Huzzah! These days, Nashvillians are terribly excited about baseball. America’s game has experienced a resurgence in popularity around here recently, as our attention has been wooed away from football due to baseball’s “winning ways.”
First, the 2012 Goodlettsville Baseball team made it all the way to the Little League World Championship game before being defeated by a team from Tokyo, Japan. (Random fact: This was the last Little League World Championship game which had players born in the 20th century.) Then, in both 2013 and 2014, the South Nashville Little League team were invited to the Little League World Series as Southeast Champions, where they played very well and made fans of us all.
In 2014, the Vanderbilt Commodores baseball team won the National Championship at the College World Series. (They’re having a good season again this year – it’s not too late to catch a game!)
And, of course we’re all thrilled with First Tennessee Park, the new $38 million home stadium for The Nashville Sounds, built at the site of the historic Sulpher Dell ballpark. (Random fact: Sulpher Dell was nicknamed “Sulpher Hell” by ballplayers because of its terraced outfield; evidently Babe Ruth refused to play right field during an exhibition game there and was moved to left field instead.)
And while watching these incredible athletes excel at their sport can be exhilarating, I am about to tell you about a related game played in our area that Sounds Like Fun – Vintage Base Ball!
The Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball was formed in 2012 for the purpose of entertaining and educating communities by recreating the civility of 19th century base ball. They promote living history by bringing the 19th century to life through base ball events that use the rules, equipment, costumes and culture of the 1860s. The league currently features 10 teams that compete on alternate weekends, at locations such as the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, The BiCentennial Capitol Mall in downtown Nashville, and the historic Ramsey House in Knoxville. Their website is very entertaining; featuring a rundown of the rule differences between the old game and the new – and fun glossary of vintage base ball terminology. For those who keep track of such things, the Highland Rim Distillers and the Nashville Maroons are both currently unbeaten – but the season is young! (You really should read the play-by-play on the Distillers’ page. Really!)
Next games are scheduled on May 16 & 17, at locations in Middle and East Tennessee. I encourage you to pack a picnic lunch, bring a folding chair, and enjoy a leisurely afternoon of watching base ball, 1864-style! (Please note – any foul balls caught by spectators must be returned to the field of play.)
Striker to the line! Show some ginger!