Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/672

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first, the other side gets the bases for an inning. If the men in the ring are all out first, they must go back into the ring for another inning. It is possible for one side to hold the bases all day, but in practice the honors are pretty evenly divided.

When all the basemen but one are out, he may choose a partner, and they "smuggle" the ball. They conceal it under the coat of one, and both hold their hands under their coats as if they had it. Then they run the bases, and the enemy, not knowing which of the two has the ball, may be stolen upon and hit. But at any time a baseman can throw only from a base.

This is, so far as I know, the highest development of this class of ball-games. We have traced their natural history from the wanton hitting of one boy by another, through the hole-ball games, in which there are no bases and no sides, and the base-games in which there are two sides standing equal, on two bases, to the numerous bases occupied by one side as a token of victory. We have not yet encountered one of the most important instruments of ball-playing—the bat. This mighty engine of human amusement, whether in the form of a billiard-cue or a croquet-mallet, or what not, brings about radical variations in the game.

There is so much pleasure in the mere batting a ball that many a boy will amuse himself at it entirely alone for hours. He will gently toss the ball upward and as it comes down bat it either upward or horizontally. He will throw it against the barn-side and bat it on the rebound. He will lay the bat across a fulcrum and the ball upon one end of it, and then, striking the other end with his father's axe, drive the ball out of sight into the blue sky, catching it as it comes down. When several play at this, the privilege of striking being earned by catching the ball, the game is called "sky-ball."

If he can get another boy to toss up the ball, and he strikes it upward, the game used to be called "tip-e-up."

If the pitcher throws horizontally, a nameless and stupid game is produced. The pitcher earns the bat by catching the ball when struck. This was always so hard to do, in my experience, that the bat generally seemed in danger of becoming a hereditary possession of the batter.

It was much more fun to throw the ball against the barn, and standing behind the batter put him out by catching the ball when he struck at it and missed it on the rebound. This we called "barn-ball."

It was still better to divide the work of pitching and catching. There is division of labor, as the economists call it, in any batting game. There is also distinction of rank, the bat being always a token of victory—something to be struggled for and won. In all two-handed games the pitching, catching, fielding, etc., are all