Aaaaaaaaand PLAY BALL! After hearing about the vintage baseball league that plays by 1864 rules out on Governor’s Island (more info here), we simply had to go. On a most gorgeous summer Saturday, Meags and Sweetheart and I packed up the bare essentials (champagne, bread, cheese, sunscreen) and hopped on the free ferry to go see some baseball. In short: it was awesome. The New York Gothams wore navy pants, pillbox hats (you can see the lineage of those wonderful throwback Pirates hats) and white tunics emblazoned with a gothic “G”. What they didn’t wear? Gloves. Maybe gloves hadn’t been invented or maybe all leather was earmarked for Union cavalry saddlebags, but by the 1864 rules, the intrepid fielders go barehanded. The old rules are slightly different— you can’t overrun first base, the pitches are underhand, the strike zone is from the head to the ankles, and (most noted) the barehanded fielders can catch the soft rag ball on one bounce and the batter’s out—but the game is the same, the joyous, methodical, rhythmic American wonder reminds you why the game took hold of us in the first place. In typical American fashion, nicknames abound (Crash, Monk, Bugs) and, perhaps the most nostalgic element, even the heckling is genteel…Can you picture a Yankee fan telling at the Red Sox “That was UNMANLY!”? All of this, on a divine day, with the newly regenerating skyline of lower Manhattan in the background? Perfection.
top and third image by Hiroko Masuike from this NYT article (we were interviewed, but didn’t make the cut…).