Am in NYC for a conference. Went for a wee perambulation in the park this evening. and lo and behold (what can this phrase mean), a many faceted baseball diamond on Heckscher Ballfield in Central park.
This field has four diamond, one in each corner. And it’s small enough that the “outfields” don’t just touch, they actually interpenetrate. This means that as you are playing one game, you have to pay attention to developments in three others. The alternative is terrible collisions, dropped balls, tears and recriminations.
When there is a “heavy hitter” at the plate, each center fielder actually plays facing the center fielder from the game opposite his own.
You can choose your own referent, but if baseball is America’s game, perhaps Heckscher’s field is telling us something.
Your faithful correspondent n the park.
If the center fielders of opposite games overlap, then the right and left fielders would overlap even more, since fields diagonal from each other are farther apart than ones on adjacent corners.
The real difference this makes is that there must be no fence. You can’t hit one “out of the park” just into the adjacent game, which would bring up some points of etiquette: If a ball gets by your outfielder, can a neighboring short stop throw it back? Or must the outfielder run into the middle of the adjacent game to chase the missed ball?
Actually, I think it would work fine once the players got used to it. When you hear the crack of a bat behind you, you can either turn and look or you can just watch the fielder in front of you. If they head any direction but straight for you, you’re probably not in the way of the ball. It sounds like a reasonable compromise. After all, baseball proceeds only in fits and starts and the chances that two outfield-bound balls are in the air at once would be small.