Here's a vintage take on throwing the curveball. In 1886 base ball was just starting to throw overhand, having allowed it in the 1884 season. By 1886, hurlers were starting to get pretty good at ball manipulation with the "rotary motion."
The league made its annual voyage to the home field of the Oakland A's on Saturday. Players and cranks gathered in lot A for a round of drinks and charred meat products.
Soon after entering the stadium, Juice trascked down a foul ball and lobbed it into the group. The very young Harper Demmons ended up with the ball, and fully enjoyed it.
The scene was captured on the TV broadcast and mentioned on MLB's CUT4 blog. They called our group "peak fandom," which is a great honor for our group. Perhaps a great tribute to our gentlemanly ways!
Having been seen by television crew, we were asked if we would take part in the trivia quiz during the 5th inning. A group headed down and waited to go on the jumbo tron.
Luckily for us, the trivia was period appropriate and lady crank and commissioner wife, Annie Shaw answered it confidently.
A great time was had by all and we look forward to doing it again next year.
15th of May, 2016
The Haywards Journals pulled a bit further away from the rest of the southern division on Sunday, defeating the Oakland Colonels 11-3 at Mosswood Park. The match began cagily, with each team plating aces through the first three frames and putting up a donut in the fourth; so that the fifth inning began all square at three-a-piece. But the Haywards’ bats then came to life, driving balls through the dodgy Mosswood infield and past the mitts of the Colonels’ fielders. The Haywards plated eight aces in the final three frames, while ace hurler, Berto “Rocky” Morales silenced the Colonels’ bats the rest of the way, allowing no runs in the final four frames and finishing a complete game with thirteen strikeouts and three allowed.
For the J's, the defense started shaky but straightened out after a few innings. Jose “Hawk” Corral caught a ball in right field after it caromed off the massive oak tree that looms over the line and continued down through the branches and leaves, into his waiting mitt. Nick “Heels” Jeffrey flagged down a line drive at second base and doubled off a Colonel trying to get a headstart to third. Big Berto “Pops” Morales displayed the blazing speed of a young cheetah to track down a ball in left field in the top of the seventh.
The Colonels may not have felt it was their finest home performance, but they provided a few gingers in the field. Luis “Mule” Argueta handled duties behind the plate with his steely demeanor and kept the Haywards from taking bases, while rookie Colonel Paul “Buc” Ash tended the centerfield garden with grace and sure hands. What’s more, the Colonels helped themselves by picking off a Hayward greenhorn at first using that old chestnut, the hidden ball trick. The Journals’ base coaches went missing on that play!
For the Colonel’s offense, Captain Matt “Chops” Siee scored two of the three runs with lead-off singles followed by stolen bases. Veteran John “Bull” Davenport scored the other run in the third inning on a base knock by “Squeaky.”
In another notable incident, the match was briefly interrupted by a flying contraption, similar to something one might see in DaVinci’s sketchbooks, that hovered over the field before buzzing off back to the future. Cranks referred to it as a “Drone,” and if that is what the future holds in store, this reporter is happy remaining in 1886.Huzzah to the Journals and the Colonels as they played a fine match with grit and grace.
Faithfully Recorded On This Day,
15 April 2016
As avid Cranks are aware, the BAVBB added two new teams in 2016: the San Jose Dukes and the San Francisco Sea Lions, bringing the total number of Bay Area Vintage Base Ball teams to ten. Huzzah and welcome, Ballists! In order to facilitate local rivalries and reduce travel, the league created two divisions of five teams:
San Francisco Barbary Coast
San Francisco Pacifics
San Francisco Pelicans
San Franciso Sea Lions
San Jose Dukes
During the course of the season each team will play home and away within its division, and once against each team in the rival division. The champion will be decided when the NW winner meets the SE winner at Dublin Sports Ground, field 3, at noon on Sunday, August 14th.
In addition to the BAVBB championship trophy, teams will compete in a single elimination Cup tournament for the Golden Gate Cup. All teams will compete, and the first round will be played in Dublin before and after the Championship game: 9 vs 8 at 10am and 10 vs 7 at 3pm. There will be barbeque, festivities, and best of all, Base Ball all day long!
The second round of the Golden Gate Cup will be held at Big Rec the following weekend, Sunday August 21st. The remaining eight teams will play four games and the Cranks at Golden Gate Park will be treated to a full day of vintage Base Ball, food, and music.
The Oakland Colonels were the winners of the Golden Gate Cup last year
The final weekend of the season will be a two-day affair; the Golden Gate Cup Semifinal round will be held onSaturday, August 27th, with the remaining four teams competing for spots in the final to be held the following day, Sunday, August 28th, at Big Rec Park, at noon. The Cup final will be followed by the All-Star game at 3pm.
Cranks and Ballists, mark your calendars- August will be a magical month for Base Ball in the Bay Area!
Your Faithful Reporter,
3 April 2016
Big Rec Park, San Francisco
The cold, foggy marine layer peeled back over Big Rec Park on Sunday just in time to reveal a Base Ball match between the visiting Journals of Hayward and the newly-revamped San Francisco Pelicans.
The Pelicans gave debuts to two rookie hurlers, while the Journals handed the ball to veteran Jose “Tomahawk” Corral. Though the match was well-fought and close, it proved once again there is no substitute for experience. “Tomahawk” hurled a complete game for the J’s, confusticating the Pelicans’ sticks with his high-release, short-armed fastballs and quick-pitches, followed by looping Eephus lobs. “Hawk,” too, fielded his position with aplomb, adroitly tagging out a Pelican runner who exercised undue faith in the long backstop of Big Rec in an unfortunate attempt to steal home.
The Pelicans stayed close with the help of centerfielder, Nate “Bean” Underwood, who allowed nothing, not one bomb, not one dying quail, to fall in centerfield. By the end of the game the Journals had all but given up on trying to strike the ball in his direction. The Pelicans’ infield held its own as well, as second baseman, Steven Starfas, stabbed a wicked opposite field line strike with his backhand off the stick of Haywards’ newcomer, “Twig,” and doubled the runner off second, killing another J’s rally in the sixth. The other half of the Haywards’ battery, “Stubbles,” not only provided pop from the striker’s box, hitting a tape-measure triple and driving in runs; he also called a wonderful game from behind the dish. Working together, “Hawk” and “Stubbles” never let the count run over three balls and “Stubbles” kept almost every hurl in front, only allowing two balls to escape to the remote backstop of Big Rec, thereby slowing the Pelicans’ running game.
What’s more, the Journals possessed an intangible factor that contributed to their win- Nick “Heels” Jeffrey, returning from devastating injury last year bearing a new, smaller version of himself to Crank it up for the J’s, provided the extra bit of inspiration for the Haywards to overcome a strong Pelican side.
-Turgiss McGuillicutty, Sunset Dispatch
April 3, 2016
Mosswood Park, Oakland
It was a bright and sunny day at Mosswood Park as the Oakland Colonels welcomed the newly formed San Francisco Sea Lions for their home opener. This day was indeed bright for the Colonels as they won their match by the inimitable tally, 0 - 31.The Colonels introduced the Sea Lions to the league in the top of the first, when, after a Sea Lion runner stole second, Ben “Professor” Texara and hurler Matt “Chops” Siee somehow made the ball disappear. The runner then unknowingly took his lead for an extra base and the Professor made the ball reappear to tag the runner, ending the scoring threat. The Colonels welcomed two new gentlemen to the shield this year and did they ever make their presence known! "Buc" collected his first hit and tended the garden like a hawk- calm, fluid, corralling every pill sent his way. “Boom" solidified not only his name but a place in Mosswood history, by striking a towering shot clear over the trees in left field that has yet to land. “Chops” threw five shutout innings and veteran Behind Luis “Mule” Argueta collected four foul outs on the day; Mule now has a tally of six of these most difficult plays over two games. Every Colonel collected a hit and touched home plate in a complete team effort for the victory. A great match for the reigning Golden Gate Cup Champions!The score does not reflect the great character and drive of the young and mighty San Francisco Sea Lions. They showed true grit and enthusiasm throughout the match, as they begin to learn the quirks and finesse of vintage Base Ball. Hats off to Naji “Skip" Ali for playing the Behind the entire game, making tough play after play. The Sea Lions can take pride in their highlights: a stellar over-the-shoulder corral by their 3rd baseman, Kevin “Walrus” Snyder, and a handful of difficult catches by their outfielders. The Sea Lions will be a formidable team in the West and cannot be overlooked despite a dodgy start against a veteran squad. Huzzah the Colonels, the Sea Lions, and the BAVBB!
Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
In a fitting swan song for one of the most feared hurlers in the BAVBB, Eric “Shadow” Longville pitched a gem against the San Jose Dukes on Sunday. “Shadow” put an exclamation point on his tenure by doing what we have all come to expect of him- lining ‘em up and knockin' ‘em down. “Shadow” recorded nine strikeouts in a vintage performance we’ve come to expect. He is moving back east to a very flat and alternatingly cold and scorching, but always boring land, known as
“Clev-e-land,” where the natives play a very different and vastly inferior version of the game we love.
“Shadow” pitched five shutout innings before the Dukes managed to plate an ace. He received support in the field to thwart the Dukes’ attempts to rally, from Joe “Conquistador” McDermott, who made a difficult catch in deep right center, and from Joe “Panner,” Olivas, who flagged a hard-hit line shot to left field.
The Clarions started their offensive onslaught in the first frame with an RBI double by Matt “Squeeze” Collins, scoring Alex “YoungBlood” Parker-Guerrero all the way from his station at first base. Veteran Clarion, Mike “Bearcat” Lewis, struck the ball well on the day, going four-for-four from the strikers’ box and piling the pressure on the Dukes. The dam broke in the fifth inning, in which the Clarions plated fifteen, capped off with a bases-clearing round-tripper by “Conquistador,” who hit the ball so far no Duke could claim it. Every Clarion plated during the inning- a remarkable feat- and one after which the outcome to the match was no longer in question.
“Shadow” was honored after the game by the Clarions for his loyalty and fierce competiveness. “Shadow’s” hurling was a key component- an essential component- of the Clarions’ brand of baseball over the last three-and-a-half seasons. From the hurler’s box, “Shadow” served up the “high cheese” with a ladle of intensity, and battled ever striker he faced. Neither will it be forgotten that he carried a big stick in the striker’s box and often helped himself and his side with timely hits. He will be missed by Cranks and Ballists and ever welcome back to the BAVBB.
For the Love of the Game,
Big Rec, Golden Gate Park
20 March 2016
In misty conditions, under steel-gray skies at Big Rec Park, the Bay Area Vintage Base Ball League at long last got underway. Two weekends of rainouts postponed the start of the season, and the Ballists were eager to cross the lines and take the field, despite the conditions. The outfield grass was long, bushy, and wet; yet the infield was trim and flat as the San Francisco Barbary Coast hosted the reigning champion San Francisco Pacifics. Both teams took infield, shook hands; then Carl the Sir called “play ball,” and the 2016 BAVBB season began.
Peter “Colonel” Banks took the ball into the hurler’s box for the Coast. The Colonel throws with a high, overhand release and great accuracy, but the Pacifics were in no hurry to strike at his offerings. The Pacs worked the count relentlessly, only to put the ball into play to ask questions of the Barbary Coast defense; and with their signature running game, plated three aces in the first inning.
Yet the Barbary Coast came back strong, showing they too, can pick up sticks and make hits; the Coast plated two aces in the bottom half. Eric “Jumbo” Petit is the ace of the Pacs’ staff and he showed that he has the stuff, delivering to the plate with his high, overhand release, that gives the impression to the striker that he is merely handing the ball to the Behind.
After the first, the game became a defensive battle, with conditions contributing to mistakes on both sides; yet quality shined through the dismal weather as both teams performed outstanding gingers. Notably, both teams threw out runners at the plate from the outfield, and both Behinds threw runners out while attempting to steal bases. Credit to the Pacs left sided outfielders, Matt “Ranger” Petty, and Brian “Bolt” Faudree,” for preventing balls falling into the deep grass and clover, instead returning hands to the hurler. For the Coast, Sammy “Badger” Hoffman was exceptional wherever in the outfield he played and Greg “Sparky” Castro added some ginger with a few excellent plays in left on his BAVBB debut.
Nevertheless the Coast was always playing comeback as the Pacifics never lost the lead. The Coast threatened many times, only to come up short owing to the excellent Pacifics’ fielding. While “Ranger” and “Bolt” took away long flies to the outfield by the Coasters’ sluggers, Lester “Shoestring” Lee made dangerous pop-ups in the infield look easy to field despite the rainy, windy conditions. Sage “Buttercup” Bray made a number of plays from second to thwart Coasters’ rallies, and both Behinds performed exceptionally by blocking would-be passed-balls that, owing to the long backstop, would have been guaranteed stolen bases had the Behinds not been so willing to sacrifice their bodies. Wes “Dread Pirate” Goodman-Levy and Peter “Bones” McAfee deserve much of the credit for keeping the score down from behind the dish.
As the rain accelerated during the sixth inning the teams nevertheless pushed on. The Coast placed the tying run on second but could not plate in the bottom sixth, and in the top of the seventh the Pacifics added to their lead with a two-RBI double by ex-Pelican and new Pacific, Scott “Friendly Fire” Endberg. The Coast added a run in the bottom seventh and had runners on to tie, but the Pacs finished off the game with a great play to throw out a runner at third.
The Barbary Coast will be disappointed and the Pacs will feel content with their victory, but the Cranks can only be thrilled that the quality and excitement of the Bay Area Vintage Base Ball League is back for another season.
Your Faithful Reporter,
Opening Day in San Jose,
The Oakland Colonels picked up where they left off last season, As Chops went 5 strong innings from the hurlers box. The Professor and Bull pitched the 6th and 7th, respectively, in a strong performance by the Green shirted gents.
Mule, as usual, absolutely crushed the ball, and highlighted the Colonels strong offence.
As for the revived Dukes, they were finding their way, as a new team often has to do in this league. Pup, Dipper Dan, Burlap and Enrique all hurled for the Dukes. Sidewinder showed some great ginger at shortstop. On one fantastic 6-3 putout, the ball somehow found Sidewinder's glove as he dove and he made a great throw to make the hand.
The Dukes Manager, Dipper Dan, was happy with his team's first outing. The Dukes fought to earn every ace they plated. However, the Colonels showed why, and how, they won the Golden Gate Cup in 2015. Something for the Dukes to aspire to, hopefully in the near future.
The Dukes will have to say farewell to Eli "Burlap" Wasson. Burlap's job is taking him to Detroit, and he will have to retire from BAVBB for now. It may have been short-lived, but it was fun to have him at at the beginning of the Dukes revival. Best wishes Burlap.
Glenwick Chuggles, San Jose Dispatch News
Bret Harte Field is partially submerged.
Weather Report, March 9, 2016
A 'Pineapple Express' brought as much as two inches of rain to the Bay Area over the past weekend, forestalling the start to the season, which was to have taken place on Sunday, March 6th. The forecast for rain continues to look bleak for Ballists and Cranks, though somewhat better for the trees, flowers, and infield grass. Two games are scheduled for this coming weekend, Sunday March 13th, at Big Rec Park in Golden Gate. The league commissioners will keep a weather-eye for any changes in conditions, and faithfully update the schedule as reports come in.
The provident commissioners planned for weather exigencies in this el nino season; postponed games will be rescheduled for bye weeks that do not fall on holidays, including an extra weekend at the end of the season for any remaining games to be decided before the playoffs.
Stay tuned for schedule updates, and know that the sun will shine on BAVBB one day, soon.
Your faithful reporter,