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…).
This Just In. The official theme of this summer is WANDERLUST+BASEBALL. But, really, is this anything new? Ever since my guilty twinges at not having seen a ballgame by June reached a frenzy, I’ve thrown myself into the American Pastime (more on the New York Gotham’s later this week). Last night on a wild hair, Sweetheart and I sped on the wings of the new G>7 in-station transfer out to CitiField. The Mets were taking on similar-perennial-underdogs-in-a-pretty-tough-division Orioles, and tickets were $5.70 (it was a No-Han special- in honor of Johan’s- #57- no hitter). It was, in essence, a perfect night. Bewhiskered cartoon-hounddog knuckleballer R.A. Dickey pitched a one hitter complete game (back to back on his other one hitter complete game), Sweet Ike Davis broke his epic dry-spell with his first-ever grand slam- we gave him a much deserved curtain call-, and it was 65 degrees and breezy. Also of note: Dickey’s “come to the plate” music is the Game of Thrones theme song. I don’t think I could love him more. If you build it, we will come.Images via instagram here and here.
Oh, New York Metropolitans, I apologize. Summer’s been here for about a month it seems and I’ve yet to go to a baseball game. This feels especially derelict given how far the sweet underdog Mets have come since last year’s walk-off-balk (and may I remind you that that was back when they had Jose Reyes? I say good riddance.): Johan’s no-no, Dickey’s almost no-no, and the thorough drubbing of the Rays this week. Well, Mets, I’m going to get my baseball fix tomorrow, but it’s not going to be at Citi Field (and gawd knows it’s not going to be at Yankee Stadium). Meags is in town and we’re taking the free ferry out to Governor’s Island to see the Gotham Baseball Club of New York take on Eckford of Brooklyn. Vintage baseball for modern times. Since the original New York Gothams of 1864 were heated rivals of the Metropolitans (and went on to become the New York Giants which in turn became the San Francisco Giants, oof), AND since Eckford’s original ballfield was just a crow-hop away from where I live, I’ll be rooting for Brooklyn as means of absolution. I’ll let you know how it goes. Let’s go Mets, Let’s go Ecks, and Let’s go summer.
1882 Metropolitan Nine image and Brooklyn Bridegrooms Image from the Library of Congress. Which is, of course, totally amazing.
In honor of Mr. Johan Santana’s no-hitter (the first in Amazin’ Mets history!) here’s the amazing first-hand account of Doc Ellis and the LSD No-No.
ps. fingers crossed it stays sunny for the Venus Transit tonight, Daddy got his mitts on some welder’s glass so we can look right at it!
I love that despite the hubbub of the Knicks finally being back in action at the Garden and the pending leviathan that is the new home of the Brooklyn Nets lurking right in my backyard, despite the flailing of the Jets this past weekend, despite, well, the existence of the Rangers, that the top New York sports stories are still all Baseball. This, I love. I love that A-Rod has entered into an Indiana Jones style agreement that includes traveling to Germany (perhaps with Kobe Bryant by his side) to engage in some mysterious axis-of-evil style rehab plan that as far as I’m concerned will include giant maps of Europe, some nazis, and perhaps the holy grail. I’m also in love with the fact that the (sort of inexplicable, and truly lovable) star of the Mets bullpen, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey plans to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro next week with a couple of other MLBuddies despite having received a strongly worded letter from Met’s management advising him against it. I sort of hope (against hope) that A Rod becomes a superhero or that ole R.A. encounters something crazy at the top of Kilimanjaro while he’s there so he can be featured on one of these amazing cards from Left Field Cards genius Amelie Mancini immortalizing baseball players that were injured in bizarre ways. And, of course, they’re made in Brooklyn.
I’m having a total love affair with summer right now. Probably because I’ve been hopping in and out of New York and have only seen the most lovely and tantalizing parts (roof parties, sunsets, music outside, picnics) and none of the armpit parts (hot.smell.subway.toes.). In the former category: we went out to the ball fields on Bay 16th to see Andrew’s little brother’s Little League team play their championship tournament. The gods of small ball pitted the sweetest band of intrepid, full-hearted, and popsicle-mouthed 8 year olds against this pitcher. See above. A side-slinging lowballer, towering a full three heads over the runts in right field, a little league leviathan who almost had a perfect game (our guys’ third baseman, who had been in tears earlier over a tie-gone-to-the-runner-this-ump-is-a-union-scab-type-call, got on base with a frozen rope to shortstop to ruin Goliath’s no-hitter. Yes.). The boys lost, but bless their little hearts, when the game was over they were quiet and kind to each other and held their heads high with honor beyond their years. After the game at Spumoni Gardens they were back to fighting over corner pieces of the perfect-sweet-sauced sicilian square pie and spitting soda at each other, but for a dusky sunset moment you could see just a shade of the men they’d be. Ahh, Summer, how fine you are.