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15 July 2008

Kickball revolution! So I'm on a kickball team, and I've been thinking about throws from outfield.[More:]

When a ball is kicked into the outfield and not caught, usually a relay of cut-off people, with different skill levels in the discipline of throwing big red bouncy balls, ends up slowly and laboriously tossing the ball into the infield only to find that the kicker has already cleared the bases and made it home, or at least to third.

There's nothing in the rules that says the outfielder can't drop the ball and kick it to third, or home, if they can, instead of throwing it.

With a little practice, I bet I can land a big red bouncy ball on a postage stamp in a fraction of the time it takes for five people to pass the ball all the way to the pitcher.

I think this innovation might just change the game of kickball as we know it. My housemate and I will be acquiring a big red bouncy ball and kicking it around in Queensbridge Park to test this revolutionary new technique this week after work.

By Gum, I think I'm onto something!
The powers-that-be may respond by changing the rules to close this loophole. You'll be the Jackie Robinson of kickball. Except without that whole breaking the color barrier thing. I assume.
posted by Joe Invisible 15 July | 12:43
Another wrinkle that just dawned on me: since one way of getting someone out is to bean them with the ball, this kicking thing might be a fast and accurate way to get quick outs from anywhere on the field.

But yeah, I can imagine the rules changing pretty quickly if I started kicking the ball at baserunners. Yikes!
posted by Hugh Janus 15 July | 13:03
Quick outs from anywhere in the field? Just how good a kicker are you, Hugh? Your efforts might be better expended as the Babe Ruth of kickball than as the Bill Veeck.
posted by box 15 July | 13:11
I got skills that jingle-jangle-jingle.

See, and now most of this is in the realm of speculation still, the wild inaccuracy involved with kicking a big red bouncy ball mostly lies in the fact that it tends to be rolling toward you when you kick it, i.e. it's been pitched to you and you're "batting."

I'm guessing that soccer-style kicking with the ball stationary or rolling away from the kicker would result in much more accurate placement.

Of course, I'll be testing all these theories before my next game, and if it turns out that there is, in fact, no controlling a big red bouncy ball with a foot, then I'll hang up my cleats and start thinking about those wide receiver's gloves with the gecko pads that stick to anything, or coating my hands in pine tar.
posted by Hugh Janus 15 July | 13:21
It seems like the inaccuracy also comes from the aerodynamic properties (and the uneven weight distribution, thanks to the valve) of the red rubber ball (the morning sun is shining like one, btw). I mean, it's not a Titleist--straight, true flight wasn't a design priority.

That said, I think that a sort of short dropkick, almost a punt, would be both far more accurate and, with practice, faster than throwing from the outfield.
posted by box 15 July | 13:42
I will add the short dropkick to my list of experiments.

I feel like I should follow the phrase "my list of experiments" with a good MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!
posted by Hugh Janus 15 July | 13:47
Kicking is perfectly acceptable. I think in practice, though, you're going to be far less accurate with a kick than with a cut-off person. Also, you need to factor in the recipient of the kick, too: it's a lot harder to catch a pop-fly whomp from the outfield than a flat, sidearm toss from the shallows.
posted by eamondaly 15 July | 14:47
You're right, eamondaly; I'm thinking more a curling instep kick, but it may take a lot of practice to keep those big red bouncy balls from lifting off.
posted by Hugh Janus 15 July | 14:54
I think kickball is the most punk rock of sports because anyone can do it.
And yeah, I think defensive kicking is fine. Also, how cool would it look to kick someone out from the infield even?
posted by Hellbient 15 July | 15:18
kickball / dodgeball hybrid!
posted by chewatadistance 15 July | 17:13
Mmmm... There's a pretty strong argument against this in the official rules.

Rule 9.01 states that "Any ball touched by the foot or leg below the knee is a kick." And Rule 9.02 states, "All kicks must be made: a. at or behind home plate b. within the kicking box." (Emphasis added)

Although, in your defense... 10.07a reads "an overthrow is a ball thrown, kicked or deflected into foul territory while making a defensive play.." Since the context is on defense, and a clear distinction is drawn between "kicked" and "deflected", this seems to imply that kicking is allowed in the field.

So, lawyer up if you decide to try it.
posted by pokermonk 15 July | 22:23
Keep us informed, HJ.
posted by Ardiril 16 July | 01:53
I am very eager to hear the results of your testing.
posted by TrishaLynn 17 July | 07:58
I've found the problem!! || A gabled political theory follows.