attempt to throw it to second base, thus making a two-bagger. Anything beyond a two-base hit is unlikely, although three-base hits and home runs are permissible.
When a runner is on first base, that is, when his balloon is on first base, the next batter comes to the plate. The balloon is pitched and if he hits it successfully the offensive man who holds the first ball on first base must attempt to throw it successfully to second base. As he does, the batter throws the second numbered ball to the runner at first base. The defensive team will try to throw the batted ball to second, to catch the runner there. Or if there is not time to do that, they will attempt to catch the runner out at first base. They might even attempt a double play.
Thus the game continues. Bunting is permitted, and will, in fact, play a significant strategy. Even the catcher or the pitcher can field bunts.
Running with the ball, either after it has been fielded or with the numbered ball which represents the runner, is strictly forbidden. However, if the ball is thrown and falls short of its mark, the one who throws it can run up to where it lands, pick it up and throw it again.
You will need an umpire, most certainly, and if the game should turn into a rout, which is not likely, a scorekeeper. Incidentally, this same game can be played to great advantage out-of-doors if you have a supply of five basketballs, volleyballs or beach balls. One of them will be needed to use as the pitched ball, the other four to represent runners as they come to bat.
Your offensive players rotate about the field. That is, after one batter has been at the plate, whether he is out or hits safely, the man who is standing on first base moves to second.
The man who is on third comes home and either sits in the batters' box awaiting his turn, or steps to the plate if you have a limited number of players. Everyone bats in tum. The man who has just batted, then, goes to first base, and waits to catch the numbered ball of the next one who takes his tum at the plate.