Title:
Game Equipment and Method of Play
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A kit of ball equipment and methodology for game play involving two teams includes a ball having a frusto-spherical configuration, a bat with which a user may strike the ball in mid-air, and a ground marker configured to indicate a target on a ground surface to which a ball is to be returned after the ball is struck mid-air. The ground marker, e.g. a chalk circle, is preferably sized to encircle the batter when attempting to hit a ball. A batter, in turn, attempts to hit a ball initially positioned by the batter relative to or against his body and released therefrom. Outs may be recorded if a batter misses the ball while attempting to bat, if the fielding team catches a hit ball, or if the fielding team rolls a hit ball back to the ground marker. After a predetermined number of outs are recorded, the teams switch positions.



Inventors:
Jarimba, Jose A. (Pharr, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/875049
Publication Date:
04/23/2009
Filing Date:
10/19/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B67/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ream Law Firm, L.L.C. (OTTAWA, KS, US)
Claims:
1. Game equipment, comprising: a frusto-spherical ball; a bat for a user to strike said ball mid-air; and a ground marker configured to indicate a target on a ground surface for said ball after said ball is struck mid-air.

2. The game equipment as in claim 1, wherein: said bat has a generally spherical grip end and a generally spherical distal end; said distal end has a diameter greater than a diameter of said grip end; and a wrist strap is attached to said grip end for placement about said user's wrist to tether said grip end to said user.

3. The game equipment as in claim 2, wherein said ball has a diameter approximately equal to said grip end diameter.

4. The game equipment as in claim 3, wherein said ground marker is sized to encircle said user.

5. The game equipment as in claim 4, wherein said ground marker is a mat, paint, or chalk.

6. The game equipment as in claim 1, wherein said ground marker is sized to encircle said user.

7. The game equipment as in claim 6, wherein: said ground marker is a mat, paint, or chalk; said bat has a generally spherical grip end and a generally spherical distal end; said distal end has a diameter greater than a diameter of said grip end; and a wrist strap is attached to said grip end for placement about a user's wrist to tether said grip end to said user.

8. A kit of game equipment, comprising: a ball; a bat for a user to strike said ball mid-air; and a ground marker configured to indicate a target on a ground surface for said ball after said ball is struck mid-air, said ground marker being sized to encircle said user.

9. The kit of game equipment as in claim 8, wherein said ball has a frusto-spherical configuration.

10. The kit of game equipment as in claim 9, wherein: said bat has a generally spherical grip end and a generally spherical distal end; said distal end has a diameter greater than a diameter of said grip end; and a wrist strap is attached to said grip end for placement about a user's wrist to tether said grip end to said user.

11. The kit of game equipment as in claim 10, wherein said ground marker is a mat, paint, or chalk.

12. The kit of game equipment as in claim 8, wherein said ground marker is a mat, paint, or chalk.

13. The kit of game equipment as in claim 12, wherein: said ball is has a diameter approximately equal to said grip end diameter; and said ball is constructed of foam.

14. The kit of game equipment as in claim 8, wherein said ground marker is a mat.

15. A method of playing a game, the method comprising the steps: (A) providing a ball, a bat, and a ground marker configured to indicate a target on a ground surface; (B) having a batting player release said ball from a first predetermined position relative to said batting player; (C) having said batting player attempt to strike said ball with said bat after releasing said ball from said first predetermined position and before said ball reaches a ground surface; (D) having a fielding player attempt to catch said ball before said ball reaches said ground surface if said ball is struck by said bat; (E) having said fielding player retrieve said ball and attempt to throw said ball into said target from wherever said ball is retrieved if said ball is struck by said bat and said ball reaches said ground surface; (F) scoring a respective first point for said batting player if: said bat strikes said ball and said ball is not caught by said fielding player before said ball reaches a ground surface; and said fielding player does not throw said ball into said target from wherever said ball is retrieved; (G) scoring an out for said batting player if said batting player does not strike said ball with said bat after releasing said ball and before said ball reaches said ground surface; (H) scoring an out for said batting player if said fielding player catches said ball after said ball is struck by said bat and before said ball reaches said ground surface; and (I) scoring an out for said batting player if: said fielding player retrieves said ball after said ball is struck by said bat and after said ball reaches said ground surface; and said fielding player throws said ball into said target from wherever said ball is retrieved.

16. The method as in claim 15, further comprising the steps: (J) having said batting player release said ball from a second predetermined position relative to said batting player; (K) having said batting player attempt to strike said ball with said bat after releasing said ball from said second predetermined position and before said ball reaches a ground surface; (L) having said fielding player attempt to catch said ball before said ball reaches said ground surface if said ball is struck by said bat after being released from said second predetermined position; (M) having said fielding player retrieve said ball and attempt to throw said ball into said target from wherever said ball is retrieved if said ball is struck by said bat after being released from said second predetermined position and said ball reaches said ground surface; (N) scoring a respective second point for said batting player if: said bat strikes said ball after being released from said second predetermined position and said ball is not caught by said fielding player before said ball reaches a ground surface; and said fielding player does not throw said ball into said target from wherever said ball is retrieved; (O) scoring an out for said batting player if said batting player does not strike said ball released from said second predetermined position with said bat before said ball reaches said ground surface; (P) scoring an out for said batting player if said fielding player catches said ball after said ball released from said second predetermined position is struck by said bat and before said ball reaches said ground surface; and (Q) scoring an out for said batting player if: said fielding player retrieves said ball after said ball released from said second predetermined position is struck by said bat and after said ball reaches said ground surface; and said fielding player throws said ball into said target from wherever said ball is retrieved.

17. The method as in claim 16, wherein: said first point has a first value; said second point has a second value; and said first value and said second value are not equal.

18. The method as in claim 17, wherein: said fielding player is part of a first team comprised of multiple players; said batting player is part of a second team comprised of multiple players; and said first team at least partially encircles said batting player.

19. The method as in claim 18, wherein: said ball is frusto-spherical; said bat has a generally spherical grip end and a generally spherical distal end; said distal end has a diameter greater than a diameter of said grip end; a wrist strap is attached to said grip end for placement about said batting player's wrist to tether said grip end to said batting player; said ground marker is a mat, paint, or chalk; and said ground marker is configured to encircle said batting player.

20. The method as in claim 15, wherein: said fielding player is part of a first team comprised of multiple players; said batting player is part of a second team comprised of multiple players; said first and second teams switch positions; and each said second team player has a turn at being said batting player before said first and second teams switch positions.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to toys and games and, more particularly, to a bat and ball type game in which one team of players attempts in turn to strike a ball into a fielding area occupied by another team of players. The fielding team of players attempts to either catch the ball or return it into a target area.

Outdoor games involving hitting, catching, and throwing a ball are popular because they are entertaining for both children and adults, promote exercise, and contribute to improved coordination and dexterity. More particularly, games such as baseball that involve hitting a ball into a fielding area have been very popular and entertaining pastimes for many years. Although assumably effective for their intended purposes, the existing games do not provide equipment or a methodology that allows the game to be played spontaneously in a limited playing space or that promotes new and challenging hitting and fielding requirements.

Therefore, it would be desirable to have game equipment and a methodology for playing a game that involves a bat and ball that may be used almost spontaneously by any number of players and in a relatively confined space. Further, it would be desirable to have game equipment and a methodology for playing a game that provides challenging starter ball positions on or relative to a batter's body prior to attempting to hit a ball. In addition, it would be desirable to have equipment and a methodology for a game in which a non-batting team may record an out by rolling a hit ball into a target area.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, a kit of ball equipment and methodology for game play involving two teams includes a ball having a frusto-spherical configuration, a bat with which a user may strike the ball in mid-air, and a ground marker configured to indicate a target on a ground surface to which a ball is to be returned after the ball is struck mid-air. The ground marker, e.g. a chalk circle, is preferably sized to encircle the batter when attempting to hit a ball. The bat includes a generally spherical grip and a generally spherical distal end with the distal end having a diameter greater than a diameter of the grip end. The ball is generally spherical with a truncated feature, such as a flat side, which may cause the ball to stop rolling more quickly than a wholly spherical ball after being hit or thrown. This feature enables the present game to be played in spaces smaller than a traditional baseball field. In turn, each batter of the batting team positions a ball relative to or against his body, releases it therefrom, and then attempts to strike it with the bat. As one team is batting, the other team may be spread out about a predetermined field area. Outs may be recorded if a batter misses the ball while attempting to bat, if the fielding team catches a hit ball, or if the fielding team rolls a hit ball back to the ground marker. After a predetermined number of outs are recorded, the teams switch positions.

Therefore, a general object of this invention is to provide equipment and a methodology for a game in which teams alternate between batting and fielding positions.

Another object of this invention is to provide equipment and a methodology for a game, as aforesaid, that may be quickly set up and played by any number of players and in a relatively confined outdoor space.

A further object of this invention is to provide equipment and a methodology for a game, as aforesaid, in which a batter initiates a batting attempt with no action of the fielding team.

Still another object of this invention is to provide equipment and a methodology for a game, as aforesaid, in which a batter may initiate each batting attempt by first positioning a ball against his body and then releasing it.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide equipment and a methodology for a game, as aforesaid, in which a fielding team may record outs by catching a struck ball or rolling the ball back to a ground marker.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein is set forth by way of illustration and example, embodiments of this invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a bat according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a ball according to the invention;

FIG. 3 is a flowchart illustrating game play according to a methodology of the present invention;

FIG. 4a is a diagram illustrating one player arrangement for game play according to the present invention; and

FIG. 4b is a diagram illustrating another arrangement for game play according to the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Game equipment 100 and a method 200 of play using the equipment 100 according to the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to FIGS. 1 through 4b of the accompanying drawings. More particularly, according to the current invention, game equipment 100 (i.e., a kit of game equipment) includes a bat 110, a ball 120, and a ground marker 130.

As shown in FIG. 1, the bat 110 may have a generally spherical grip end 112 and a generally spherical distal end 114. The distal end 114 may have a diameter greater than a diameter of the grip end 112. For example, the distal end 114 may be approximately four inches in circumference and the grip end 112 may be approximately two and a half inches in circumference. The bat 110 may be any appropriate length, such as sixteen inches, for example, and the bat 110 may be constructed of various materials including, for example, wood, metal, and/or plastic. A wrist strap 115 may be attached to the grip end 112 of the bat 110 for placement about a user's wrist to tether the grip end 112 to the user.

The ball 120 may be frusto-spherical, as shown in FIG. 2. In other words, the ball 120 may be generally spherical with a truncated feature 122. While the ball 120 may be any appropriate size, it is currently preferred that the ball 120 have a diameter approximately equal to the diameter of the bat grip end 112. The ball 120 may be constructed of various materials, including foam and/or plastic, for example.

The ground marker 130, as shown in FIGS. 4a and 4b, is configured to indicate a target on a ground surface 10 for the ball 120 after the ball 120 is struck mid-air by the bat 110. The ground marker 130 may be sized to encircle a user (FIGS. 4a and 4b), and according to one embodiment, is at least thirty-two inches in diameter. The ground marker 130 may be a mat, paint, chalk, or any other appropriate indicator, and the ground marker 130 may form a ring around the user or ground marker 130 may extend underneath the user (i.e., so that the user may stand on the ground marker 130).

One method 200 of play using the equipment 100 is shown in FIGS. 3 through 4b. At a first step S1, the bat 110, the ball 120, and the ground marker 130 are provided. Fielding players 12 that make up a first team are positioned around the ground marker 130. The fielding players 12 may partially encircle the ground marker 130 (FIG. 4a) or completely encircle the ground marker 130 (FIG. 4b). The particular arrangement of the fielding players may be predetermined by the teams before game play begins. The method 200 continues to step S2.

At step S2, one player (i.e., a “batter” or “batting player”) from a second team of players 14 stands inside the area marked by the ground marker 130. The method 200 continues to step S3.

At step S3, the batter releases the ball 120 from a first predetermined position relative to the batter and attempts to strike the ball 120 with the bat 110 after releasing the ball 120 and before the ball 120 reaches the ground. The method 200 continues to step S4, where it is determined whether the batter did not strike the ball 120 with the bat 110 before the ball 120 reached the ground. If the ball 120 reached the ground without being struck by the bat 110, the method 200 proceeds to step S9; if not (i.e., if the batter struck the ball 120 with the bat 110 before the ball 120 reached the ground), the method 200 continues to step S5.

At step S5, the fielding players 12 attempt to catch the ball 120 after the ball 120 is struck by the bat 110 but before the ball 120 reaches the ground. If the ball 120 is caught before hitting the ground, the method 200 proceeds to step S9; if not, the method 200 continues to step S6.

At step S6, one of the fielding players 12 retrieves the ball 120 and attempts to throw the ball 120 into the target formed by the ground marker 130. The throw must be made from wherever the ball 120 is retrieved, and the batter must leave the vicinity of the ground marker 130 for the throw to be safely attempted. If the ball is thrown into the target area marked by the ground marker 130, the method 200 proceeds to step S9. If not, the method 200 continues to step S7. The frusto-spherical configuration of the ball 120 may keep the ball 120 from rolling excessively, and as such, may be helpful in landing the ball 120 in the target area marked by the ground marker 130.

At step S7, a point is scored for the batter, and the method 200 proceeds to step S8. At step S8, the batter releases the ball 120 from a different predetermined position relative to the batter, and the method 200 proceeds to step S3, where the batter again attempts to strike the ball 120 with the bat 110 after releasing the ball 120 and before the ball 120 reaches the ground.

At step S9, an out is scored for the batter. The method 200 proceeds from step S9 to step S10. At step S10, it is determined if there are a predetermined number of outs (e.g., three). If not, the method proceeds to step S2 with a new batter from the second team 14 stands inside the area marked by the ground marker 130, and the method 200 continues to step S3. If so, the method proceeds to step S11, where the first and second teams of players 12, 14 switch positions (i.e., the players that were fielding become the players batting, and vice versa), and the method 200 proceeds to step S2, where a player 12 stands inside the area marked by the ground marker 130. In another embodiment, each player 14 attempts to hit the ball 120 before the first and second teams of players 12, 14 switch positions.

In practicing the method 200, the batter releases the ball 120 from one or more predetermined position relative to the batter and attempts to strike the ball 120 with the bat 110, as noted above. In one exemplary position, the batter may hold the bat 110 in one hand and the ball 120 in the other hand. Positioning the ball 120 right above the bat 110, the ball 120 may be released in a free fall. In another exemplary position, the batter may hold the bat 110 in a central location (i.e., between the grip and distal ends 112, 114). The ball 120 may be positioned above the bat 110 and released in a free fall, and the batter may have to knock the ball back up with the grip end 112 before striking the ball 120. In yet another exemplary position, the batter may hold the bat 110 by the grip end 112 and place the ball 120 atop his shoe, using the truncated feature 122 to steady the ball 120. The batter may then lift his foot in a rapid motion, springing the ball up into the air. In still yet another exemplary position, the batter may place the ball 120 on his forehead by bending backwards, using the truncated feature 122 to steady the ball 120. The batter may then bend forward to release the ball 120 from his forehead. In a different exemplary position, the batter may place the ball 120 on one of his ears by bending his head sideways. The batter may then move his head back into is usual upright position to release the ball 120.

Different values may be associated with points gained from different predetermined positions. For example, one point may potentially be awarded for striking the ball 120 from the position in which the ball 120 is released from above the bat 110, while two points may potentially be awarded for striking the ball 120 from the position in which the batter knocks the ball back up with the grip end 112 before striking the ball 120.

It is understood that while certain forms of this invention have been illustrated and described, it is not limited thereto except insofar as such limitations are included in the following claims and allowable functional equivalents thereof.