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Banzai Baseball

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Baseball is a very popular game in Japan, but the Japanese have other skills which they could deploy to make the contest totally unique. One of those skills requires the use of a samurai sword.

The idea is that the ball is thrown towards the batsman as usual, only instead of a bat he swings the samurai sword, the intention being to slice the ball into two pieces, which continue on their travels. One way or another the severed ball is caught and the segments returned to the referee, who drops them into a simple machine.

The weight of the caught pieces is instantly displayed on a board. A perfect score is when the ball has been cut into two identical pieces. The game is decided on which team's totals are closest to an even amount of half balls.

xenzag, Jul 16 2012

In keeping with tradition I should probably claim that I wrote it....but credit where credit is due.. http://en.wikipedia...ki/Casey_at_the_Bat
"The author's identity was not widely known at first. A number falsely claimed to have authored the poem" [normzone, Jul 20 2012, last modified Jul 21 2012]

[link]






       There has to be running. Running with swords. I like it so far, but it needs to be more complex and exciting and considerably more dangerous to overcome my distaste for baseball and thus earn my bun.
Alterother, Jul 16 2012
  

       The Japanese way is for total control and ritual.
xenzag, Jul 16 2012
  

       I second the running with swords part. Everybody should wear armor though, or the turnover rate would be high.
normzone, Jul 16 2012
  

       And archery … and naginata …and guys in elaborate armour shouting "Horrrrrrrrrrr!" and then waiting while their adversaries politely attack them one at a time…   

       [+]
8th of 7, Jul 16 2012
  

       Oh, total control and ritual, absolutely. If you just had a bunch of people running around a field swinging swords at other people's balls, it wouldn't be very Japanese at all, it would be...   

       Well, it would be an [Alterother] family reunion, but that's beside the point. I'd just like to see the traditional elements of baseball, lethally boring though they may be, combined, as [8th] suggests, with the time-honored elements of Samurai combat. It can't just be about chopping spherical things in half and weighing the bits. For that, I can just go down to the slaughterhouse on Prairie Oyster Tuesday.
Alterother, Jul 16 2012
  

       Perhaps what is needed is a combination of sword and bat. Imagine a regular baseball bat, except it has a lengthwise slice in it. A wide sword blade rests in this slice, and extends from the bat outward. Now when you swing the bat, you can cut the ball in half (by the wide blade), and send the two pieces flying in different directions (by the bat). BOTH pieces need to be caught by the fielders. There can be some complex rules involving one caught piece --half an "out"-- and one piece picked up after a bounce, and thrown to one of the basemen --tagging a runner would be another half an "out".
Vernon, Jul 17 2012
  

       Well done, that man.   

       But no throwing the bladebat. You have to hang onto it while you run the bases. I must insist upon this point.
Alterother, Jul 17 2012
  

       No no no running around with swords.... I forgot to mention that at each base there are two opposing sumo wrestlers, who engage in one minute of combat after each strike. The winning sumo takes control, and the loser must remain at the perimeter. In this way it is possible for each team to control all of the bases as either friendly refuges, or hostile areas of terror that must be avoided.
xenzag, Jul 17 2012
  

       The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Bakery Nine that day;
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then poor [xenzag] died at first, and [Vernon] did the same,
As grappling sumos fell upon the players of the game.
  

       A straggling few logged on to bake in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only [normzone] could get but a whack at that -
They'd put up even money, now, with [normzone] at swordbat.
  

       But [8th] preceded [normzone], as did also [Alterother],
And the former was a borg and the latter was much rougher;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of [normzone]'s getting to swordbat.
  

       But [8th] let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And [Alterother], much despised, tore cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and bakers saw what had occurred,
There was [Alterother] safe at second and [8th] a-hugging third.
  

       Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in my Dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For [normzone], mighty [normzone], was advancing to swordbat.
  

       There was ease in [normzone]'s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in [normzone]'s bearing and a smile on [normzone]'s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he doffed his tinfoil hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas [normzone] at swordbat.
  

       Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in [normzone]'s eye, a sneer curled [normzone]'s lip.
  

       And now the custard-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And [normzone] stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
"That ain't my style," said [normzone]. "Strike one," the umpire said.
  

       From the benches, black with bakers, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Trebuchet! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;
And it's likely they'd a-killed him had not [normzone] raised his hand.
  

       With a smile of pagan charity great [normzone]'s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But [normzone] still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."
  

       "Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from [normzone] and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that [normzone] wouldn't let that ball go by again.
  

       The sneer is gone from [normzone]'s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his swordbat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of [normzone]'s blow.
  

       Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there’s no joy in the Bakery — mighty [normzone] has struck out.
normzone, Jul 18 2012
  

       <stunned silence>
.
.
.
<APPLAUSE>
8th of 7, Jul 19 2012
  

       Lord God, [normzone].   

       There's already a rule for a broken ball--the largest chunk is assumed to be the ball. I propose that the fielding team has to decide which half of the ball is largest, and use it to attempt to throw the runner out. (A half ball is going to be hard to throw and catch.) (The other half could also be picked up and used, as backup, if allowed.) After the dust settles, the parts of the ball are weighed, and the larger half is used in decision-making.   

       If the fielders picked wrong, the runner's side will be advantaged, so this idea's original proposal is still in effect, but play will be a lot more active.   

       I'd like to see more swordplay. How about wooden swords (bokken) in every player's sash? The runner has to drop his steel sword, but can assault the basemen with his bokken. They can elect to defend themselves or to catch the ball, or, of course, try to do both. (Armor is possible, I suppose.)
baconbrain, Jul 19 2012
  

       All worthy suggestions, and a wonderful set of stanza from the nobel norm. I'm keen to preserve a mix of absolute cool control ie the supreme precision of the ball being sliced by the razor sharp blade, and the frantic dash from plate to plate with the sumos waiting like restless gorillas.   

       I'm now thinking of introducing an aspect of kendo into the mix......
xenzag, Jul 19 2012
  

       I'd use a standard samurai sword with a strip of metal welded to the back so the shape is a "T" with the edge as the bottom. That'd cut through the ball, then allow the two halves to bounce off the back.   

       Plus, when the batter assaults the basemen, it won't lop off entire limbs.
baconbrain, Jul 19 2012
  

       ^[normzone] <standing ovation, with much harooping and clatter of swords upon shields> This outstanding work of verse has been interred in the permanent archive of the Heathen Institute's Department of Permissable Misuse of English Grammar. Bravo.
Alterother, Jul 19 2012
  

       Has to be Banzai! Shouted loudly as the ball is cleanly severed.
xenzag, Jul 20 2012
  

       I see your point, but could a splinter group be formed that would bring small trees in pots to the game?
normzone, Jul 20 2012
  

       They could be used as bases; not only will the runners andor sumo wrestlers be punished (probably by summary execution) for trampling them, but runners can score extra points for deftly trimming the tip of a single branch as they race by.
Alterother, Jul 20 2012
  

       Hearts were saddened in the Bakery for a week or even more;
There were muttered oaths and curses - Bakers in the town were sore.
"Just think," said one, "how soft it looked with [normzone] at the bat,
And then to think he'd go and spring a half-baked trick like that!"
  

       All his past fame was forgotten- product endorsements had declined.
They called him "Strike-Out [normzone]," from [wagster] on down the line;
And as he came to bat each day his bosom heaved a sigh,
While a look of hopeless fury shone in mighty [normzone]'s eye.
  

       He pondered in the days gone by that he had been their king,
That when he strolled up to the plate they made the welkin ring;
But now his nerve had vanished, for when he heard them hoot
He "M-F-D’d" or "baked" his posts (see Ladies Drop-Trou Boots)
  

       He soon began to sulk and loaf, his baking style went lame;
No home runs on the score card now were chalked against his name;
The fans without exception gave [jutta]’s mods no peace,
For one and all kept clamoring for [normzone]'s quick release.
  

       The Bakery squad began to slump, the team was in the air;
Their playing went from bad to worse - nobody seemed to care.
"Back to the woods with [normzone]!" was the cry from Rooters' Row.
"Get some one who can slice the ball, and let that big dub go!"
  

       The lane is long, some one has said, that never turns again,
And Fate, though fickle, often gives another chance to men;
And [normzone] smiled; his rugged face no longer wore a frown-
The pitcher who had started all the trouble came to town.
  

       The Bakery had assembled - ten thousand fans had come
To see the twirler who had put big [normzone] on the bum;
And when he stepped into the box, the multitude went wild;
He doffed his cap in proud disdain, but [normzone] only smiled.
  

       "Bonzai!" the umpire's voice rang out, and then the game began.
But in that throng of thousands there was not a single fan
Who thought the Bakers had a chance, and with the setting sun
Their hopes sank low- the rival team was leading "four to one."
  

       The last half of the ninth came round, with no change in the score;
But when [baconbrain] got on base, the crowd began to roar;
The din increased, the echo of ten thousand shouts was heard
When the pitcher hit “two one” [quest] and gave "four balls" to the third.
  

       Three men on base - nobody out - three runs to tie the game!
A triple meant the highest niche in Bakery’s hall of fame;
But here the rally ended and the gloom was deep as night,
When the fourth one "fouled to catcher" and the fifth "flew out to right."
  

       A dismal groan in chorus came; a scowl was on each face
When [normzone] came, swordbat in hand, and slowly took his place;
His bloodshot eyes in fury gleamed, his teeth were clenched in hate;
He gave his cap a vicious hook and pounded on the plate.
  

       But fame is fleeting as the wind and glory fades away;
There were no wild and woolly cheers, no glad acclaim this day;
They hissed and groaned and hooted as they clamored: "Strike him out!"
But [normzone] gave no outward sign that he had heard this shout.
  

       The pitcher smiled and cut one loose - across the plate it sped;
Another hiss, another groan. "Strike one!" the umpire said.
Zip! Like a shot the second curve broke just below the knee.
"Strike two!" the umpire roared aloud; but [normzone] made no plea.
  

       No calls for trebuchet came now – the ump need not be caught;
But here the pitcher whirled again- was that a Gauss gun shot?
A whack, a crack, and out through the space two halves of the ball flew,
Two spots against the distant sky, two specks against the blue.
  

       Above the fence in center field in rapid whirling flight
The halves sailed on - the spots grew dim and then were lost to sight.
Their tinfoil hats were thrown in air, ten thousand threw a fit,
But no one ever found the ball that mighty [normzone] split.
  

       O, somewhere in this favored land dark clouds may hide the sun,
And somewhere bands no longer play and children have no fun!
And somewhere over blighted lives there hangs a heavy pall,
But Bakery hearts are happy now, for [normzone] split the ball.
  

       (it doesn't have quite the flavor of it's predecessor - it was written about fifteen years after the first one by a different author, and, of course, hacked up by me.)
normzone, Jul 20 2012
  

       Love it.
Alterother, Jul 20 2012
  

       and a virtual [+] to [nz]
FlyingToaster, Jul 21 2012
  
      
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