Lack of real players also affected the way you'd manage baserunning. If you
were on base in a punchball game and it was your turn to hit, someone would
pinch run for you. In situations where there were too few men to cover the
bases, you'd employ phantoms, calling out "Imaginary runner on first."
Imaginary runner(s), were cosmically linked, invisibly bound and of the exact
same speed as a real runner stationed on another base. In a situation with a
imaginary runner on first and a real runner on second, if the fielding player
caught a ground ball and stepped on second before the real runner went from
second to third, the imaginary runner would be forced out. Questionable force
outs of phantom runners was fodder for many a heated street game argument.
Keeping track of the score in these games was an important assignment.
Sometimes, one of the guys sitting out would serve as "official scorekeeper,"
but both teams usually had to keep tabs on what was going on and be willing to
vociferously argue their case when a disagreement arose. Explaining the
circumstances of the last several runs or outs was critical, for truth and
justice would win out if you could prove your point. The most severe
arguments usually revolved around judgement calls in close plays made in the
heat of competition. While some kids would be known to play unfairly and argue
even when they knew they were wrong, most arguments reflected honest
disagreements. During these debates passions would flare, fights could arise
and the need for cool heads and methods of arbitration were key