06/12/11

Let’s call him Huckleberry. We need one of them.

“Let’s call him Huckleberry. We need one of them.”Pistol Pete Dickason, Hingham Derbies

About 3PM on Sunday afternoon I saw from my window a wheelbarrow almost half full of water. Only the faintest reflection of the clouds above could be seen on the surface. My head was full of “D”s. Dark, dismal, dank, dreary, dismayed, disgusted and disillusioned. The skin thins when you see such sights. The mind sets itself in a frame of obtuse insolence. Idleness appears to be the only solution. I suggested a trip to the Snug instead of practice. But the Commish would have none of it. “Go FORTH!” said he. “Rain? Play ball anyway…..!”

What a turnout we had! The Commish Dot Nesbit, Rambo Melia, Riptide Raso, Biscuits Lenihan, Pistol Dickason, Maddog Madden, Chips Lindsay, Nails Ullman, The Deacon, Hoser Bliss, Matt M , Bill F (nicknamed Huckleberry by Pistol) and myself were all in attendance. We did a round of 15 or so good swings per player, with the fielders shagging balls as if they were live.

……”Practice like you play”, Chips Lindsay cried.

After BP we ran drills for infield and outfield. The Base Balls were wet and things were sometimes sloppy but it was well worth the day and the ten or so balls that doubled in weight and were rendered useless. We had some scrapes: Nails almost poked an eye out on a branch looking for a ball in the thicket. A few guys threw too hard. Huckleberry beaned Maddog twice and almost got first hand knowledge why we call him Maddog. But in general, we’re really getting good. I’m serious. No, I’m really serious. Once the stretching is done and the knees aren’t cracking so much we can really play ball. This isn’t just one afternoon talking. Every practice has been better and every year has seen the bar raised.

Turnout is still an issue. Guys are coming but not always on the same Sunday. We need everyone there on the next two Sundays to play scrimmage games: Derbies V Coopers.

Small gloves and 1880s rules. This is rehearsal for the 3rd of July. Next week is Father’s Day. What could be better for Dad than a few hours of free time to play a game of Base with the lads?

“Get thee to the base ball field and all of your ills will be cured!”Dorchester Bartholemew Nesbit, Commissioner, Boston Road Base Ball League and Hingham Derby hurler.

See you Sunday,

Babe

Enjoy Narragansett, the Official Beer of Hingham Vintage Base Ball

06/8/11

The 2011 Annual Summer Classic!

Hingham, MAThe Hingham Historical Society and the Hingham Vintage Base Ball Club present the Annual Summer Classic!

Step back in time and watch two Base Ball Clubs, the Hingham Derbies and their cross town arch-rivals the Coopers, play nine frames of America’s gentlemanly pastime in period uniforms under 1880′s rules.

Sit on the lush grass hill at Derby Academy’s Talbot Ball Field at 3:00 PM on Sunday July 3rd, and enjoy traditional Base Ball Park fare with an informative emcee, young “newsies” selling popcorn and players possessed by the ghosts of Base Ball’s early years.

At the July 3rd game, honorable tradition survives. These boys of summer play for the love of the game, the history that surrounds it and the civilized competition it engenders on the green grass of the field. There are no agents, no wages and barely any gloves! The hidden ball trick, the suicide squeeze and the foul ball double play are a spectacle to watch on a warm summer day under a blue sky.

This family event is a collaborative effort of the Hingham Historical Society, the players and their families and is free to the public. Donations are encouraged at the gate with all proceeds going to the Hingham Historical Society. Refreshment and nourishment will be available for purchase. Fans are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs, bug spray, sun glasses and a love of the game as it was meant to be played.

This is Vintage Base Ball at Derby Academy and a must on your Independence Weekend schedule.

Contact:

Hingham Historical Society 781-749-7721
www.hinghamhistorical.org
www.hinghamvintagebaseball.org

06/7/11

Reflections of a Day on the Field

In those brief weeks between winter and summer, described as spring by the rest of the world, one or two Sundays may occur on the South Shore of Boston that will give a man a benchmark by which other weekends to follow will be compared. Despite the well documented adaptability of the human species, we are happiest with seventy two degree temperatures, low humidity and slumbering insects. Last Sunday was one of those days and as fortune would have it, the team met to practice. The hitting was impressive. The pitching was actual. The fielding was sublime.

There were imperfections. I personally took a ball off the face playing First Base with a garden mitt for a glove. I left with a mildly bloody lip, the kind of pansy injury that you can still show your wife with pride. (I’ve often wished for a shark bite, the kind without tearing, where the animal clamps down just enough to leave teeth marks so that I might have a young woman ask me, “What is that scar?” To which I can reply, “Oh that?, Just a shark bite, no big deal.”).

Steamer left his sunglasses at the back stop, hung on the chain link, implying to all that cool doesn’t hit. We’re now woefully short on practice balls, implying a lot of guys are under-swinging and fouling into the swamp and thus increasing the team’s propensity toward Lyme disease. Overbill and two new guys talked me into a few at the Snug, implying that I am easily swayed toward fun.

Several new players were present on Sunday, all with skills. These new faces augmented the usual low attendance to a degree where we actually fielded a TEAM. Nails played at Catcher the whole duration of batting practice, a rare luxury for that exercise. Matt, a tall lefty and one of the new guys, did a great job pitching, platooning with Maddog. By the way, knee surgery works. Maddog was pitching with speed and control. Imagine your knee replacement choices in 1880? Hell, I’m 44 and would only have a life expectancy of another ten or fifteen years. Now they swap out your knees for new ones!

Stretch, Steamer, Philly, Overbill, and Myself were also present from the Veterans. Two other new faces, Gregg and Bill, are obviously good players and they seemed to have a good time, a perquisite for participation in this league. I think that was everyone. Sorry if I forgot any names. For those who didn’t make it, there’s always next Sunday. But only three Sundays until the BIG INDEPENDENCE WEEKEND game. Plans for the game are well underway. Dots is now back from his show in Seattle. He was all bogged down in “creating” stuff the last few months. I think he’s got it out of his system for a month or so.

Huzzah

Babe