As the last weekend of March grew near, baseball fans were dreading the inevitable news that the season would be postponed until further notice. Then, like salt in the wound, stay at home orders put a pin in our favorite time of year.
Giving up baseball for the time being is not exactly tragic in the grand scheme of things. This pandemic has had a negative impact on so many people
around the world in many real, difficult and devastating ways. However, it’s okay to miss something that brings you so much joy and that has been such a big part of your life and community every summer! We definitely do.
True... devoted fans, spectators and fantasy leagues have not been able to join together to enjoy the baseball season. However, self-quarantine has presented a unique opportunity to bring the baseball spirit into your home.
In a sense, by playing catch in your yard you’re connecting to the very roots of baseball and how it originated back in early 19th century America. The pioneers of baseball started the sport back then because people needed to get creative with their time.
Sound familiar? Whether you’re sheltering in place with a friend, spouse, children, family, or self-quarantined solo, there are several ways to enjoy baseball from the comfort of your home. Playing a round of catch or your own makeshift games, rewatching classic games with friends, or hosting baseball trivia night over your go-to video conference platform are all ways to stay
connected and keep baseball alive during the continued shutdown orders. The good news is it looks like the wait might almost be over with the MLB’s recent announcement that baseball may be coming back Fourth of July weekend. But until then, we have compiled a list of fun games and activities for you to do at home to get back in the game and get excited for the next season.
1. A Good Ol’ Round of Sock BallSome of you may have a yard with enough space to set up a makeshift field. If so, you have a prime opportunity to get outside and play! For those of you who don’t have that luxury, not to worry. You can still get your game on.
Sock baseball is a version of indoor baseball that is as fun as it is comical! You may have a memory of playing sock ball as a child on a rainy day.
The set-up is simple! First, it’s important to make sure you remove all of the fragile, sharp or dangerous items from the room before you begin. Next, you’re going to want to roll up a pair of socks to use as your ball. Keep in mind - the heavier the sock, the further it will go.
Use whatever you have around you to designate bases around the room. You can use tables, couches, or lamps! If you only have enough space for two bases, that’s A-OK. The rules to sock ball are key to having the most fun and best laughs. They are as follows:
- Rule #1: You have to run on your knees or crawl!
- Rule #2: You must use the palm of your hand a
- s the bat and sock as the ball!
- Rule #3: Have fun! Of course, you and whoever you’re playing with can adjust or improvise the rules and regulations. There are many ways to mix it up and make it your own.
Some choose to use a “peg ball”, which means throwing the sock as you would in dodgeball, in order to record an out. Others play the sock off the wall or enforce specific rules based off of their environment. Get creative and have a good time with it!
2. Host a Baseball Trivia NightYou’ve probably heard someone say this more than one time during these times, but here it is again: thank goodness we have technology! FaceTime and other forms of video chatting have never felt so essential and exciting.
Hosting a baseball trivia night is a great way to connect with your friends, family and fellow baseball fans. If you don’t have the option of playing trivia around the table or living room with others, you can host the game over a video conferencing platform.
Plus, it’s easy to find lists of trivia questions online. Feel free to make up your own rules for your trivia night. Play in teams. Enforce “three strikes you’re out”. You can even turn it into a drinking game (if you’re of age, of course).
Baseball trivia will give you a nice dose of some healthy competition.
3. Baseball Name GameAnother entertaining game to play either around your kitchen table or over video chat is the baseball name game! Like trivia, it will require some impressive baseball knowledge. However, you won’t need anything but your voice and memory! The game works like this:
- Player 1 begins the game by saying the name of a professional baseball player (former or active)
- Player 2 now says a different player’s name. The trick is the first name of that player must start with the first letter of the last name that Player 1 chose.
Here’s an example. If Player 1 says “Mike Trout”, the next player might say “Terry Francona”. And so on and so forth.
There are two main rules other than that.
- Rule #1: A name can only be used once or else you get a strike.
- Rule #2: If a player cannot come up with a name, they get a strike.
- Rule #3: If you get three strikes, you’re out!
As always, you can add your own rules with time limits and other regulations. You can use a timer if you need!
4. Practicing Pitching and Catching with Two-BallPitchers will most likely be familiar with this next activity. If you ask a pitcher, they’ll probably tell you that they have played two-ball just as much as they have trained. This one requires multiple people. Typically, it is best played with 5 or more players, however it can be played with less. You’ll also need two baseballs. The game works like this:
- Grab your baseballs and get the group into a circle (standing).
- Player 1 starts with one ball in each hand.
- The same player will toss each ball, separately and underhanded, to a different player within the circle.
- Continue tossing the baseballs around the circle until one is dropped.
The rules of two-ball are as follows:
- Rule #1: If a ball is dropped, it counts as a strike for the player that missed it.
- Rule #2: If a ball is poorly thrown, it counts as a strike for the player that threw it.
- Rule #3: If two balls are tossed to a single player and both are caught, it counts as a strike for the player that threw the second ball.
5. Baseball Board GamesBaseball board games are another excellent way to keep baseball alive at home and fuel your competitive spirit. The following is a list of great baseball board games you might already have or can easily order online:
- Grandma Smiley’s - What About Baseball
- Across the Board Baseball
- Game Zone Super Stadium
- MLB Sluggers
- Scene It! Baseball Edition
- FoxMind Games Sports Dice
- Merchant Ambassador MLB Dice Pop-up Game
6. Stay Fit with Baseball Drills
While many of us are strictly spectators of the sport, many of us miss actually getting out on the field and playing with the team. All of this time at home has baseball players clawing at the walls, wishing they could get back out there.
Don’t let being stuck at home knock you off your game! You can kill time and fill the void by practicing drills. There are so many drills to hone in your pitching, batting, and catching skills, or strengthen your agility and stamina.
7. Baseball PokerThere is nothing better than a good card game to pass the time. Baseball poker gives your usual poker a nice twist and change of pace. A regular 52-card deck of cards will work!
Baseball poker is similar to regular poker. The difference is that 3s, 4s, and 9s are special because of their significance in baseball (three outs, four balls, and nine innings). 3s and 9s are wild cards, while 4s have a different specialty. If the number 4 card is dealt face up, it allows the recipient to an additional hole card, which the dealer immediately provides, face down. The best five-card hand wins!
8. MLB Channel, Podcasts, Talk Shows
Once again, technology saves the day. The MLB Channel, team podcasts and talk shows have provided a helpful way to get your baseball fix while also staying up to date with your favorite players and news.
9. Bust Out the Baseball CardsIf you still have your collection of baseball cards hiding somewhere in your closet, attic or basement, this is the time to bust them out. You can share a special and memorable moment with your children, friends or family by reminiscing over your former card trading days and show off your sweet collection.
You can also play the oldie, but goodie “Baseball Card All-Star Game”. This game is played by lining up your cards to create a baseball lineup of your choosing and then rolling a set of dice to decide the result of each player’s at-bat. Depending on your card collection, the All-Star game allows you to set your baseball fantasies free.
10. Baseball Video GamesWith a computer, video game console or even your smartphone, you can download several different baseball video games to help you pass the time. Here is a list of the most popular video games:
- MVP Baseball 2005
- MLB the Show 20
- Baseball Stars
- RBI Baseball
- Backyard Baseball
11. Watch Classic Baseball GamesWe may be deprived of the 2020 baseball season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t gather round the television to enjoy classic games of the past. Reminisce and share your memories over your favorite plays of all time.
12. Enjoy a Good Baseball BookFrom professional baseball player biographies to statistics and coaching books, curling up with a good book about your favorite sport or player is another great way to spend your quarantine days. Here is a list of some of the best baseball-related books.
- Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
- The Glory of their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told By the Men Who Played It
- Baseball Prospectus 2020
- 24 Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid
13. Watch Baseball MoviesAnother great way to feel that baseball energy that we all miss is to watch a baseball movie. The following is a list of the best baseball movies of all time.
- Bottom of the 9th
- Everybody Wants Some
- Trouble with the Curve
14. Watch International BaseballWhile American baseball is still on hold, other countries are a little later in the game and already returning to normal activities. In South Korea and China, baseball has resumed with the regular schedules.
Many professional baseball players have said watching KBO (Korean Baseball Championships) and CPBL (Chinese Professional Baseball League) and that is how they are getting their baseball fix in. You can stream the games on the ESPN app or if you have cable, on ESPN2.
In ConclusionQuarantine can’t keep our baseball spirits down. There are so many ways to stay connected, enjoy baseball, and keep your head in the game.
We’d like to thank all of the first responders and essential workers that have been the true heroes during this difficult time. And thank you for staying home, staying safe and doing what you can to flatten the curve - or should we say curveball?