THE RULES:

Wiffle Ball, CL-STYLE

For many of us, Wiffle Ball is the real American pastime. We played it as children in the backyard, on campus when we should have been in class, and, if you happen to work at Creative Loafing headquarters, whenever a sufficient number of deadlines have been met.

Equipment: The official Wiffle "perforated plastic baseball" is, of course, the mandatory ingredient. Diehards insist on only using the official 32-inch banana bat, but over the years many leagues have opted for rounder, longer, heavier sticks that make connecting with the elusive Wiffle ball a bit easier. At CL, we use a black, hard-plastic "Louisville Slugger."

Team play: Our baseball diamond is a retention pond next to the office that's usually dry. Four of us compete in an every-man-for-himself battle of "automatics" and "ghost runners" that typically finds each person getting two at-bats. One person pitches to a catcher who calls balls and strikes. The catcher also decides whether a hard grounder, line-drive or deep fly is a single, double, triple, homer or out.

Scoring: For us, a parking lot in leftfield (75 feet), a palmetto bush in center (100 feet), and an embankment in rightfield (80 feet) are the homerun markers. Batters get two outs. An automatic single moves a runner one bases over, a double two bases, etc.

Inevitable result: Arguments about balls, strikes, hit and outs (all part of the fun, of course).

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