Simons: Vintage baseball brings the game’s past into the present

From Greg Simons at The Hardball Times on November 28, 2018:

The crack of the bat sounds quite familiar to any baseball fan. Ninety feet between bases, nine players on a side, three outs and you’re done—these characteristics certainly ring true to anyone familiar with America’s national pastime.

However, the first time you witnesses the game known as vintage base ball (it was two words back then), some things jump out immediately as unusual. The attire is far different from modern-day uniforms, no one is wearing gloves; the pitcher most likely is delivering the ball underhand; players very well could be recording outs on balls that bounce before being caught.

This sport—which typically reenacts game play from a range of years between 1858 and 1886—has existed for roughly 30 years and has become something approaching an obsession for many of the players on the approximately 400 teams around the country. It harkens back to the beginnings of the game as we know it, appealing to those who want to learn the history of baseball and crave a simpler time when players weren’t millionaires (they often weren’t paid at all), owners weren’t billionaires, and stadiums didn’t have massive high-definition screens, thumping music, and t-shirt cannons.

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Originally published: December 3, 2018. Last Updated: December 3, 2018.