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Tools of the trade
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Box baseball

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The world's smallest hardball diamond: 3 sidewalk boxes


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Box baseball really lets the rubber ball show its pizzazz. Its hollow inside and pliable exterior let you squeeze it to produce quite a spin. Spin is an understatement, perhaps a better description would be that with a flick of the wrist, you can make that ball dance and create a physically impressive, generally awesome, supremely unhittable box baseball pitch.

Box baseball provides a full baseball paradigm on a postage-stamp-sized field. You use three boxes. The box closest to each player is the fair zone for hits and pitches, and the middle box is foul territory. The pitcher leans in and pitches an underhand lob (with or without a spin) into the hitter's box. The batter straddles the box and tries to slap the ball into the pitcher's box, hoping it would not be caught.

Some guys can put so much spin on a ball that, unless you had arms like Wilt Chamberlain, there's no way you can hit it. You can edge up and straddle the box as close as you can, hoping that by leaning in you'll get a piece of the ball. After the swing, you have to make sure to keep all body parts out of the box or else you're out. Good balance and the ability to stretch are some of the subtleties to this game.
 
Boy playing box baseball
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Box baseball: all you need is a spaldeen and a sidewalk
Different streets have different sized boxes, and the size of the box can totally determine the outcome of the game. Thinner/shorter boxes let guys with the basic boxball/handball skills to do better because they're able to hit the ball. Bigger boxes are advantageous to the pitcher's skills.

On wide or long fields where the pitcher has too much of an advantage, you might make a rule that if the pitch is not hit, then at least it has to have been "hittable," or if "unhittable," thrown within a very narrow range of perfection. This is accomplished by requiring the second bounce to occur either in the hitter's "strike" box, or in the adjacent box in which the hitter stands.


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