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“This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 11/820,475, Filed Jun. 19, 2007, now abandoned.
1. Field of Invention
This invention pertains to games and more particularly to a scaled down and simplified baseball game version for indoor and outdoor playing, but dominantly designed for indoors.
The invention relates to an apparatus and method for playing a game and more particularly to a new game incorporating many aspects of traditional American baseball.
As America's favorite spectator sport, the game of baseball has remained essentially unchanged over the years, excepting some minor changes in rules and player equipment. For example, the basic playing field, duration and ball have remained virtually the same over the years. The total length of the infield between bases has remained at 90 feet in accordance with the appropriate rules (e.g., MLB or NCAA).
2. Prior Art
The game of baseball has been played in a number of forms throughout its history. A number of these baseball-like games have been played indoors or within netted enclosures.
For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,798,389 issued to Long, U.S. Pat. No. 4,973,061 issued to Catherall, U.S. Pat. No. 4,758,002 issued to Murphy discloses an indoor baseball facility with sides and a ceiling comprised of a mesh material, the sides and ceiling enclosing a playing field. The facility disclosed in Long is designed to allow balls to be played off of the sides in a rebounding fashion, and further has a designated home run zone located on the sides wherein a player scores a home run if he hits a ball into the zone.
Traditional baseball or softball facilities and rules simply do not lend to a game that is fast paced wherein a full game can be played in a relatively short length of time. In today's fast paced society, a baseball-like game that could provide an exciting rate of play, with a good aerobic workout, in approximately two-hours, would fit well into busy schedules.
3. Objects and Advantages
The present invention relates to an indoor sporting game and more particularly to an indoor baseball game. Baseball is a well known ball game that is played according to well established rules. It is desirable that baseball is played indoors such that the vagaries of the weather do not intervene.
The present invention is a baseball-like game played within an side enclosed facility, wherein the game rules and facility are designed for fast paced action. The inventive baseball-like game is designed to be played in a time span of approximately one hour. Accordingly, the following objects and advantages are to be achieved by the inventive baseball-like game and facility:
An object of the invention is to have a baseball-like game which can be played in less than two hours. Another object is to have a baseball-like game which provides for fast paced action and thereby provides a player with a greater aerobic workout than traditional baseball.
Still another object is to have an side enclosed facility providing a fast paced baseball-like game which can be housed indoors in arena or pavilion.
Further objects and advantages of the invention will be brought out in the following portions of the specification, wherein the detailed description is for the purpose of fully disclosing preferred embodiments of the invention, without placing limitations thereon.
It is the primary object of the invention to provide a variation of traditional American baseball that demands virtually all of the athletic skills of traditional baseball, but which is faster paced and may be played inside existing sports facilities.
It is another object of the invention to provide a game that can be safely played with spectators seated in close proximity to the playing field.
It is still another object of the invention to provide sufficient precautions to protect the players from indoor hazards resulting from a relatively small playing field, yet not mitigate the hard-nosed and fast-paced action of traditional American baseball.
In accordance with the present invention, a new game involving the advancement of a players across a playing field and over home plate has substantially the same rules as American baseball (e.g., MLB or NCAA) except that balls into may be deflected back onto the playing field as a “live” ball by a rebounding assembly that is elevated above the playing field.
In order to better assure that a ball batted into the rebounding assembly is typically returned to the playing field, the assembly is comprised of resilient material that after absorbing the kinetic energy of ball, returns a significant portion of it to reflecting the ball off the rebounding assembly. Although the material comprising the rebounding assembly returns much of the kinetic energy to the safety ball, it also is sufficiently elastic so that the safety ball usually has a return trajectory that may be anticipated. More specifically, the preferred shape of the ball is that of the commonly known American baseball which is a sphere, and such a shape is conducive to returns off the rebounding assembly. The elastic character of the rebounding assembly tends to negate the unpredictable effects of the round shape and bounce of the urethane ball.
Accordingly, it is a principle object and advantage of the present invention to improve and modify the rules of play of the game of baseball in a way that helps improve the overall excitement and entertainment value of the game by helping ensure that the best and most talented offensive athletes will have equal opportunity to compete.
The ball game of the present invention is played with a bat and safety ball. That bat and ball may be of any conventional type suitable for playing a ball game in a confined arena as described above, for example, a bat as used in baseball or softball.
A ball game using apparatus, as outlined above is played between two opposing teams, typically each of seven players, according to a set of rules. Designation of batting and fielding teams may be achieved through any equitable manner, such as through home and visitor.
The set of rules provides for the batting team to have a maximum batting innings, the innings alternating between the teams. During each batting innings a team batsman is limited to a predetermined number of balls pitched by the pitching team, for example seven balls.
This invention relates generally to a ball game played between opposing teams of players, and in particular to apparatus for playing that game. The game is applicable for indoor or arena play, such as within a suitably sized pavilion, and it will be convenient to hereinafter disclose the invention in relation to that exemplary application. It is to be appreciated, however, that the invention is not limited to that application.
A variety of ball games for player teams, traditionally developed for outdoor play, are now being played indoors so that they can be played all year round. Those games include tennis, football and basketball. A similar problem exists with softball, baseball, and like bat and ball games, and it is an object of the present invention to alleviate this problem through the provision of apparatus for playing such games indoors.
With that in mind, the present invention provides apparatus for playing an indoor ball game, including: a playing arena having a playing area surrounded by a padded wall means, a monster home run outfield wall and protective netting.
A ball game is preferably played using the above apparatus according to a predetermined set of rules. Those rules will preferably provide for the game to be played between two opposing teams of players, the aim of each team being to obtain a better score than the other team and thereby win the game. In that regard, the teams preferably take turns to bat (the batting team), and pitch and field the ball (the pitching team). Preferably, the rules will provide the team having the higher point tally at the end of the game winning.
The following description refers to a preferred embodiment of the apparatus and ball game of the present invention. To facilitate an understanding of the invention, reference is made in the description to the accompanying drawings where the apparatus is illustrated. It is understood the invention is not limited to the embodiment as hereinafter described and as illustrated.
The inventive game played within the inventive facility comprises the following rules; if a certain rule is not specifically addressed below, then standard baseball or softball rules can be assumed to apply:
The bat used in the inventive game is of regulation baseball dimensions. The ball used may be a urethane core safety baseball or softball. The wearing of uniforms by the players is optional. The use of leather mitts, catcher's face mask, and protective helmets are encouraged to enhance the safety of the inventive game.
A team is comprised of a maximum of seven (7) players in the preferred embodiment.
The game is controlled by at least one umpire, standing behind the catcher. Other umpires, such as base and line umpires, can be included to further officiate the game if desired.
A game comprises seven innings and seven pitches per batter. This duration and number of pitches has proven to provide a very fast action game which can be completed in a short period of time.
Ball hitting any portion of fence or screen in back of home plate is in play.
Pitched ball going into camera booth behind home plate: One base. Thrown ball: Two bases. Ball hitting padding and bouncing over: Two bases.
A fairly batted or thrown ball lodging in the padding: Two bases.
A fairly batted or thrown ball that goes into the dugout or strikes equipment on the dugout steps is considered in the dugout.
Ball hitting padding on outfield fence to foul or seating side of foul line is a dead ball.
Foul poles are in fair territory. Ball hitting roof or speakers in fair territory: if caught by fielder, batter is out and fielders advance at their own risk.
Ball hitting roof or speakers in fair territory shall be judged fair or foul in relation to where it hits the ground or is touched by a fielder.
Any ball that hits the speaker or roof in foul territory is a foul ball; if, however, the ball is caught by fielder, the batter is out and base runners advance at their own risk.
A ball that hits speaker in foul territory and ricochets back into fair territory is still a foul ball; if the ball is caught by fielder, the batter is out and base runners advance at their own risk.
Cell urethane core covered with an outer cover of leather which is softer than a conventional game ball and is less injurious to players and spectators.
Consequently, if a fly ball strikes anywhere over the confines of the home run monster wall, the ball is counted as a home run.
Each team preferably has seven players.
The teams take turn in batting and fielding with the end of each innings being determined by three batters out. Once a batter has exhausted seven pitches without securing a base via walk, hit or hit batsman that batter is considered a strike out by default.
Use of six players or less, conventional baseballs, softballs and strike zone field screen.
Finally, although the description above contains many specifics, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. This inventive facility and baseball-like game may be altered and rearranged in numerous ways by one skilled in the art without departing from the coverage of the appended claims.
Turning to the drawings and referring first to FIG. 1, a playing field for the game of the present invention preferably has a total length of at least approximately 200 feet (60.96 meters) and a total width of approximately 85 feet (25.91 meters). Because the playing field is typically located inside a standard-sized arena, the field is typically circumscribed by a wall, separating the field from the surrounding spectator area. The playing field is covered by a synthetic turf or padding similar to that found in many stadiums used for traditional American football or hardwood found in gymnasiums. By providing a playing field of approximately 200 feet by 85 feet, the game may be played in an indoor facility which includes a hockey rink of regulation size as defined by the National Hockey League (i.e., 200 feet by 85 feet).
Referring to the drawings, the inventive facility is shown in FIG. 1. The inventive facility is comprised of an enclosure having four vertical sides, and preferably made from nylon mesh material. The mesh material is capable of retaining a regulation sized baseball or softball within the enclosure. The mesh material is sprung to a tension using cables (not shown) for allowing a fly ball to rebound upon impact with the sides of the enclosure.
FIG. 1 is a plan view of the playing field defined by the sides of enclosure. The playing field is comprised of an infield and an outfield. FIG. 2 infield is comprised of a home base, a first base, second base, third base and pitching mound.
FIG. 1 RIGHT SIDE PERSPECTIVE VIEW
FIG. 2 TOP VIEW