I was really looking forward to catching this vintage base ball game (yes, in 1864, it was base ball, two words…) in my favorite stadium in the world, Limeport Stadium in very rural Limeport, PA. It’s only a few miles from Shimerville/Emmaus where I lived in the 90’s, raising my two children Rosalie and Jaimie on baseball. Cornfield in left, farm in right, lights at night, the sound of birds in the trees, crickets at night. Americana at its best.
While my family was in CT, I took Jaimie up to see a vintage base ball tournament in a large park in the middle of Hartford. Not in a ball park, but in a big open space in a major city. It was a great time, trying to figure out the quirky rules, watch the fielders catch with no gloves, the gentleman umpire off to the side, interesting ways the players dealt with the rules. We had a great time.
Today, this vintage team the Mutuals of New York ‘barnstormed’ our local stadium. They tour about 35 games a year, playing local pick-up teams of active amateur players. They’ve played in Cooperstown, been on TV, etc. and they put on a great show, a great time in many ways. Old uniforms, some nice personalities playing to the crowd and a bizarre set of rules.
These guy really appreciated the setting, in this historic rural part. The local players adapted to the rules, after several ‘fine print’ errors. But, they settled in and made some great plays, made fine adjustments in their play, and did some fine hitting, running and, most importantly, took part in the joy of playing the game. A good crowd in the stands with some audible quips from the seats, including myself, I must say. In a small venue, everything is in play.
Great interaction with the teams, the crowd, the stadium, the announcer, along with a perfect August Saturday afternoon in the middle of rural PA. This is my American experience distilled through my deep, deep family history of baseball and Pennsylvania. history