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Let’s Play Ball

Those of us who grew up playing schoolyard baseball have fond memories of the game.

With visiting grandchildren now interested in playing, I needed a backstop that was easy to erect and dismantle. I used an 8×10-foot canvas as background with one eight-foot end attached to a bar approximately six feet from the ground, the four foot remnant (of the 10-foot length) curled in a roll at the base. There are only top and side supports which create the necessary “pocket” to stop the ball which drops down to be caught by this roll. Retrieval is merely a matter of having the batter reach down and toss the ball back to the pitcher.

I constructed the wooden stand to be easily dismantled for storing at summer’s end, but this proved to be unnecessarily complicated. Yes, it can be erected and dismantled by tightening/loosening two bolts, but the bracing would be much simpler if I had merely used two 4×4 posts buried two feet in the ground and slotted on top to accept a 1×4-inch board as the cross member. If I were to build this again, that is how I would do it.

Hooks holding the canvas are “S”-shaped tarp strap holders available in most hardware stores, held in place on the crossbar by barbed fence wire staples. This allows me to easily remove the canvas for night and during windy days to reduce undue vibration pressure on the supports.

For us grandparents, this innovation is a blessing. Some may be able to stoop, stretch and turn sharply for hours on end. We cannot, so this solution allows me to still be able to get out there and play ball with the grandkids.

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