Gut Rumbles

June 14, 2005

for ignorant late-comers


Half-rubber has been a topic of much discussion on the blog for a couple of years now. The people in my comments below asking, "What the hell is half-rubber" all need to be dragged off and shot. If you would check my archives or read anything about last April's Jawja Writer's Conference, you wouldn't be asking such stupid questions.

What you see in the picture is my friend Catfish throwing a half-rubber pitch. Yes, he's sailing HALF of a rubber ball, kinda frisbee-style at a batter who intends to hit it with a broomstick. Behind the batter is a catcher who intends to snag the ball if the batter swings and misses.

If you swing and miss and the catcher makes the catch, you're out. If you hit the ball, anything a bat-length in front of you is a single. Knock it over the pitcher's head and it's a home run. It takes three people to play, and you rotate positions every time somebody strikes out. (Catcher becomes batter, batter becomes pitcher and pitcher becomes catcher.)

The great thing about the game is that it involves NO base-running, so you can drink a lot of beer while you play.

The other two wrinkles I'll mention is that if you swing, tip the ball and the catcher still snags it, the catcher gets TWO outs on his next at-bat. The same thing if you pop one up and the pitcher catches it in the air. HE gets two outs next time up.

It's played with nothing more than a rubber ball cut in half and a broomstick for a bat. But I'll warn you right now. There is an art to pitching, hitting or catching a half-rubber. It ain't as easy as it looks.

THAT'S half-rubber. Try to remember that the next time I mention it on this blog.


:-( I'm sorry, please don't drag me off and shoot me! I've only just started reading your fine blog and haven't managed to get through all the archives yet!

dispensation for newcomers? :-/

Posted by: Misty on June 14, 2005 02:53 PM

How intriguing! It's must have taken a bit of "homemade wine" to think this up.

Do you start with a hollow or a solid rubber ball? (like the old "Super Balls" - remember those?)

Posted by: Ed on June 14, 2005 02:56 PM

I think we will have a new pastime at our "Bullhead Bash" (a 4 day boozefest complete with a live band and plenty o' BBQ) in our little getaway Vance,Texas for the The 4th.

Posted by: gravdigr on June 14, 2005 03:11 PM

Like the no running part. Anything like baseball that 3 people can play is classic in my book.

Posted by: Mark Alexander on June 14, 2005 03:21 PM

That's me throwing the half rubber, the day we played, I was so hung over, I could not walk, much lass play, but I gave it a try. I think the game half-rubber started in Savannah Georgia, my oldest brother played it in Washington Square, also called the Old Fort, when he was a child, Thomas is 76 years old now. Just get you a solid rubber, hard, ball about three inches across the ball, cut it in half and then you have two balls. Use a broomstick made out of wood and there you go, enjoy, Cat

Posted by: catfish on June 14, 2005 03:23 PM

I like the beer drinking part............

Posted by: Maeve on June 14, 2005 03:31 PM

When I was growing up in North Carolina we played half-rubber with a tennis ball that had been cut in half. For a bat we used a broomstick with the broom part cut off. There was certainly a knack for pitching the thing, but it could be mastered. Ted Williams couldn't have mastered the hitting part. It was not hard to make contact but now way of knowing where it would go. If the thing was oriented vertically when it got over the "plate," you could knock the hell out of it and it would just make a loud fart sound and sputter to the ground. If you happened to catch one coming in vertically like a frisbee and you caught it just right you could send it three yards over. Brings back great memories.

Posted by: David Spence on June 14, 2005 03:52 PM

I'd like to see you try to drag me off and shoot me mr.

Posted by: livey on June 14, 2005 04:54 PM

And here was me thinking it was called half-rubber because you played so drunk half your body felt like rubber. :-) I'll have to give this a shot sometime.

Posted by: Alli on June 14, 2005 05:00 PM

Livey, you starting to fight again?

Posted by: catfish on June 14, 2005 05:01 PM

Half-rubber sounds like the Southrin version of stickball.

You'd play stickball in the city, with a broomstick for a bat and a hollow pink rubber "Spaldeen" ball (actually the core of a tennis ball). For bases, you'd use anything that happened to be in the street - like Mr. Schwartz's DeSoto's front bumper. Good players could hit a "three-sewer" shot for a home run.

But in Savannah, half-rubber makes more sense: less running, more beer drinkin'.

Posted by: Elisson on June 14, 2005 05:51 PM

Oh that Catfish is one sexy mofo

Posted by: livey on June 14, 2005 05:52 PM

Yeah, to another catfish. Just kidding cat

Posted by: GUYK on June 14, 2005 06:38 PM

But that catfish is one fine gentleman, let me tell ya! *Rob aint so bad either, but don't tell him I said so*

Posted by: Michele on June 14, 2005 07:06 PM

I believe he struck me out on that pitch. Eric finally caught one of my many whiffs. No flies on Eric. Catching that bastard is HARD!

Posted by: Velociman on June 14, 2005 08:58 PM

I watched that game (as well as the half rubber game in Helen, Ga. in October). I watched it, because I know there is no way I would be able to hit that "ball" while it does its aeordynamic tricks.

I've played lots of stickball, but this is much tougher. I'll continue to stick to spectating, heckling and beer drinking during the next half rubber game.

Posted by: Jim - PRS on June 14, 2005 09:03 PM

Damn... this is a sport made for me.

Went from 9 to 37 striking out just 6 times through my all star years in little league, babe ruth league and umpteen years of competitive softball.

I can't run worth a damn and when I try, I usually break something.

Remind me to be reincarnated in Georgia.

Posted by: Aaron's cc: on June 15, 2005 02:00 AM

I can see if you were half-drunk, this might be half-interesting.

Posted by: PJ on June 15, 2005 03:27 AM

Sounds totally ridiculous...and I'd have to be not just half drunk, but totally GASSED to find anything amusing about this "sport"

Posted by: Ruth on June 15, 2005 08:38 AM

Can you play in the nude? The visuals are too much!

Posted by: Ed on June 15, 2005 02:18 PM

That's stickball as Elisson pointed out. We played in south Philly. The pitcher would stand in the middle of the street and pitch the 1/2 a pinkie. Across the street was a 7 story building and the higher up you sent the pinkie, the more points you got. Some guys could actually clear that damn building. Thick of that trajectory. The batter got 3 strikes and kept batting until he struck out. Tics weren't strikes. That was in the early 60's and we could play for hours.

Posted by: MM on June 15, 2005 04:47 PM
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