Out To The Ball Game, Playing Vintage Base Ball - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Out To The Ball Game, Playing Vintage Base Ball

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MARDELA SPRINGS, Md. - Delmarva has a rich history, and keeping it alive is a responsibility we all share, but for those of you who think history isn't fun, this story might change your mind. 

Played in uniforms, you'd find in the history books, with rules to match, some of which go all the way back to 1864.

This, is Vintage Base Ball, "and yes it's two words: base ball," says Jim "Grandpa" Apple, a player for the Eastern Fair Plays.

Apple says "it's bare hand baseball, you've got a ball, and you've got a wooden bat, that's all the equipment you have."  That's not all that's different from the modern incarnation.  The pitchers throw underhand, a batter can get out on one bounce. 

And you can forget the fights and arguing you might see in the modern game, Vintage Base Ball is a gentleman's sport.  "If the spectators think the opposite team they're rooting for has done well, they'll say 'huzzah, huzzah'," says Sylvia Bradley, Executive Director of the Westside Historical Society.

Oh, and you might need a new dictionary for some of the old terms they use at one of these "matches"(that's the word for a "game").

A player is called a "ballist."  The batter is a "striker," and a "Muffin" is a player who's enthusiastic but might not very good.  If you turn out to be a Muffin, don't worry.

"The best thing is, it's all about having fun," chimes in Aaron Block, a first year player for the Lewes Vintage Base Ball Club.

Sunday's match is a double header between the Easton Fair Plays and the Lewes Vintage Base Ball Club, extensions of two teams that actually existed in the late 19th century.

So, this is more than just "role play," Sylvia says "it's local history, it's Delmarva history."

This was the first game hosted by the Westside Historical Society, which works to promote the history of the western part of Wicomico County.

The teams have been playing for years.

The Vintage Base Ball match was also meant to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

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