In Getting the Boys Snipped, I wrote a brief introduction to some of the more famous baseball characters in the Prytania neighborhood. Today I thought I might try to condense 3-4 years of neighborhood baseball games into one short story. As I just wrote that last sentence, I had to stop to feel the impact from this statement. It really was only just a few years of park baseball because we moved into the neighborhood when I was in 5th grade. My baseball playing group would have become too big for the park when I hit 8th or 9th grade as it was a small park. It feels like it was so much longer than just a few short years; everything is larger when you’re young, even time itself. Continue reading
While growing up in the Prytania/Ridgelawn Alley in the 70’s, we played a heck of a lot of baseball. Speaking at least for all the boys, if you lived on our block, you played in the baseball games. I can only recall two boys in my age range who never played baseball in the pickup games and that was only because both were very interested in football and not baseball. On occasion kids, who were friends with one or more of us but not living on our block, would come in and play ball with us. This happened quite a lot because at least within a mile or so our block had quite a reputation for having a ball game going on every day in the small park up the street. One of these kids was named Kevin Campbell. If I remember correctly, Kevin was Tommy Mathews’ friend and I think he might even have played on Tommy & Rich’s Little League team, the team that the Mathews’ dad coached for.
Summer evenings were wonderful on Prytania Avenue. With over 30 kids around my age on our city block, we rarely had a shortage of ideas for new and exciting games to play. One such game played over the course of 2-3 summers we called “Batball”. When playing baseball we would need a certain number of kids needed to field a team, gloves for our hands in order to catch the balls, bases (or dirt spots on the ground) and a bat with which to hit the ball. Baseball was also played during the daytime.
Almost everything about batball was the opposite of baseball. It was played at night, there were no bases, there were no gloves in batball, there was no team, no runs and no need to keep score. All that was needed to play batball was a light “whiffle” ball and nature – specifically real bats! Yes, I’m talking about the flying kind; the kind of bat that could pass rabies to us if it chose to latch onto your neck and suck your blood….those kind of bats. Bats only come out at night so that’s why this was a nighttime ‘game’. Actually to be considered an official ‘game’ I guess there has to be some kind of score or at least a winner and a loser. If we all had fun that night, we all won. Only once can I ever remember anyone even coming close to being a loser in batball. The rules of batball were simple and I document them here just in case you would like to play this game for yourself at home. Continue reading