Friday, July 18, 2008

Over The Line In San Diego

This past weekend I discovered a uniquely Californian pastime; a game called Over The Line (OTL).

OTL is so popular that the Old Mission Beach Athletic club (OMBAC) , host a major tournament every year.

The tournament takes place over two weekends and occurs in an area apply named Fiesta Island, and during the tourney more than 2,500 games will be played.

For those who are not familiar (I was not), OTL is played in the sand is a bit like softball, but there are a lot of differences:
- The field layout is completely different (see diagram)
- The pitcher and the batter are on the same team
- Each team only has three players

Here’s how it works, the pitcher kneels beside the batter and tosses a rubberized ball, just smaller than a softball up into the air for the batter to hit. The batter goal is to hit the ball over the line at the end of the diamond (about 55 feet). The ball must remain in bounds and must not be caught by the opposing team. Four successful hits over the line without being caught is a run. Two foul balls, or a ball that gets caught, are an out. 3 outs per side per inning, four innings in total.

There is of course no running, that would make it to much like a sport.......

The OTL tourney is simply a good excuse to get together in as little clothing as possible (it is warm on Fiesta Island) and drink beer and have a GIANT party. About 55,000 people attend the tourney every year, and there is lots of music, and fun. No one under 18 is allowed on the island during the tourney.

One of the objectives is to find the most outrageous names possible for your team so that it sounds funny when they announce your name over the PA to start your next game. Nothing gets banned!! The tourney was so popular that ESPN was going to televise it, but they insisted that the names of the teams had to be toned down. The folks at OMBAC said No Way (well actually had another two word response F*#K You!). So the tournament never did make it onto ESPN.

Here’s a photo of one of my favorite teams.

Needless to say, I am now a devoted fan, and I will be fielding my own team next year. Anybody got any good ideas for team names??