Batter up!

An idea for a new sport.

This is an idea for a ball game along the lines of baseball/softball/kickball/etc.  It's played on a diamond, there are 9 innings, three outs per side per inning, etc., etc.  The ball used is a standard tennis ball, and any regular baseball or softball bat may be used.

In this sport, though, there are only five players per team:  A pitcher, a catcher, a first baseman, a shortstop, and an outfielder.

That's correct:  One outfielder has to cover the entire outfield, left, right, and center.  No problem.

The outfielder also cannot throw the ball back to the infield; he will have to run it in.  No problem.

The outfielder also does not get a turn at bat.  He won't complain.

The outfielder is a border collie.

Border Collie

Now, if your head isn't already reeling from the possibilities, you clearly have never met a border collie.  In fact, the team at bat may have to resort to bunting the runners around if they hope to score any runs.  Getting a fly ball to come down in the outfield without being caught in the air will probably prove to be a rare occurrence.  The only reason there are four human players per team is so that you cannot end up with the bases loaded and no batters; otherwise we'd omit the shortstop.

Border Collie catching ball

The biggest challenge here will be to train a border collie for the job -- or, more to the point, training two border collies for the job, since you'll need two teams to have a game.  Of course, if you only have one border collie, you could let him play outfield for both teams.  He won't complain about that, either.

If the owner/trainer of the border collie doesn't happen to be one of the other four players, he may be present during play but his role is akin to that of "coach".  He cannot be within fair territory during play.  He may stand outside the first or third base lines like a base coach.  It would perhaps be more common for the owner/trainer to play first base or shortstop, putting him in good position to monitor the outfielder's work.

Training your border collie to fetch a tennis ball certainly won't be difficult.  Training him to catch it in mid-air probably won't be difficult.  Getting him to give up the ball so you can resume play might be a little more challenging, but still doable.  Perhaps the most serious training challenge will be convincing him to run down the baserunner once he retrieves a ground ball.  Once accomplished, though, the image of a border collie tagging a human runner "out" would be worth the price of admission.

Border Collie on the job