With tents, chairs and coolers full of booze in hand, hundreds rolled into Mission Bay’s Fiesta Island Saturday for the annual romp and circumstance of the Over the Line (OTL) Tournament .
For 61 years, San Diegans and visitors have gathered to play the modified form of beach baseball – characterized by naughty names, crazy outfits and the drinking.
"Usually we drink before as much as well can, and whatever happens happens," said player Reyes Santa Cruz of his team's strategy. He and his team -- named "We spend more time looking for black box than Malaysia Airlines -- has traveled from Phoenix for the past five years for the OTL tradition.
The rules are simple: games last three innings, no one has to run bases and the main goal is to hit the ball “over the line” about 55 feet in front of the batter.
This year, more than 1,200 three-person teams will compete over this weekend and next in ten divisions.
"I love the team names, of course. Obviously they're a little racy, but they're fantastic and imaginative," said player Jason Register with Team "Local girls at the Silver Fox." "And playing the game with all my friends, that's really the best."
People from all over the world are attracted to the sandy tournament not just for the unique game, but for the party atmosphere that surrounds it.
The club planned to restrict alcohol sales to designated sections of the beach, but after participants voiced their bitter disappointment, the city granted OMBAC its typical permit, which allows the public to bring their own booze – as long as it’s not in a glass container.
Organizers also warn participants to leave their dogs, babies, bicycles, fighting and public displays of nudity at home.
Those who spoke with NBC 7 Saturday were glad they could bring their own beers, though Register said he has to factor the alcohol into his playing strategy.
"Try not to drink too much," he said. "I seem to fail at that later in the day."
But for others, the best part was a chance to come together with friends they don't see too often.
Amy Jennings, for example, has a few friends from Arizona that come and stay with her family just for the OTL tournament.
"Camping at our house. They bring their tents, so it's an annual event, and we enjoy our time together," said Jennings.
Another challenge outside of the difficult game is finding a place to park. Since parking fills up fast in the area, OMBAC is offering a free “OmShuttle” on the first three days to take people to Fiesta Island, and pickups stop at 3 p.m.
The shuttles will be stopping at these places:
- The Linda Vista trolley stop parking lot on Friars Road
- The Bonita Cove parking lot on West Mission Bay Drive
- The parking lot at Fiesta Island Drive and East Mission Bay Drive