Where I am in Pennsylvania, snow blankets the ground and the temperatures are still in the 30-40 degree range. Not great baseball weather to say the least. Scrimmages and games are cancelled and players have to make the trek back into the gyms for indoor practices that, although can be productive, are just not the same as getting outside. Hitting stations, tee work, and base stealing in the hallways gets old in a hurry. Not much excitement indoors.
Unless, of course, you organize an indoor scrimmage!
A high school coach and I put our heads together and came up with this idea for his team and another that had to cancel a pre-season scrimmage. Here are some of the details of how they ran it …
Three indoor mounds were set up. The home team had three pitchers face three batters from the opposing team. As you will see in the photos, all players were in uniform and three real umpires were present to call balls and strikes. Batters that stood-in on the pitchers each held a 12″ handle of a bat (all made from old or broken wood and metal bats) to make the feel more authentic in the box. Batters swung on the strikes (not supposed to hit the ball of course) and took the balls. Walks were runs for the team who was batting. A called third strike resulted in a run taken away. After each pitcher got three “outs” according to how they set up the rules, they sat down and the other team’s pitchers and batters did the same just like a normal inning change.
Both teams kept detailed pitching charts to assess their pitchers and even used them to create another point system for things like first-pitch strikes, 4-pitch walks, hitting locations, etc. that added some competition within the team’s pitching staff as well.
Photos and a video clip of the event are below.
Overall, it looked like a great use of time and allowed both teams to get some much needed looks at live pitching from different arms in a semi-competitive arena. Not exactly like a real outdoor game but better than nothing! As you will see, it was in a school gym so no batted balls were permitted. If you have access to a large indoor baseball facility, you might be able to have batters hit.
If any of you around the country have done something similar or decide to do something like this in the future, shoot me an email at BaseballByTheYard@gmail.com and tell me how you ran it! If you can, send pictures too!