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May 15, 2014

Vintage 'base ball' coming to Brewery Ommegang


“I think with the extra field there’ll be more involvement with the people up there watching us play,” said Emma.

The teams participating will be the Atlantic Base Ball Club, which is based out of Smithtown, Long Island, the Flemington Neshanock Base Ball Club, which is based out of New Jersey, the Lewes Base Ball Club, based out of Lewes, Del., and the Keystone Base Ball Club, based out of Mechanicsburg, Pa.

All four teams participating are named after and model their uniforms off of 19th century base ball teams. 

“On the east coast, I think we’re all exact replicas,” said Elmore.

The Atlantic Base Ball Club is a replica of the Atlantic Base Ball Club, of Brooklyn, which had an undefeated season in 1864. 

It is 1864 rules that the modern club prefers to play under, and which the tournament at Brewery Ommegang will be run under. The Atlantic Base Ball Club has its uniforms made by a company that specializes in Amish clothing, while its bibs are custom made.

The rules of 1864 base ball, Harrison and team Captain Ed “Pig Tail” Elmore explained, are quite different from those of the modern game, with the most visible difference being that no gloves are used.

“The style of play is a lot different,” said Harrison, who said that defense, as opposed to power hitting and pitching, was more important in the 1864 game. “It’s a much faster pace to the game.”

Pitches must be thrown under handed, with no wrist flicking or sidearm allowed. The pitcher stands only 45 feet away from home plate, which is round, but he can deliver the pitch from anywhere in a space that is 12-feet long and three-feet wide, allowing the pitcher to throw at an angle if he so chooses. Batters and pitchers get a warning before the first strike that is not swung at is called and before the first ball is called, and umpires do not have to call every pitch. Three balls walks a batter, and three strikes still strike a batter out.

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