On Saturday, Fort Bayard Days drew out local folks, as well as plenty of visitors, to participate in and cheer on the home team, the Fort Bayard Burros, in two vintage base ball games. (Read below for the 1860's base ball rules.) In addition, the 4th Cavalry Regimental Band played a rousing concert in the Fort Bayard gazebo between games. Rev. Earseye Ross served as the captain and pitcher for the Burros. Many of the Burros players were conscripted from the audience at the last minute, which just added to the fun.

Photos by Mary Alice Murphy

Most games in the Arizona Territories Vintage Base Ball League use rules from 1860.  Some of the differences between those rules and modern baseball include:

Underhand pitching.

If a ball is caught on one bounce, it's an out.

If a ball is caught off a foul tip, either on the fly or one bounce, it's an out.

Balls caught on the fly or one bounce by anybody (players from either team, spectators, etc.) are outs.

If the ball is caught on the fly, you cannot tag up and advance.  If a ball is caught on one bounce, runners may advance at will without tagging up.

A ball is determined fair or foul based on where it first strikes the ground.  It does not have to pass first or third base to be considered fair.

Fouls are not strikes.

No overrunning first base.  If you overrun the base, you can be tagged out.

No lead-offs or stealing.

Balls and strikes were not usually called in 1860.  The hurler's job is to pitch balls that the striker can hit.  The defense is supposed to put out the striker, not the hurler.

The umpire's word is the law!  Only the team captain is permitted to speak to the umpire, who is always addressed as "sir."  Any arguing with the umpire, profane language, or ungentlemanly conduct is punishable by a 25 cent fine.

Vintage Base Ball Terms
Modern Term    Vintage Term

Pitcher                Hurler
Outfielder           Gardener
Baseman            Sack Maintainer
Short Stop          Short Scout
            Other Terms
Modern Term    Vintage Term

Team               Club Nine
Runs                Aces
Out                  Player Dead
Side Retired     3 Hands Dead
Game              Match
Fans                Cranks
Foul Ball          Foul Tic
Batter              Striker

When a striker scored an ace, he put his left hand on the scoring desk, raised his right hand and said: "I swear I tallied an ace, without cheating," and then he got to ring a large bell to let everyone know of his accomplishment.

When a side was retired after three outs, the arbitrator would say: "Three hands dead; side retired; leg it in; leg it out.

For more information on the league or to find out how to form your own team, visit http://http://wwww.arizonavintagebaseball.com

Players played bare-handed, without the benefit of a glove. The arbitrator at the beginning of the game held up his left hand and said to the cranks: "This is a glove."

Several common terms were explainedby the arbitrator (the person now known as the umpire). Did you know hoe the "home field advantage" came into being? If the one arbitrator did not or could not clearly see what happened at first base, for example, he would turn to the cranks (see above) and ask what they had seen. Usually, most of the cranks were supporting the home team, so they would tell him their side of the story.

(Editor's Note: She's not a huge sports fan, but she had great fun watching these games. They just seemed more, well, sporting, and not so regimented).

Live from Silver City

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Editor's Note

The Grant County Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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