Ever wonder if time travel is possible? It seems it is if you ask a few passionate baseball players in Arizona. They make a regular journey back in time when they play Vintage Base Ball.
Players who play vintage base ball use old-time gloves and play with rules from the 1860s to the 1890s. Here’s an excerpt about the game from a March 2008 article in the Arizona Republic by Dave Vest.
“The bats they used were heavier than those used today, and the fielders’ gloves were tiny, more like gardening gloves than baseball gloves. The pitcher stood on the same level as the batter about 50 feet away and tossed the ball underhanded. The uniforms they wore screamed 19th century, and each time a player scored a run that player rang a bell behind home plate to make it official. And – hold on to your pillbox cap for this one – manners not only were celebrated but required.
‘We really value good sportsmanship,’ said Tenney, a 32-year-old machinist from north Phoenix. ‘In our league, you cheer for your opponent and congratulate each other on a nice catch or a good hit. It’s something you don’t really see nowadays. These guys (in the major leagues) are paid dump trucks full of money to play a game, and yet they act like spoiled children. . . . I’m a big baseball fan, and it kind of bothers me that competition is so intense now.’
That last sentence sums up precisely why Tenney founded the Valley’s version of Vintage Base Ball.
Tired of playing in adult baseball/softball leagues with win-at-all-costs mind-sets, Tenney began searching the Internet for alternatives two years ago and stumbled onto a Vintage Base Ball site from back east.
If you’re a person who thinks baseball needs to be played this way, you might want to head to Bisbee for the weekend.
The Copper Kings will host the double header beginning at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 9 at the historic Warren Ballpark. Built in 1909, Warren Ballpark is the oldest park of its kind in the United States.
Details: Saturday, May 9 at 2 p.m. at the Warren Ball Park. Admission to the game is only $5. Find out more about the ballpark at the Warren Ballpark website.