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Xtra-Innings- A baseball Board Game

I had the luxury of speaking with a fellow baseball enthusiast and fan! Dwight Baird, Co-Creator of the Xtra- Innings board game was a delight to speak with and was happy to do the interview. He has formulated a very interesting board game consisting of specific baseball strategies that a player will experience at game speed. Expect now he/she can do this in their living room! Here is how our conversation went.

Whats your story and how are you involved with baseball?

I played a bit of baseball when I was a teenager and then fastball for a few years in my twenties. I always followed the game and was a major Montreal Expos fan in the eighties when they had some really great teams…Then bad ownership came in, they left and broke my heart along with the hearts of a lot of others…

I am a full time artist/painter and  it was during this time that I decided to do a series of paintings on baseball – not just players swinging away at the plate, but a real behind the scenes look at all the things most fans never see. This project took me to sand lots, minor league ball parks, a couple of stadiums in the Dominican Republic, inside the clubhouses including the umpires clubhouse and, of course  in the stands with the fans…I produced a series of over fifty works entitled “The Baseball Collection” and ended up being a licensee of MLBP, had work featured in Baseball Weekly and various other publications, and in 1984 had an image of mine used as the inspiration for the cover of the All-Star Program…and then the strike happened and everything changed…..

How did you come up with the concept of Xtra innings?

It was my partner Francois Dore who came up with the original concept for Xtra Innings. I was pretty much out of baseball at the time – my team had moved to Washington, so my interest as as fan had pretty much disappeared. One day Frank dropped by for a visit and showed me an idea he had for a baseball card/board game. He had developed and very unique “Pitching Sequence” for Balls, Strikes and Hits, and, as he knew I was pretty familiar with the game, asked me if I would be interested in helping him developing the idea…I was pretty intrigued, we worked together on the project for over two years and Xtra Innings was finally  born…

Can you give a brief description of the rules?

The game revolves around a unique “Pitching Sequence” and the subsequent playing of Offensive and Defensive cards. There are NO dice in Xtra Innings – it is not a game of luck.

Both players throughout the game use an identical set of five “Pitch Cards” and  also begin  each inning with either seven Offensive cards or Defensive cards, depending on whether you are hitting or in the field.

There are two categories in the five “Pitch Cards”  – Three  “Power Pitches” (Inside Fastball, Outside Fastball, Nasty Slider) and two “Off Speed Pitches” (Slow Curve, Change-Up)

It plays out a  little bit like Rock, Paper, Scissors. Players hold their “Pitch Cards” in “poker fashion” and each player selects one card and throws it down on the board at the same time. The combination of these two cards determines whether it is a Strike, a Ball or a Contact. It follows a certain baseball logic.

Any combination of a “Power Pitch” and an “Off Speed Pitch” is always a Strike. Any two cards in the same category  (two Off Speed or two Power) is always a Ball, as long as they are not the exact same pitch. Any time two players throw down the exact same “Pitch Card”, (eg.Nasty Slider + Nasty Slider), it is Contact. Players pick up their “Pitch Card” after each pitch and go through a pitch by pitch count just like in a real game…

But what makes this game really unique and duplicates all strategy of the game are  the Offense and Defense cards which can be played after Balls, Strikes or Contacts. Every play possible in baseball is in Xtra Innings, on both Offence and Defence and you have  to decide on every pitch and then every play. You have to manage the game just like you were in the dugout.  You can try and move a base runner on 1st along with a “Sac Bunt”, (Take and Out!), a “Wild Pitch” or “Stolen Base”(Take a chance!) to try and avoid the “Fielder’s Choice” or “Double Play” cards. You know what you have in your seven Offence cards but you do not know what your opponent has in his seven Defence cards.  You decide – no  luck, but pure baseball strategy.

Will this actually help baseball players get better?

It will definitely help younger players understand a lot more of  the fundamentals and strategy of the game and  what they see when they go to the ball park. When the play Xtra Innings and learn how to  use the  “Stretch”,”Hit ‘N Run” , “Squeeze Play”, “Balk” and Pick-Off” cards, for example, they will understand these situations a lot better when they see them  during a real game. The “Intentional Walk” card shows younger players the strategy of  how to set up the “Double Play” with a runner on 2nd and 1st base open. But, as in the real game of baseball, it does not always work out exactly as you hoped it would…But that is what is unique about Xtra Innings – it really does mirror what happens on the diamond.

Who is it suited for and why should they play it?

As I said, it is a great game for younger players to learn baseball strategy.. The “Pitching Sequence” is really kind of addicting and younger players really love the throwing down of the cards. The game also includes a “Minor League Editon”  , where the more complicated cards can be taken out and a five inning game is played with just twenty Offence and Defence cards with all the basic plays.

Older players who understand all the strategy of the game will be amazed at how Xtra Innings duplicates not only all the strategy , but also the pace and emotion of a real  game. For all the fans  who always thought they could manage a baseball team, this is the game where you can actually prove it.

The game can be played with either two or four players(two teams of two players) – with one player playing the “Pitch Cards” and the other playing either the Offence or Defence cards. Playing four players is really great social and family fun and ideal for parents looking for an educational sport game they can play with their kids.

httpv://youtu.be/EtOiya56jow

Where is it available?

At the moment Xtra Innings is only available is a few selected stores as we have not yet secured a national distributor for the game. If you cannot find it in  your neighborhood game store and ask for it. Say you read about it and are interested in becoming part of the Xtra Innings team! You can also order it online at www.xtrainningsgame.com and check out our Xtra Innings Coaches Clinic videos on our Facebook site here: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001922386929

What is the best way for fans to contact you?

Email us at coach@xtrainningsgame.com or call Dwight at 514 932 4697 or on Facebook 

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Play Hard and never look back

Satchel Page knew it. This game is tough. More importantly, it isn’t fair. You can put in all the work and train harder than any player who ever lived and you may still never get the credit you deserve. You may spend extra time in the cage and still go 0-4. You may train an extra 30 min longer than your team-mates a day and only last an inning on the bump(Mound:-)). Nothing’s for certain, and success in baseball will never be guaranted, but it can still be fun. When you learn how to play the innner game of baseball, you always win. Even when you lose.

Here are two bonafide baseball tips to hep you “Play hard and never look back”

Focus on what you can control

Playing the inner game of baseball is about taking action. It’s also about having an approach and sticking with it through thick and thin. Even when things aren’t going the way you planned, you have confidence in your approach and believe that it will work for you in time.

This is called mental toughness. Instead of focusing on whether you got two hits for the day, or went errorless. You are more concerned with whether you played within yourself. Took each pitch one at a time.

X-Major Leaguer, Steve Springer calls this,” setting daily attainable goals”

It’s how the big boys do it!

Work hard on yourself, and for yourself

Listen, unless you just signed a big league contract, no-one has anything invested in you and your development as a baseball player except for  band wagon girlfriends( cleat chasers), small town neighbors, vicarious parents:/Remember that the next time you decide to go fishing instead of taking some extra swings in the cages, or spending some extra time in the weight room. I guarantee you this, there is someone in the world who is more talented and hungry than you. Like the little fella below. Yup, he’s chomping at the bits to play our ol’ past-time!

It’s time you get comfortable doing hitting drills till your hands bleed:)

It’s time you build arm strength the way Nolan Ryan was willing to.

Noone is going to make you train the way you will need to. IT’S UP TO YOU! Quite frankly, thats the way it should be.

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How to earn playing time while sitting on the bench- Part 5

This is a five part series about how I was able to play at the Division one level after sitting on the bench in Junior College for three years.

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4, Part 5

Practice and train as though the lives of those you most cared about depended on it. Go up to the plate with this in mind:
I must succeed, but if i don’t I must not quit.

 

Look guys, you don’t want to stop playing this game with any regrets. Regardless of how long you play this game, you need to understand that you will eventually have to hang em up, don’t make the mistake of taking anything for granted.Play this game with reckless abandon, practice it with ruthless passion.

The journey of being a bench player is long and gruesome. It’s lonely, boring, deflating, and discouraging, and that is why it’s such an important opportunity.

If you can handle sitting on the bench,working harder than your teammates for just a couple of late-inning at-bats or clean-up role, then you can handle anything. If you can stay motivated to continue your development as a baseball player through the drudgery of lack of playing time then you will be a better player for it.

Remember, this game owes you nothing and the only thing that truly matters is your response to what happens.

When life gives you lemons, put it on a tee and hit it out of the park.

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How to earn playing time while sitting on the bench- Part 4

 

This is a five part series about how I was able to play at the Division one level after sitting on the bench in Junior College for three years.

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4, Part 5

Asking the right Questions

If there is ever a positive thing about sitting on the bench, it’s that you have a lot of time to think and reflect about your situation. Not having your focus on making adjustments and competing everyday allows you to ask yourself some pretty interesting as well as important questions such as:

Do you really love baseball? 

Do you truly love the game for itself or only becuase it makes you feel cool. Are you doing it to please your family,  or do you play to challenge yourself and become a better person. Are you truly passionate about getting the most out of your potential? What is your real motivation?

What would you be doing if you weren’t playing baseball?

How else would you be spending your time if you weren’t spending it on swinging a bat and throwing a baseball? Do those other activities interest you more? If so, you may want to examine those ideas.

What would you give to play this game at the highest level?

This is an important question because I know that majority of players don’t have a clue of the sacrifice and dedication that it truly takes to actually get the most out of their potential and play professionally.

Take the time to ask yourself these questions and you may be surprised as to how you truly feel.

Becoming aware will allow you to take action.

You will either decide that you will play this game and not let anything EVER, get in your way, or you will realize that though you like baseball, there are other things that could be just as interesting.

Always know why you are playing. Play with purpose.