Title:
Backyard game and method for play
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention relates to a game for backyard play or other small areas not normally accessible for baseball play. Additionally, the game can be played with far fewer players than would normally be required by using a series of net devices for catching and holding the ball when thrown or hit at the device. These net devices are used in place of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and catcher positions, allowing the game to be played with as little as 2 players.



Inventors:
Gibson, Mark J. (Califon, NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/886813
Publication Date:
01/12/2006
Filing Date:
07/09/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B67/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIU, RALEIGH W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Joanne M. Billmers (406 Rosemont - Ringoes Road, Stockton, NJ, 08559, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A game comprising a ball, a means for striking the ball and a plurality of net devices for catching and holding the ball when thrown or hit, played by two or more players.

2. The net device of claim 1 wherein the net device comprises a frame, a netting material securely attached to the frame and a stand for supporting said frame and netting material in a position capable of catching and holding a ball or toy thrown or hit at said device.

3. The frame of claim 2 wherein the frame measures from 30 to 150 cm in diameter or along a side.

4. The stand of claim 2 wherein the stand is insertable into soft ground or sand for support.

5. The stand of claim 2 wherein the stand is self-supporting for use on hard or non-porous surfaces.

6. The stand of claim 2 wherein the stand folds flat to the frame for storage.

7. The game of claim 1 wherein the net devices are used as infielders in the game of baseball.

8. The game of claim 1 wherein four net devices are used to represent play at 1st, 2nd, 3rd and home plate.

9. The game of claim 1 wherein the nets are placed at the corners of a square 10 to 30 meters on each side.

10. The game of claim 1 wherein the ball and means for striking the ball are made of plastic.

11. A method for playing a game which comprises the following steps: a pitcher throws a ball to a batter, the batter strikes the ball, the ball flies, rolls or bounces out to the playing field, the pitcher or other players catch the ball and throw it to one of a plurality of net devices which serve as basemen.

12. A net device comprising a frame, a netting material securely attached to said frame and a stand for supporting said frame and netting material for the purpose of catching and holding a ball or toy thrown or hit at said device.

13. The device of claim 12 wherein the netting material is made of nylon, cotton or chain.

14. The device of claim 12 wherein the frame is from 30 to 150 cm in diameter or along a side.

15. The device of claim 12 wherein the stand holds the frame and netting material on an angle between vertical and horizontal.

16. The device of claim 12 wherein the stand is insertable into soft ground or sand for support.

17. The device of claim 12 wherein the stand is self-supporting for use on hard or non-porous surfaces.

18. The device of claim 12 wherein the stand folds flat to the frame for storage.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

With more and more neighborhoods becoming urbanized there is a need for simple games that can be played in the protection and security of one's own back yard. Most popular organized sports (such as baseball, football or soccer) require a large number of players and some type of large grassy area where balls can be hit or kicked.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The subject of this invention relates to a game that closely simulates baseball, yet requires a minimum of only two players. The game is played with some form of bat or hitting device and a ball or other suitable toy. A series of 4 net devices are placed at the baseball field positions of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and home plate and act as the appropriate basemen. The ball or toy is thrown by the player at the pitcher's location (“pitcher”) and hit or kicked by the player at home base (“batter”). The batter runs the bases in a traditional baseball style and the pitcher, now acting as the fielder, tries to get the runner out by throwing the ball or toy into the corresponding net device (base). Play continues on an alternating basis until a predetermined number of innings has been played.

Similar games more closely resembling kickball and using a choice of toys including but not limited to a flying disc, football, or other backyard toy able to be kicked, hit, pitched or launched could be adapted to and are within the scope of this invention. The ball or toy may be kicked, launched or simply thrown by the player at home base rather than hit with a bat.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The game as described in this invention requires a set of net devices to be used as the infielders in a baseball type game. The net devices are positioned at the base locations of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and home plate on a traditional baseball diamond. The net devices of this game are capable of catching and holding a ball or other toy approximately 5 to 30 cm in diameter and weighing anywhere between 10 and 1000 g. Examples of balls that might be used to play the game include but are not limited to: baseballs, tennis balls, sponge-filled balls, softballs, t-balls, footballs, plastic balls and hollow dimple balls. Examples of other toys that might be used to play the game include but are not limited to: flying discs, foam rockets and boomerangs.

One skilled in the art will recognize that virtually any ball or toy that can be pitched, hit, kicked or launched would be acceptable for this game, but that soft and lightweight toys would offer the player a level of safety and be more suitable for use in a backyard. In an embodiment of this invention the balls would be made out of plastic.

The means for striking the ball can be made out of any suitable material including wood, metal, plastic, or compressed paper. Non-limiting examples would be a baseball bat, broomstick, plastic bat, PVC pipe, little league bat, cricket bat, or any type of paddle or racquet. The purpose is to strike the pitched ball or toy thus starting the play. In an embodiment of this invention the toy is not pitched but is simply kicked, thrown or launched by the player at home base (“batter”).

The net devices of this game are designed to catch and contain or hold a ball or toy that has been thrown, kicked, launched or hit. The net devices will typically be between 30 and 150 cm in diameter or along each side of a square or rectangle, but can be of almost any other shape. The net devices will consist of three parts; the frame, the netting material and the stand. The frame will be made of metal, plastic or wood and will typically be round, oval, square or rectangular and capable of securely holding the netting material. The netting material will be nylon, cotton, metal chain or other tear-resistant material. The netting material will have an open weave resembling a fishing net with holes of 0.1 to 5 cm. One skilled in the art would recognize that the holes (openings in the weave) must be smaller that the ball or toy being caught and held.

The stand will be made of metal, plastic or wood and will support the frame independently on hard surfaces such as concrete or hardwood flooring. Optionally the stand can be equipped with wheels or casters for the purpose of mobility. In an embodiment of this invention the stand will fold flat for easier storage. In another embodiment the frame will be equipped with a means for inserting the frame into soft ground or sand. Such means include, but are not limited to spikes, stakes, or the pointed end of the frame.

EXAMPLES

The following is an example of how the game might be played to simulate baseball with a small number of players.

Place the net devices to squarely face the pitcher. This will provide all players with a clear view of the ball to see if it has been caught in the net device before the runner reaches the base.

Net Locations:

The first net device should be placed directly behind home plate, which doubles as the strike zone. The second net device should be placed to the left of 1st base (2 feet to the left and 2 feet back, towards right field). The third net device should be placed to the left of 2nd base (2 feet to the left and 2 feet back, towards centerfield). The fourth net device should be placed to the left of 3rd base (2 feet to the left and 2 feet back, into foul territory).

The Strike Zone (Home Plate):

A ball pitched and caught in the air by the home plate net device is a strike. A ball that is swung at and missed is a strike, even if not caught by net device. Three strikes and the batter is out. Every ball caught in the net device being run toward, before a runner reaches the base, is an out. If a player chooses to step on the base before the runner gets there, instead of throwing to the net device, the runner is out. As with fundamental baseball rules, a player can also “tag” the runner with the ball and the runner is called out, as long as the ball is not dropped. Base runners are also called out when the ball is thrown and caught by or bounces into a net device at the base being run toward, if it is caught before the runner reaches the base. This may be 1st, 2nd, 3rd or home plate.

If a runner is caught in a “pickle” between two bases, a player can throw to either net device at the bases the runner is between. If the net device catches the ball before the runner reaches either base, the runner is called out.

If a pitched ball hit in the air bounces into any net device, the batter is called out. If a pitched ball is hit on the ground into the 1st or 2nd base net devices, the batter is called out. If a batter hits a ground ball into the 3rd base net device, the hit is ruled a “foul” ball because the net device is located in “foul” territory.

Sacrifice Fly:

When a ball is caught in the air by a player, a runner on base may try to advance after the ball is caught. The player(s) in the field may try to throw the runner out at the next base.

Overthrown Balls:

A ball overthrown by a player, past the net devices at 1st and 3rd base or home plate, when trying to force out a runner, allows all runners to advance one base from the base to which they are running. The ball is now considered “out of play.” Play stops and the runners advance one base. If a ball is overthrown by a player to second base, and the ball stays within the playing field, runners can advance to “all they can get.” Runners advance at their own risk because the ball is still in play.