365体育投注

YOLO COUNTY NEWS

Sports

Bruce Gallaudet: Here’s one distraction that might bring a little baseball back

Watching a baseball game with my son — especially since I’m old and my “kid” is an avid adult product of the game’s modern era — had been one of my great pleasures. Then we got this cancellation of all things sports.

My son and I often have those who-was-better discussions …

365体育投注“I saw Willie Mays play. Believe me, son, Mike Trout is no Willie Mays.”

I wonder aloud why it takes 3:40 to play a 4-2, nine-inning game:

“You know, Warren Spahn could get you in and out in less than two hours. Even when he was 42 years old and winning 20.”

Steroids?

“If being on hot dogs and beer counts, then, yes … Babe Ruth juiced.”

With all this COVID-19 going on, I wondered if Nick or some of my friends have fallen back on video games, especially baseball, since it’s the season. I began a conversation with my 32-year-old son with the wrong lead-in:

“You know, when I was a kid …” I started, watching Nick’s eyes roll into the back of his head.

He had no idea what was coming.

365体育投注“I invented a baseball game with two decks of playing cards. I must have played it every baseball season for hours a day.”

My son’s look urged me to change the subject.

“Humor me,” I pleaded. “Let’s play a game.”

No response.

“Please. It won’t take 15, 20 minutes. I haven’t played since the early 1960s.”

He agreed. At the dining room table, as I shuffled, I gave him some history.

* I played 154-game schedules (yes, it was that long ago).

365体育投注* I was the Milwaukee Braves, taking on an exact schedule of my guys each year from 1957 to 1962.

* Cumulative team batting averages would fall between .245ish to a record-high .302 season.

* I remember the Braves winning 102 games one season, then going 70-84 another.

365体育投注“Can we just deal?” he asked.

365体育投注“Get a scorebook,” I told him.

365体育投注We made our lineups, including starting pitchers, and off we went.

We played his current A’s versus my boys, the 1957 world-champion Braves.

365体育投注First game he won, 7-4.

365体育投注“Want to play another?” he asked.

!!!!!!!!

Other than his and his sister’s births, this was my finest hour.

365体育投注As we wrote our lineups for the rematch, he objected:

“Spahn can’t pitch two games in a row.”

Fine. In went Lew Burdette. So proud: He was caught up in this.

The second contest was a mismatch. Billy Bruton homered twice and Eddie Mathews drove in four in an 11-1 Milwaukee victory. Game time: 0:41. And there was a nice box score in my book to remind my kid just how good that ’57 squad was.

My little baseball-card game hit my brain about five years before Strat-O-Matic Baseball (1961) hit the store shelves.

365体育投注I remember how much fun I had with it. How rainouts came about (ever spill a drink at your desk?), who had the highest single-season batting average (Frank Torre, .388) and the most homers (Hank Aaron’s 57 came three years before Roger Maris clocked 61).

365体育投注I know, as you sit sequestered by the virus, you’re dying to know how the game was played, how the players’ abilities were weighed, etc. The beauty of this game is you can play alone and it will save you $800 on a PlayStation and a collection of video games. Pay attention:

* Get two decks of playing cards.

365体育投注* Keep three of the four jokers.

* Shuffle both decks together, thoroughly.

(Have you made out your lineups? Make sure you have two teams of your favorite players in the scorebook.)

* Each card counts as a play, and, after each play, enter the “action” next to the corresponding batter in your scorebook.

* After every three innings of regulation, shuffle the cards again.

365体育投注The values are straightforward, and after playing your first home stand, you will remember what each card means.

365体育投注Here’s what each card does:

* All aces and deuces are strikeouts.

365体育投注* Each red 5 is a walk.

* Each black 3, 4, 5 or 6 is a groundout to those positions (except the 5 of spades, which are stolen bases: every runner moves up); each red card of those four is a popout (except red fives, remember). A club 3, 4, 5 or 6 moves existing base runners up 90 feet while throwing the hitter out at first.

365体育投注* Each 7 (except the 7 of spades), 8 or 9 is a flyout. A club in any of those 7, 8 or 9s becomes a sacrifice fly if there is a runner at third and fewer than two outs. The 7 of spades is a triple.

* All 10s are singles, jacks are singles, black queens are singles, red queens are doubles, all kings are groundouts with no base-runner advance (pick which fielder you want to credit for these rollouts). If a 10, jack or queen of clubs comes up, runners advance two bases on the hit.

* And those three jokers? They’re outta here! Adios, pelota! Jokers are homers. (Note: You don’t want your Punch-and-Judy players doing better than the top of your lineup. For the bottom three hitters, if they are dealt jokers, they have to work for the HR. You have to guess the suit of the next card. If you don’t, that batter gets a double and that second card doesn’t count. If you guess the suit, the homer stands.)

365体育投注There also are byproducts of this card game …

* You can practice being a play-by-play announcer.

* During these uncertain times, you have something to do.

365体育投注* You can hone your scorekeeping skills while improving your penmanship.

* In keeping updated stats, your math skills grow.

365体育投注* And if you’re a fan of the past, you can bring the Old Days back to life.

365体育投注The more you play this game, the less you’ll want to return to work when it is safe. Play ball!

— Sports editor Bruce Gallaudet retooled a column from 2015 to provide a pastime idea while we’re all off our normal routines. Reach Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.

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