Grand Hotel has completed it’s vintage base ball season. Ball players came to Grand Hotel from five states this year to play 13 games. Scores were kept but forgotten. There wasn’t a trophy or a champion. Vintage base ball isn’t about that.
The players and spectators gathered at Woodfill Park to celebrate the early game of baseball on June 7, August 16, and September 20. They took to the field—bare-handed—to play the game simply for the passion within them. When a club was short on players they invited spectators to come onto the field to fill the spot—and they did. Children of all ages took their bats and made their plays regardless of what uniform or non-uniform they were wearing.
When the weather didn’t cooperate the players didn’t take no for an answer. They took the field anyway. Wet, dirty, and smiling they continued to share the early game with anybody who would take an interest.
The umpire, separate from any of the clubs, traveled to Mackinac Island to call foul balls and share his knowledge of the early game with the passers by—sometimes forgetting to watch the game as he spoke with the fans. But it didn’t matter because the players treated the game with respect and played as gentlemen without argument, salary, or tantrum. Honesty came forth on a close call and clubs cheered their rivals on when a good play was made.
When the day was over and all were sun drenched and worn, the clubs came together for a meal and one more excuse to talk about the early game and spend time with their baseball family. Plans for future games were made and tales of past events remembered—all with reverence to the traditions of the early baseball clubs of 150 years ago.
These qualities of good sportsmanship, good manners and a family atmosphere are often hard to find at sporting events in modern times. Thank you to the ball players for continually reminding us that old times are not forgotten.
Thank you guest blogger Jason Kladiva.