And now for something completely different. Craig Robinson of Flip Flop Flyball gets weird and wonderful on us with this thought experiment: what if a baseball diamond had FIVE bases? No need to say much more, just open your mind and enjoy!

five bases craig

Comments (27)

  1. Looks like a big Diaper

  2. a throwdown from the catcher to 2nd or 3rd base could be awkward, since it is at an angle it he would have to maneuver around the batter slightly.

  3. Pentagonball is not baseball, so why stop at the number of bases!

    I think you’ll have to add a 10th fielder to keep things remotely sane. Which is of course a 10-man hitting lineup too.

    And while we’re at it, with the excitement of all the running and throwing, the game of Pentagonball would benefit from increased excitement of big rallys and rally killers. Ideally it should be played with only 5 innings. And 5 outs per inning of course.

    That actually sounds pretty cool.

  4. A line drive with multiple runners could result in more triple plays.

  5. While we’re at it, robot umpires and PEDs should be mandatory.

  6. I’m not certain you would see a significant increase in the number of doubles or triples. It would depend a lot on where the ball was hit. Right handed hitters would be much more inclined to “pull” the ball because new 2nd base appears to be much farther away from the left fielder than the original, but they would less inclined to head to new 3rd because it is much closer to the left fielder.

    By the inverse the left handed hitters are more inclined to try to hit the ball to the left field to get the double, but if they do pull you would see more triples.

    You don’t see the angles with 5 bases so base running on a hit may be easier.

  7. In Pentagonball, a single base hit, will end up as a three-bagger, for all but the slowest of players – as stealing 2nd and 3rd would be very easy. So, in this effect, by explicitly adding a base, you kind of negate the addition just due to the baserunning effect.

    One more thing to consider, is that we may need to expand the infield fly rule out a bit – as 2nd and 3rd base are far enough out there – that and outfielder could purposely drop, or not drop, a short lazy fly in hopes of doubling (or tripling!) off the runners on 2nd and 3rd, since they are a bit closer.

    At the end of the day, I think scoring goes through the roof in this game without adding an infielder:
    -Easy steals
    -More holes in the infield due to the dimensions
    -More extra base hits in the alley and/or down the line in the outfield, due to the dimensions
    -A grounder to third makes for a close play at first every time

    Juan Pierre’s career may continue for a few more years if we put this in place…

    • We could keep nine-man lineups intact if Pentaball adopted a Designated Fielder. Only nine men bat, but a team is allowed one extra fielder to float around wherever he is most useful. Imagine all of the slick-fielding, shit-batting speed guys we could take advantage of!

      • That rule modification would only be adopted by the American Pentagon League. Omar Visquel would still have a job there. Teams from the National Pentagon League would be at a severe disadvantage in interleague play because they would lack a true fielder.

  8. I wouldn’t mind seeing baseball played with two bases, a 360 degree field with no foul lines, a flat bat, and a straight-armed pitch that is bounced off the ground to create variation rather than straight at the batter. You could also have two batters on the field at once, who swap bases to get runs. There would be very few outs, so you’d need to reduce the number of innings to just one or two, but the whole lineup could play in that inning. I think that would have potential.

    No, on second thoughts, that would be insane.

  9. This would be so badass. theScore should patent this idea and start the league in 2025!

  10. How is this post not named, “Who’s on fourth?”

  11. A lot of the problems of pentagonball would be solved if you got rid of the balk. If stealing is easier, just allow the pitcher more weapons to stop stealing … case solved. I’ve never understood why you shouldn’t trick base runners into outs anyway. The base runner can trick his way to a free base, but the pitcher isn’t allowed to trick him into making a mistake? J’accuse MLB.

    Likewise, why shouldn’t an infield fly result in a double play? The batter screwed up and should face the consequences – how is that different from a ground ball to the shortstop? If a field is smart and fast enough to deliberately drop a fly ball, pick it up and get two outs, then he deserves those two outs. Also, it would be fun to see fielders decide late in games to go for the safe single out or a risky double play.

    Ban the balk and the infield fly rule, and let basepath chaos/entertainment reign.

    • Ben (the other one) hints on this with his discussion of balks, but an additional reason for more steals of 3rd and 4th, and to a lesser degree 2nd, is the pitcher has a longer distance for a pickoff attempt, so runners will be able to take a greater lead. This, combined with the greater distance especially of plate to 3rd, would result in nearly automatic steals of 3rd.

      Very fun thought experiment though, Craig.

  12. Baserunners would be able to advance > 1 base at faster speeds since the greater angle between bases would allow them to round each base without having to slow down as much or take as wide of turns.

  13. RE: Bunting: “Scoring position” as a concept might change with the larger field though. Bunting also reduces the number of force plays in a single at bat, so putting a player on 2nd with the greater likelihood that a hit will not be fielded as a single by an outfielder means that 2nd might still be a very common base from which to score on an “average” hit.

    Presumably, as noted about outfielders, the value of player abilities changes from what we currently have — defence might take a higher priority for fielders, in which case weaker bats would find their way into the majors with more regularity. If that happens, maybe the bunt gets used more often regardless of whether it is for a sacrifice or not. Plus, the bunt pulls the 2Bman to 1st, and the SS to 2nd, leaving a bigger gap than in normal baseball with an extra base not being covered.

    All this to say, while there are even more considerations, but I think bunting would remain relevant in pentagon ball.

  14. Strikeouts would probably become more important (for batters to avoid and for pitchers to get), because BABIP would go way up.

    Would we consider a 2-out inning? A 5-ball walk? Or other changes to rebalance?

    The 4-base-hit: The most exciting play in pentaball?

  15. This thread is probably being tracked by the US Department of Homeland Security right now…

    • What isn’t being tracked by the US Department of Homeland Security?

      I wouldn’t worry about it. They probably think we’re talking about baseball using the metric system.

  16. Well done & thought provoking!

  17. I’m guessing no one will see this, but I just found this thread and have a few thoughts.

    I think you would need to add three fielders to cover the larger field, two IF and one OF. So now you have a 12-batter lineup. Each batter would presumably only get an average of three AB per game instead of the usual 4 (assuming 9-inning game). On the other hand, you may need to go to four outs per half inning.

    Hell, you may even need 5 OFs to cover all that land out there. One thing’s for sure: team owners would have to come crying for even more cash to build these bigger stadiums.

    It’s odd is that the mound is no longer in the middle of the IF. Can’t really move it back though.

    I’d like to see what baseball would look like with only three bases (i.e., a triangular field).

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