In between Twins wins this weekend, I got a chance to take my family to a vintage baseball tournament in Stillwater. It is an annual event that takes place as part of Lumberjack Days. Aside from the novelty of watching 1860′s era baseball, it was also nice to see the game played outdoors.
My rooting interest was with the Quicksteps, a team that is made up of members of the local SABR chapter (though the Souvenir Programme made it clear that “cranks” are expected to yell “huzzah!” for good plays be either club). The other teams were the St. Croix Base Ball Club and the Afton Red Socks.
The early game between Afton and St. Croix wasn’t particularly close, but there were a few notes of interest. The umpire, who basically paces behind home plate during the game waiting for a disputed call, was getting a little cranky and started distributing $.25 fines to pass the time (in fairness, I would be cranky too if I had to wear an 1860′s suit in late July). One player was fined for spitting, while another was fined for “endangering the cranks” – he hit a foul ball into a group of people gathered on the third base line.
While the game looks similar, there are a few major differences. The biggest change to my eye was the “one bound” rule. A batter was ruled out if the fielder caught the ball in the air or on one hop. Pitches have to be delivered underhand and “to the batsman’s liking”, but the game is still very defensive due to the 90′ distance between bases and the softer ball that is used.
The Quicksteps and Red Socks played a more competitive second game that ended in a Red Socks win. My son made it clear that he didn’t want to stay for the third game.
I intended to post pictures, but the digital camera had not yet been invented, so I didn’t want to scare the players (or maybe I forgot to pack it…). Instead, I offer a video that I posted a year or so ago of Conan O’Brien enjoying some vintage baseball:
All in all it was a fun afternoon.
Friday night I was at the Metrodome for the first game of the Twins-Angels series. I think that, after the first four innings of that game, we can finally lay to rest the notion that the Twins are a team that “does the little things” well. This has been a season of base running errors, misplayed balls, and just some stupid plays. Forget that my position is that the sacrifice bunt is poor strategy 98% of the time, the Twins can’t even seem to execute a bunt properly so I can complain about the strategy.
The game itself was entertaining, almost in a little league sort of way. Still, a win is a win, and it was nice to see the Twins pull out a game by doing the “big things” like hitting home runs and triples. A little bit of power covers up an awful lot of those little mistakes.
Coffeyville Whirlwind will be on auto-pilot most of this week. I’ll be heading down to St. Louis for SABR 37. As of now, I am most looking forward to meeting Mike Marshall, who will be giving a presentation on the mechanics of pitching. In addition, there are some interesting player panels with some old Cardinals and Browns that should be interesting, and Joe Garagiola is the keynote speaker. If I have time, I will check in with some reports, and will still be checking comments and email since I still have posts scheduled through Wednesday.
Born on July 23:
Ray Scarborough b. 1917
Scarborough, a right-handed pitcher, played for Washington from 1942-1950, though he missed two seasons for military service. It was after the break that he became a reliable starter for the Nats, and had his best season in 1948. Scarborough was traded to the White Sox in the middle of the 1950 season, and bounced around with various teams until 1953. He was selected to the 1950 All Star team and pitched one inning in the 1952 World Series when he was with the Yankees.