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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Looking Back at Gagne's Injuries
2006-04-12 09:54
by Jon Weisman

For the national audience, I've traced Eric Gagne's injury history and wondered whether his tolerance for pain is too good for his own good in this new article:

The downward spiral could hardly have emerged from a more optimistic moment. It was a picture-postcard scene that would never be the same again, and it captured how quickly the most genuine of hopes can become naive.

It was Feb. 24, 2005, the beginning of Spring Training, the very first day of full-squad workouts for the defending National League West champion Los Angeles Dodgers. It began during a game of pepper, a throwback to baseball's days of purity and promise. And it humbled All-Star reliever Eric Gagne, the rock of the Dodger franchise.

Barely 13 months ago (though it seems like a lifetime of doctor visits has passed since then), while playing that carefree game of pepper, Gagne's left spike stuck in the ground. His knee popped. Slightly, but perceptibly.

That's how innocuous it all was. Though the initial diagnosis of a mild sprain brought relief to the Dodger faithful, it was the first tear in the fraying of Gagne's career. ...

Comments (153)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-04-12 10:02:47
1.   Bob Timmermann
I think a "No Pepper Games" sign is in order now.
2006-04-12 10:13:46
2.   Kayaker7
What's "Peppers?"
2006-04-12 10:17:04
3.   Bob Timmermann
It's the black stuff next to the salt.
2006-04-12 10:24:28
4.   Bob Timmermann
OK, non wiseguy answer:

Pepper is a game where one guy stands with a bat and a bunch of players throw a ball at him and he tries to hit it back at them quickly. It's a game that is supposed to improve a fielder's reactions.

Although it seems for the most part that it's more for fun.

Older baseball stadiums used to have signs that said "No Pepper Games" on the walls in various parts of the stadium so players wouldn't start hitting spectators with baseballs.

2006-04-12 10:30:04
5.   Gilgamesh
Jon, I think your SI link is broken.
2006-04-12 10:31:12
6.   Kayaker7
I see. Sounds fun. It's all fun and games, until one derails a career.
2006-04-12 10:32:30
7.   Bob Timmermann
The SI link works for me.
2006-04-12 10:38:04
8.   Gilgamesh
For me, the one at the beginning of the article works, the one at the end doesn't.
2006-04-12 10:39:18
9.   Bob Timmermann
The one at the end is a link to an earlier DT post.
2006-04-12 10:51:14
10.   Sam DC
The SI link takes me to an article by some guy named "John Weisman."
2006-04-12 10:53:34
11.   Bob Timmermann
I have a feeling Jon is on the phone now to his editor.
2006-04-12 10:56:21
12.   Jon Weisman
It never pays to have things go live just before I have to go to a meeting at work. You know, for my real job.
2006-04-12 11:00:46
13.   bhsportsguy
The pepper discussion reminds me of a long forgotten childhood game of "Steal the Bacon", which was played by two sets of teams formed in two lines facing each other and then one player from each team would match up and try to take the "bacon" without being tagged by the other player.

Anyone else recall that or was that just a Boy Scout game?

2006-04-12 11:02:28
14.   Jon Weisman
I debated whether or not to explain pepper in the article. I know that with the No Pepper signs a thing of the past, some people aren't aware of it. But ultimately, the explanation was getting in my way, so I hoped all of America could just ask Bob for the answer.
2006-04-12 11:03:13
15.   gcrl
iirc, one of the points of playing pepper was to try to hit the ball on the ground. your turn "at bat" was ended if one of the fielders caught the ball in the air.

we did indeed play that, along with a more violent version called "british bulldog" at the end of our boy scout meetings. good ol' troop 79. our scoutmaster was a former di. bad times.

2006-04-12 11:03:27
16.   fawnkyj
LOL! are you serious? that has got to be a joke, right?!
2006-04-12 11:06:07
17.   Marty
Sheesh, I suppose no one knows what pickle is either.
2006-04-12 11:07:05
18.   Bob Timmermann
I do not believe the FIP (Federacion Internacional Pimiento) has ever formalized the rules for "pepper".

There's been a lot of infighting between the US and Cuban members.

2006-04-12 11:08:16
19.   gcrl
well, we didn't use real bacon...
2006-04-12 11:08:20
20.   Bob Timmermann
Dodger players would stay healthier if they could use "ghost runners". That would also prevent arguments about whether or not someone should take an extra base on a hit or attempt a steal.
2006-04-12 11:10:13
21.   Bob Timmermann
For the ultimate "pickle" photo, scroll down to the end of this pdf for the Jackie Robinson photo:

2006-04-12 11:11:38
22.   gcrl
this is very topical. i was playing ball with my 5.5 year old son this past weekend, and i offered that a ghost runner on second could score on a single. he was much more confident that ghost runners are "station to station" runners, a la eric karros (terminology and analogy are mine, not my son's).
2006-04-12 11:12:45
23.   Jon Weisman
17 - The important thing is that we call it "pickle" and not by the awful name it is known in other parts of the country, "running bases."

I like Bob's ghost runners idea. Those always worked well.

"Steal the bacon" sounds like "Red Rover" with even more action.

Did anyone growing up here, going to public elementary school, play Socco? That was my favorite playground game by far.

2006-04-12 11:13:06
24.   Bob Timmermann
Did the 5-year old say "station-to-station" or "Eric Karros"? Or both?
2006-04-12 11:17:16
25.   fanerman
12 - Dodger Thoughts doesn't count as a real job?

As a kid (which wasn't that long ago, say, early 90's) I played both "pickle" and "steal the bacon" for P.E. classes and the sort.

2006-04-12 11:17:53
26.   fanerman
I've never heard of Socco, at least by that name. How is it played?
2006-04-12 11:17:57
27.   gcrl
no, he said neither - those were my terms.

btw, he's an angels fan, and may well never know who eric karros was.

for better or for worse.

2006-04-12 11:18:15
28.   Marty
There's nothing like playing pickle in an area that is really too small for it. You are more worried about getting hit in the face with the ball than getting to the next base.
2006-04-12 11:18:16
29.   katysdad
Back in the day, we'd lighten up our softball practices by playing a game called "The Wall". Three to 10 guys would line up at third base, legs interlocked, while a batter would smash ground balls. The wall would have to field the ball and complete the throw to first, all while not breaking apart from one another (or a leg, for that matter). There was no winning or losing the game, just playing until it got dark.

We'd also run a multi-motion drill in which we'd form a circle of any number of people and throw/deflect to ball around without letting it hit the ground. Kind of like hackey sack, but with a softball.

A third (non-softball/baseball) game I played was monster ball. This was when our high school wrestling coach realized we were bored with practice and would take us out to the basketball court to play hoops with no rules. Something like a mix of rollerball and the Ron Artest fight in the stands with Pacers fans last year. Good times

2006-04-12 11:22:04
30.   fanerman
Off topic, but from reading 6-4-2, Garrett Anderson has plantar fascitis. I had only heard of this injury a couple years ago, but now it seems like tons of athletes have it (many basketball players also, Kobe and I think Duncan). Did it just come out of nowhere or did I just not hear of it until recently?
2006-04-12 11:22:24
31.   Fallout
17 Marty

That's because Bill James did not write a book about it.

2006-04-12 11:24:52
32.   Bob Timmermann
I think they just started calling "a chroncially sore foot" by its real name "plantar fasciitis" because it sounds nicer and it makes copy editors at newspapers work harder because it has a weird spelling.
2006-04-12 11:27:09
33.   sanchez101
I know this is off topic, but has anyone read Nate Silver's article today at BP, its in the free section. It details attendance patterns in two team markets, and shows how success of one franchise can help the ticket sales of its neighbor. Its interesting to think that the recent attendance heights could be owed in part to the success of the Angels, and vice-verse.
2006-04-12 11:28:31
34.   Jon Weisman
23 - Socco is like Dodgeball with goalie boxes (not deep, but the width of the court ... kind of like end zones) on each side. So you could get hit from two directions.

Collier Street Elementary had actual socco courts on the playground, so this was LAUSD sanctioned.

I was really good at Socco. Small and quick - a hard to hit target. But a propos to comment 28, the only fight I ever got into in school arose from a game of Socco played on a Four-Square court. Some jostling for position got a little heated, and before I knew it, the kids were all around us yelling "Fight, Fight." My friend Eric warned me that the yardleader was coming, but there wasn't much I could do.

On my way to the principal's office, my fifth-grade teacher saw us. She came over and said to the guy I had been fighting with, "Richard, this is no surprise. But Jon, I'm very disappointed in you."

2006-04-12 11:28:58
35.   Ken Arneson
Plantar fasciitis has been around. The early 90s A's had a few players troubled with it. Mark McGwire missed a big chunk of time with it, and somebody else, too...Mike Gallego maybe? Oh, and I'm pretty sure Ken Arneson has suffered from it from time to time.
2006-04-12 11:31:41
36.   Bob Timmermann

Dr. Melfi would be proud of that story, Jon. Your on your way now to a healthier adulthood.

2006-04-12 11:32:47
37.   Marty
My grade school was pretty much a kickball school. The pickup baseball game of choice in my neighborhood was "over the line" We'd sneak onto the little league field next to my school and play it for hours. When it rained we'd also use the little league outfield for tackle football.
2006-04-12 11:35:23
38.   Jon Weisman
For a while, I batted about .900 in kickball because no one could get me out on a grounder to third. I was as annoying as Craig Counsell.
2006-04-12 11:36:16
39.   Bunting is for losers
34 - Jon, I remember playing Socco. I went to Welby Way Elementary and we had the socco courts on the playground. Who knows if they still have them there, with a lot of the renovation that's gone on. Good memories.
2006-04-12 11:36:25
40.   Nagman
I knew GA had plantar fasciitis because Rex Hudler mentions it everytime GA has to take a few steps to catch a fly ball... I think he thinks it makes him sound intelligent.
2006-04-12 11:36:43
41.   Bob Timmermann
"Annoying good" as in the Arizona version of Craig Counsell
or "Annoying bad" as in the L.A. version of Craig Counsell?
2006-04-12 11:41:18
42.   bhsportsguy
38-I wore out many a pair of Toughskins (TM) by sliding into home on my school's not so soft asphalt playground.

I do not recall socco (I was in LAUSD from 67-80). The big games in my elementary school was kickball, handball (not the wimpy indoor game lol, but the version with a rubber ball played against a wall, and basketball.

2006-04-12 11:41:26
43.   Jon Weisman
Annoying good. But still annoying. Finally, before the 1977 season, Tommy Lasorda came over and told me stop worrying about building up my hit totals and go for the long ball.
2006-04-12 11:42:09
44.   DXMachina
23. The important thing is that we call it "pickle" and not by the awful name it is known in other parts of the country, "running bases."

Heh, in New Jersey, we played "running bases", and used "invisible men". Lousy station-to-station runners, those invisible men.

Plantar fasciitis often used to be called things like "heel spurs," too. I've had it a few times. Hurts like hell.

2006-04-12 11:44:04
45.   Nagman
We called pickle "hot box", and ghost runners were "invisible men".
2006-04-12 11:45:46
46.   Sam DC
It stuns me to remember that we actually played a school-sanctioned game of "butt's up" at Overland Ave elementary school. Really, would such a thing be allowed today? Would I let my kid do that? (No, yes, I guess.)
2006-04-12 11:46:20
47.   Sam DC
45 I had invisible runners on base as a kid until Calvin set me right about the ghost runner thing.
2006-04-12 11:48:06
48.   Bob Timmermann
Since Granada Hills was a big area for soccer, the kids who were really good at that tended to dominate kickball as well. They knew how to blast everything for a home run.

However, my school (St. John Baptist de la Salle) had a large grass field, so we actually played real games of soccer or football or softball on it.

My kickball career was derailed in second grade when I tried to make a barehand catch of a lined ball down the first base line. That broke my right pinky and, absent the DK rule, I was useless in kickball.

My other problem was the absence of much athletic ability on my part. Growing up really tall and really skinny is not conducive to developing strength and coordination.

2006-04-12 11:49:37
49.   Marty
Jon, in your kickball games were you allowed to request the type of "pitch"? I always asked for "slow rollers" and was the first grade kickball version of Babe Ruth
2006-04-12 11:49:44
50.   rageon
"I was as annoying as Craig Counsell." -- I like that; reminds me of my own athletic "skills." Baseball, kickball, softball, you name can always get on base by finding the person on the other team who cannot field and/or throw and always sending the ball their way. It was that was back in grade school and it still works today when I play softball.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-04-12 11:50:12
51.   Bob Timmermann

That game was allowed at my school until one of the nuns who was a teacher there saw it being played.

Then it existed as sort of an underground sport.

The school I went to had a lot of buildings with sides where you could hide out.

2006-04-12 11:50:14
52.   Daniel Zappala
We played the "socco" version of dodgeball, except we called it dodgeball. Regardless of which direction the ball was coming from, you were allowed to catch it, and a clean catch meant you could whip the ball back at the other side. I was also small and fast and very good.

Jon, I challenge you to a socco showdown!

2006-04-12 11:50:52
53.   katysdad
Here in Erie, Pa., we had ghosties, and a ghostie could advance as many bases as the batter. When playing anything less than five-on-five, hitting to the opposite field was an out.
2006-04-12 11:53:49
54.   Jon Weisman
46 We played unsanctioned "butts up," though I think we also called it "Suicide."

49 I don't remember requesting pitches. So 19th century!

45 Although I never called pickle "hot box," I have long deemed that an acceptable alternative name.

2006-04-12 11:54:00
55.   Marty
53 Right, in over the line, ghost runners advanced whatever the amount of bases the next hit was.
2006-04-12 11:56:11
56.   DodgerHobbit
wow, butts up...i'd completely forgotten that game. Do kids still play this at school?

i remember really liking steal the bacon in scouts, someone's neckerchief was the "bacon"

how easily we forget the simple pleasures of youth like pegging someone on the behind with a big rubber ball as hard as you could.

2006-04-12 11:56:30
57.   Marty
Also, Monrovia grade-school kickball was almost always work-up rather than formal teams. You'd start in right field and move around positions on each out until you were up.

But, you knew that.

2006-04-12 11:58:05
58.   Bob Timmermann
Sadly, "butts up" lost out on Olympic status after it was discovered that one of the competitors in a Pan-American Games was using padding in his uniform to render him impervious to pain.
2006-04-12 12:00:51
59.   Sam DC
But The Griddle's coverage of the World Butts Up Classic is going to be something, that's for sure.
2006-04-12 12:01:00
60.   katysdad
May official kickball playing days ended some 30 years ago, but I pull a Minnie Minoso and play a handful of times each year with my niece, nephew and their friends (I'm usually all-time pitcher and umpire). It's amazing that the basic rules have not changed since I last played in the mid-70's. They've added a bunt rule, but most every thing else is as I remembered.
2006-04-12 12:01:05
61.   capdodger
The underground game at my gradeschool changed by season. In the fall it was tackle football, whilst wearing flags. During the winter it was "Jungle Ball": Basketball without those pesk rules. I forget what we played during the spring. Probably four-square, with skidders and high-wires and all.

I never played "Pickle" in school, but always in front of my grandmother's house on Alamitos Bay in Long Beach with my brother and the same two friends. You've not played pickle until you've played it barefoot in the sand under the floodlights.

2006-04-12 12:03:08
62.   fanerman
Wow, "butts up!" I played it in the early 90's, too. I wasn't sure if the school was okay with it. Maybe it was one of those "what they don't know won't hurt them" things. I completely forgot about that. Oh, the memories.
2006-04-12 12:03:10
63.   capdodger
How was Butts Up played?
2006-04-12 12:09:02
64.   Johnson
I am simply ecstatic to find that I'm not the only person who played "butts up". That was my absolute favorite, and our playground had a great 4 foot high wall topped by a fence that was ideal. Too bad we weren't allowed to play if the proctors were around. In response to Sam, I would totally allow a child of mine to play. A racquetball in the rear just isn't a serious element of danger.
2006-04-12 12:09:47
65.   Bob Timmermann

In my neck of the woods, you would get a group of boys (girls generally didn't participate) and one would bring a tennis ball.

Someone would throw the ball against the ball and then someone else would try to catch the ball on the fly or otherwise cleanly handle it on a bounce.

If you dropped the ball or it touched you, you had to try to run and touch the wall before someone else picked up the errant ball and hit you with it.

If you got hit, you were credited with a "butt". If you accumulated three "butts", you were then "butts up" and you would then have to kneel down at the wall with your butt showing while everyone lined up and took a turn trying to hit you with the tennis ball.

Some variations allowed participants multiple tosses if they made contact. Others didn't.

After you went through that, your count was set back to zero and the game continued.

It was not a game you could win. You could only not lose it. It was a warmup for nuclear warfare.

2006-04-12 12:12:02
66.   Sam DC
San Diego trouncing the Marlins. The NL East is the new NL West. The Nationals are 2-5 and in third place.
2006-04-12 12:12:34
67.   Penarol1916
When I lived in Davis, I believe Socco was called German Dodgeball, when you were knocked out, you were sent back to the goalie area. Our underground game of choice was smear the queer.
2006-04-12 12:16:20
68.   Johnson
63 Let's see if this can be easily described: One racquetball, one wall, as many kids as you can get. The ball is thrown at the wall, and then fielded on the rebound by the nearest player. If the fielding is muffed (rebounding ball touches a player, then hits the ground without being caught) the fielder must run and touch the wall before another player throws the ball to the wall. If the ball beats the muffer to the wall, the muffer gets one "butt". Once a player gets three "butts", he has to bend over in front of the wall and everybody gets a turn to throw the racquetball at his butt as hard as they can. Then scores are reset and it starts over. I'm sure there was more to it, it was pretty complicated. Great game, though.
2006-04-12 12:16:42
69.   Jon Weisman
LOL - I'm scared to ask why it was called German Dodgeball.

Perhaps that's short for German Rivera Dodgeball?

2006-04-12 12:18:10
70.   Johnson
65 I'm really getting this complex about being the late Bob Timmermann. Not that I'm dead, just that I tend to post the same thing that Bob posts, but three minutes late.
2006-04-12 12:22:37
71.   katysdad
Smear the queer is a fantastic game. As is SPUD. Three or more players needed. One player throws a ball stright up in the air and calls a number. Everyone runs, except for the person whose number had been called. That person has to catch the ball and call out SPUD. Once this is done, everyone who has been running freezes. The person who caught the ball can take three steps towards one of the runners. Once that is done, he throws the ball. A hit, and the person getting hit gets an S (or P, U, D, like HORSE in basketball). If the thrower misses, or the ball is caught cleanly, the thower gets the letter. You get SPUD, you're out. Last one standing wins.
2006-04-12 12:24:10
72.   fanerman
"Smear the queer," talk about a politically incorrect name.
2006-04-12 12:24:32
73.   capdodger
65, 70
Sounds like fun (and the average schoolyard game): A little bit of pain, a little humiliation, and a lot of cardio. My school didn't have any walls that would have been appropriate, so that explains why I'd never heard of it.
2006-04-12 12:26:22
74.   Daniel
65 We used to call that "Wall Ball". A few variations we had were if you threw the ball in an attempt to hit a fielder on his way to the wall and missed, you had to touch the wall before getting hit. When you had your three marks (don't remember exactly what we called them), you stood at the wall so everyone could hit you, then you were out of the game. We'd play until the bell rang or one player was left.
2006-04-12 12:27:28
75.   Jeromy
Off Topic, but I just did a double take at the Reds line score. After 3 2/3 innings, 0-0-5. O runs, 0 hits, 5 errors!!!

I have never seen a line like that before. I'm sure it is rare that there are five errors in a game anyway.

2006-04-12 12:28:05
76.   Penarol1916
69. I have no idea why they called it German Dodgeball, I had just always assumed that was how they played dodgeball in Germany.
2006-04-12 12:28:31
77.   Jeromy
As I typed that Encarncion doubled in Dunn, who walked. It is now 1-1-5.
2006-04-12 12:29:00
78.   Daniel Zappala
My kids play "Wall Ball", which sounds like the description in 63, except tamer. If you don't touch the wall before someone else hits the wall with the ball, then you are placed in the "out circle". Once three people are in the out circle, then everyone gets to go back in. So none of this butts stuff, which is OK by me. Girls play too.
2006-04-12 12:32:15
79.   Jon Weisman
Maybe all along, it was meant to be "Smear the Querier."
2006-04-12 12:32:40
80.   katysdad
72 Well, this was a game played by seven to 10 year olds 30 years ago. Queer didn't mean what it means now, it was simply the guy who had the misfortune to be holding the football at a particular time.
2006-04-12 12:35:27
81.   Sam DC
Wikipedia says that girls can play butts up. It also says that the game arose in the early 1980s, but we and our sore rumps know better.
2006-04-12 12:35:28
82.   fanerman
I didn't remember how "butts up" was played until Bob (sorry Johnson) explained it. Now I remember that I would only go for the ball if I knew I could catch it or otherwise have a good shot at running to the wall before someone could hit me. I think if I ever accumulated 2 "butts," I would subtly stop going for the ball so I wasn't ever "butts up."
2006-04-12 12:36:47
83.   scareduck
Well done. Seriously, find Scott Boras's address in Newport Beach and mail him a copy.
2006-04-12 12:38:11
84.   fanerman
80 - I got no problem with that. Things were simpler as a child.

81 - For some reason I find your looking up "butts up" on Wikipedia hilarious.

The link:

Is there a way to have that show up as a hyperlink? Or do you have to use that firefox extension?

2006-04-12 12:45:40
85.   Underbruin
82 - Sounds rather like my strategy - I would often intentionally miss a catch by slapping the ball away from everybody else playing. Made the game much more entertaining from my perspective (and I never had to throw it - we played a rule where if any of your throws got caught on the fly you were automatically against the wall).

And Steal the Bacon is definitely not just a Scouts game, as I was never a scout and I remember playing it.

Smear the Queer was our neighborhood game of choice until we started getting old enough that the danger went from bruises to breaking our artificial hips. =P

2006-04-12 12:54:06
86.   Marty
Since I went to grade school in the 60s it's no wonder I had never heard of Butts Up. The only "up" we played was seven-up in the classroom on rainy days. And I can't remember the rules of that one.
2006-04-12 12:58:23
87.   Underbruin
86 -
2006-04-12 13:02:38
88.   trainwreck
I just realized the names of the games I played as a child havey ver homo-erotic names.
2006-04-12 13:02:59
89.   trainwreck
2006-04-12 13:04:52
90.   Linkmeister
This appears to be the equivalent of an open thread at the moment, so I have no qualms about posting a link to a new blog entitled "Dodgers vs. Angels," which I discovered on Michael Hiltzik's blogroll.

Hiltzik's one of the best business bloggers around, I think. He's at:

2006-04-12 13:06:19
91.   fawnkyj
that is why i was laughing earlier, i thought this whole time everybody was making up weird names for boy scout games! LOL!
2006-04-12 13:11:23
92.   TheRedMenace
When I was in school "Butts Up" was played when the teachers weren't paying attention. When that wasn't the case, the game was called "Stop" and your backside was spared the consequences of your three failings.

My most vivid memory of the game is of my brother, nine years my senior, painstakingly teaching me all the rules of the game, and the consequences of violating them.

2006-04-12 13:13:17
93.   trainwreck
Boy scouts officials probably changed the names of all these games.

Butts up probably now called Wall Tennis

Smear the Queer probably now called Beat the Gypsie

2006-04-12 13:13:35
94.   TheRedMenace
54 - Are you sure you made it through your entire childhood without ever requesting "baby bouncies."
2006-04-12 13:14:20
95.   trainwreck
The worst part is that no one has good aim so they just throw the tennis ball as hard as possible and it would end hitting you in the head or back or knee or somewhere worse than your butt.
2006-04-12 13:14:58
96.   trainwreck
*end up
2006-04-12 13:15:14
97.   Marty
94 Baby Bouncies! I tried them, but did not have the same sucess as slow rollers.
2006-04-12 13:25:14
98.   Penarol1916
97. Everyone in my school requested baby bouncies, I don't think I've seen anyone go for a slow roller.

As for alternative names for smear the queer, we also called it rugby, since we didn't know the actual rules of rugby, we just assumed it was the international version of smear the queer.

2006-04-12 13:25:50
99.   trainwreck
I do not remember anyone wanting big bouncies.
2006-04-12 13:32:14
100.   Penarol1916
99. Requesting big bouncies would have been insane, that means you have to execute a half-volley, one of the more difficult kicks to make accurately, but they look cool when done right. I only saw big bouncies when a pitcher decided to be a jerk.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-04-12 13:42:09
101.   TheRedMenace
The only drawback to baby-bouncies was that in certain games virtually the entire school was playing and half of them were in the field. During those types of games, slow rollers let you keep your kick closer to the ground, thereby avoiding the flyout.
2006-04-12 13:42:30
102.   Jose Habib
We played a game in PE called bloodball. If I remember right, it was soccer, except if you kicked the ball up in the air, someone could catch it and run with it like in football (and score a goal by throwing it into the goal).

There was some debate about the legality of grabbing the ball with both your feet, flipping it up and catching it yourself.

2006-04-12 13:45:45
103.   trainwreck
Know what game rules?

Ultimate Frisbee

2006-04-12 13:50:42
104.   Jacob L
Smear the queer was, among other things, the least subtle game ever invented.

We played, I think, every game mentioned in this thread at Vista Grande Elementary. But mostly we played handball, or what we called handball. The funny thing abuot elementary school handball was that completely assinine rules could be invoked by proclamation. Mostly these rules would outlaw the most strategically effective shots. No slicies! No cross countries!

2006-04-12 13:51:11
105.   Jon Weisman
103 - Absolutely, although I don't like it when people take it too seriously.
2006-04-12 13:52:45
106.   trainwreck
Slices I can understand because they are almost impossible to reach, but cross countries! Come on people, your not supposed to just stand in the same place.

The best handballs were worn down leather volleyballs, you could launch those.

2006-04-12 13:57:28
107.   scareduck
83 - that address again,

213 Newport Center Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660-6934

2006-04-12 14:00:15
108.   Jon Weisman
107 Are you referring to the Gagne article or the discussion of "butts up?"
2006-04-12 14:02:46
109.   Penarol1916
106. That's like all of the crazy rules people could invoke in 4-square when they were the server, no bouncies, no slams, no bubbles and what not.
I didn't care for ultimate frisbee until middle school, when more people were able to throw a frisbee decently.
2006-04-12 14:03:33
110.   Jacob L
104 Yes, but, slicies (you need the "ie") are a high risk shot, in that the ball could bounce twice before reaching the wall. I say, if you pull it off, you should be rewarded, unless we're just trying to encourage long rallies or something.
2006-04-12 14:04:14
111.   fanerman
I didn't hear about ultimate frisbee until I get to college. For some reason nobody played it in either elementary school or high school. I still can't throw a frisbee forehand. I can't get it to spin. It just floats in the air for a second until it darts in some random direction, like a knuckleball.
2006-04-12 14:07:42
112.   Jon Weisman
This has been one of my all-time favorite threads on Dodger Thoughts.
2006-04-12 14:09:52
113.   fanerman
111 - that "get" should be a "got." D'oh!
2006-04-12 14:11:13
114.   trainwreck
We just called them slices. It does take skill to do them, but the game stinks when that is all people try to do.

I played this game called mushroom tag. It was pretty much dodgeball but with frisbees.

2006-04-12 14:15:27
115.   trainwreck
We also used to play kick the can and the tripping game. The tripping game is simple. Everyone goes in the sand and tries to take people down. As a person's body hits the sand (sans feet or hands) then they are out. It goes until there is one person left.

It always came down to the flexible kung fu kids who could do crazy hand stands and stuff so they would never hit the ground versus a fat kid.

2006-04-12 14:15:33
116.   s choir
When the teachers at my elementary school found out that my friends and I were playing a game called "Butt's up," every morning before school, involving plunking the losing players backside while he stood against a wall, they quickly banned the game. So we changed its name to "elimination" and got rid of the sadistic aspect. But one kid insisted on standing against the wall to receive his punishment when he lost nonetheless. I didn't understand that then, but after 5 years of living in San Francisco, I do now.

Another rule we played by: if no one touched the ball, the person furthest from the wall would have to retrieve it, and try to hit the wall from that spot.

2006-04-12 14:18:21
117.   katysdad
Cone soccer was interesting. Soccer with no net, bur rather an orange construction cone that had to be hit for a score.

And if we can get into games played in the pool, I'd be up for a game of Marco Polo (or Mickey Rooney, as my friend mistakingly called it).

2006-04-12 14:20:13
118.   Marty
Soccer wasn't even a consideration in my school. We played a lot of flag football, four-square, tetherball, plus "natural selection" on the jungle gyms.
2006-04-12 14:23:21
119.   Marty
We played a pool game we called "toothpick". People stand on the edge of the pool and one person would swim down to the bottom in the deep end, place a toothpick there, and swim back up. Then everyone would move around the edge trying to be the first to see the toothpick floating up. You then jump in and try to grab it. Very hard to see the toothpick and very easy to have two or more people jump in at the same time and knock heads.
2006-04-12 14:25:53
120.   trainwreck
Another fun elementary school game is smelling sharpe markers.
2006-04-12 14:27:08
121.   trainwreck
2006-04-12 14:27:23
122.   katysdad
Did anyone else's playground have one of those ball return games. There was a giant, inverted cone with four holes in it and the entire thing was on top of a pole. You would throw a ball through the top of the cone and it would come out of one of the holes. If it was your hole, you had to catch it. Miss, and you were out. Again, last one standing wins.

Tetherball was a game that was lost on me. That, and the ball hurt when you smacked it.

2006-04-12 14:27:39
123.   trainwreck
If it was so bad for you why did they make em smell like fruit!
2006-04-12 14:29:15
124.   Linkmeister
120 I was gonna say, what's Sterling Sharpe got to do with it?
2006-04-12 14:29:19
125.   s choir
The purpose of tetherball was to figure out, theoretically, who you could get in a fight with after school and not get your face broken.
2006-04-12 14:30:02
126.   trainwreck
That was far too fancy for my school. We had tambark! Boy that was sure helpful. Falling into wood chips that do not break your fall at all and fill you with splinters.
2006-04-12 14:32:21
127.   katysdad
[125} Tough school. I had a friend, Norm, who moved to Erie from Cleveland because his father wanted him to attend a safer school. Norm said the school newspaper at his old school had an obituary column. I am not certain if he was joking or not.
2006-04-12 14:33:40
128.   Penarol1916
126. We had that at my school in Davis. When I went to school in Montevideo, we had nothing to break our fall, but that okay, because we played a soccer version of smeer the queer, only it didn't have a name.
2006-04-12 14:37:26
129.   King of the Hobos
Back to the Dodgers...Saenz is playing against the lefty (no surprise), and Cruz is back in the lineup. Alomar is catching
2006-04-12 14:39:30
130.   regfairfield
129 How many games in a row did Navarro play? One, or two?

Alomar had 128 at bats last year. He's on pace for 300 right now.

2006-04-12 14:40:11
131.   Johnson
116 We also tried changing the name of "butts up" after it got banned, but we found that the teachers (to our dismay) just weren't that dumb. Dropping the "sadism" aspects was no good in our case. We desperately wanted to keep playing. I'd like to say that we recognized that the game encompassed a near-optimal set of cardiovascular (running) and hand-eye coordination (throwing, catching) skills, especially given our boring playground, but it's more likely that we just thought it was fun. Of course, it may also be that it's a child's wisdom that is able to tell what makes a great game, and an adult's cynicism that insists on describing its merits with multisyllabic words.
2006-04-12 14:42:38
132.   regfairfield
The problem with butts up is that playing it correctly is incredibly boring.

The first time I played in first grade or so, my logic went something like this:

I really don't want to get pegged by the ball.
I can only get letters if I touch the ball.
Solution: stay as far away from the ball as possible.

This worked very well, but I was forced to play "right" when my manhood got called into question.

2006-04-12 14:52:13
133.   Jacob L
132 Also describes smear-the-querier strategy in a nutshell. The way to succeed was to not really play, or at least stay well to the periphery of the action.

Ultimately, I think those games appealed to two diametrically opposed personality types, neither one of which applied to me. That is:
1. Enjoys proving one's toughness through what is essentially semi-structured fighting.
2. Enjoys ritualized pain and humiliation.

2006-04-12 14:58:40
134.   Ken Arneson
My most common games as a kid, besides the actual sports, were Pickle, Smear the Queer, HORSE, and Around the World.

Also, we had some vicious games of four-square at my school. Basically, you caught the ball on one bounce, and threw the ball from where you caught it as hard as you could into one of the other squares. You ended up playing about 10-15 feet outside the squares in order to catch the ball.

At my kids' school now, Wall Ball is all the rage.

2006-04-12 14:58:57
135.   Marty
133 It pretty much identifies future football players.
2006-04-12 15:00:50
136.   s choir
133. Enjoys proving one's toughness through what is essentially semi-structured fighting

AKA hockey, football, and basketball players.

Thank God for baseball.

2006-04-12 15:06:25
137.   Eric Enders
Never played butts up, but we used to play wallball with some ferocious pegging. I got pretty good at it after I perfected a great strategy: stand right in front of the wall facing the other players. You then intentionally deflect someone's throw, touch the wall yourself so you're not "out," then pick up the ball and you have a good 5-7 seconds to peg the original thrower, who has to run directly toward you in his effort to touch the wall.

It was probably against the spirit of the game, but I was always the sort of kid who was more interested in exploiting the actual rules than preserving the spirit of the game.

2006-04-12 15:08:26
138.   Linkmeister
I played some sort of combination of pepper and bowling called "hit the bat," in which your partner would hit a long fly ball which you'd try to catch. He'd then put the bat down and you'd have to attempt to roll the ball in such a way as to hit the bat on the ground. All this at a distance of 150 feet or so.

This game only worked with about five or six participants, and only if you had a long straight street (Kelton Avenue off Olympic, in my case).

2006-04-12 15:14:55
139.   tjshere
Marty - You and I are the same age and I also went to grade school in the San Gabriel Valley. Apparently things in Whittier were much the same as Monrovia because all the games you describe and terms you use are exactly as I remember them.

Baby bouncies! LOL Been awhile since I heard that one.

And I can't remember the rules for 7-up either, but I sure played a lot of it every time it rained.

2006-04-12 15:16:04
140.   fanerman
You live in Whittier (or lived in Whittier)? Where in Whittier? I live there (at least when I'm not in college).
2006-04-12 15:23:59
141.   Marty
No, I live in Altadena, grew up in Monrovia. tjshere grew up in Whittier. I sprained a wrist in Whittier during 'C' football though...
2006-04-12 15:25:09
142.   Ken Arneson
134 Oh, yes, and Three Flies Up. Can't forget Three Flies Up.
2006-04-12 15:45:37
143.   SoCaltoVegas
Yes, I can also relate to the "butts up"/"suicide" talk with a variation on those games aptly called "slaughterhouse." Summary on this morbid theme as so...player fumbles/misplays rapidly moving racquetball, player has to run through a sea of fists to touch the wall. Talk about acquiring soft hands quickly! In most cases we would punch the sorry infielders in the chest and keep the face out of the equation. However, sometimes that etiquette went out the door. I'm near 30 and still have yet to veneer the chipped tooth earned from slaughterhouse. If it weren't for slaughterhouse though I can say with some certainty that I would have never acquired the chops to play shortstop through Little League and third base through high school and Legion. Thank you slaughterhouse!
2006-04-12 15:47:08
144.   tjshere
140 fanerman - I'm a high-desert rat now, but I lived in Whittier until 1972. Not far from the Whittier Downs Mall and right around the corner from Daniel Phelan Elementary. Does that help?

While we're reminiscing, who remembers the dreaded phrase, "choose off!"?

2006-04-12 15:55:39
145.   Jon Weisman
142 - I hadn't forgotten, but wasn't sure it was worthy of mention.

One thing we did in 7th grade was slalom races down staircases. It was pretend skiing - you had to hit each step with both feet parallel, facing alternate directions each step.

2006-04-12 16:00:30
146.   underdog
145 And how much time did you 7th grade "stair skiiers" spend on the DL, I wonder? Sounds like a recipe for a trip to the nurse's office. (He says in a Principal Skinner voice)
2006-04-12 16:02:09
147.   Jon Weisman
None. And we did it without helmets!
2006-04-12 16:07:47
148.   Underbruin
I was personally a big fan of watching students go grab a cafeteria tray and sled down the largest hill near the campus. This was especially funny because this was during college, so everybody involved was way too old to have any chance of doing so successfully. The wipeouts were spectacular.

One of my friends called it "turning sledding into a spectator sport."

2006-04-12 16:11:01
149.   Jon Weisman
Did you ever do ice blocking?
2006-04-12 16:15:53
150.   Underbruin
Hahaha, no, I wish - I think it sounds like a good time. Some of the students at the school I went to got pretty creative, and had quick-fingers too. A group of kids carried out one of the cafeteria tables and got a good couple of rides down in a big group before they got spotted.

I really never took part in that, I'm a bit too clumsy. I was a big fan of snow wrestling, though. Easy recipe - take wrestling, just add snow. :)

Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2006-04-12 17:19:12
151.   Sam DC
149 yes -- in the wee hours at rancho park golf course.
2006-04-12 17:22:45
152.   Sam DC
Just heard today brings the first back to back rainouts in the last forty five years in SF (April 1961).

And in DC, Pedro Martinez gets through five innings on only 47 pitches (34 strikes). No hit batsmen or untoward words that I'm aware of.

2006-04-13 15:22:47
153.   Jonny6
In theory, I'm way too busy to be spending my free time reading Dodger Thoughts, but threads like this are what always keep me coming back (albeit a day late). Socco and butts up in the same conversation, it doesn't get much better than that. We called "socco" double dodgeball, and it was THE game of choice at my elementary school. I loved that game. It's come up as a random topic of discussion more than a few times with my wife and others, and no one can ever remember playing. Was it a regional thing? We played on a basketball court, and as each person got hit they had to go to the "end zone" area; it was quite a proud moment to be the last one on your team standing in the main area.

As for butts up, we had nearly a dozen variations on that game, none of which I can seem to remember now that it's 20 years later. As sadistic as butts up seemed to be, we actually played it at my junior high to stay out of trouble. There were enough drugs and gangs at my middle school, that butts up was the safe way to channel your energy.

Good times.

BTW, I always asked for baby bounces. It was good for the occasional booming kick, but half the time you would mistime the bounce and kick it straight into the ground. I guess I was going for the Dave Kingman approach as opposed to Jon's Craig Counsell approach.

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