The Bay Area Vintage Baseball season kicked off today on Sunday, March 12 2017 after being delayed last week due to rain. Two teams played today at Big Rec Field in Golden Gate Park, the San Jose Dukes played against the San Francisco Pacifics at noon and the Barbary Coast played against the San Francisco Sea Lions at 3pm.
The league plays per baseball rules from 1886. Along with the rules, the teams also come dressed in vintage attire, complete with baseball bats, baseballs, gloves and other gear. The player’s glove is thin compared to today’s standards, lacking catching nets and remaining minimal, more comparable to gardening gloves. Fitting the theme, the umpire takes on a much classier style, adorned in slacks, a vest and top hat. The overall style and attitude truly turns it into a gentleman’s game.
Although the rules are easy to follow, there are some slight differences between now and 19th century baseball. Three strikes are still the rule to remove a player from the plate, but the hitter doesn’t walk until the eighth ball. A baseball hit foul doesn’t count against the player at bat either, counting for neither a strike nor ball. On the chance a hitter is beamed with a ball, no free walk takes place, the hitter must shake it off and stay at the plate. The lingo of the players even throws back to the period, often referring to the number of outs as “hands.”
The Dukes and Paficics game was a close match. The Pacifics took the lead in the early innings, but the Dukes continued to keep pace towards the end of the game, but were unable to score enough runs to win. The Pacifics took the first game with a final score of 12-10. The second game between the Barbary Coast and Sea Lions wasn’t as back and forth. Barbary Coast scored a crippling 12 runs in the second inning, forcing the Sea Lions to play catch up. Although the Barbary Coast took the game 34-5, the Sea Lions still played with heart until the very end, stealing bases and sliding into home to put on a show.
More information on Bay Area Vintage Baseball can be found here:
Bay Area Vintage Baseball