Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vintage Base Ball: New York Gothams and Brooklyn Atlantics Split Twin Bill

From the deskk of:   BEND IT LIKE CREIGHTON

Vintage Base Ball Association:

After too much time away from the game, I was finally able to catch up with the keepers of our pastime again this last weekend.  On this occasion, I sailed the waters of New York Harbor and arrived on Governors Island to witness a twin bill between the Brooklyn Atlantics and Gothams Base Ball Club of New York.  The Gothams, New York City's only Vintage Base Ball representatives, began calling Governors Island home with the start of the 2012 season.

The last time I observed the Brooklyn Atlantics Base Ball Club in action came when I travelled to Bethpage, Long Island, for the Opening of the 2012 local Vintage Base Ball season.  Since then, they have gone on to do what they do best, win base ball games.  Forty matches into their season, the ABBC sport a 32-8 record.  They sputtered through their first four scheduled matches.  The Boys  from Bethpage then reeled-off sixteen consecutive victories before falling on June 24th to the Providence Grays.  It was only their third loss in twenty-one matches.

However, the Atlantics were not without their problems.  By their standards, they struggled of late.  Since losing to Providence back in June, the ABBC has limped(?) to a 14-5 record.  Injuries started taking their toll.  And for the first time all season, they lost two matches in a row during the Gettysburg Tourney in July.  Third baseman Shakespeare and center fielder Toothpick, have missed substantial time this season.  However, the team will offer no excuses.  Nor should they.  They still field a very formidable squad.


ABBC Scorecard and
"Take Me Out to the Ball" Game Sheet Music

I learned two more things about the Brooklyn Atlantics Base Ball Club this past Saturday.  First, in addition to their superlative defense, they have tremendous depth.  In Shakespeare's absence, I watched Wild Horse make numerous diving plays at third base.  His overall effort was just stellar, not to mention dirty.  And in Toothpick's place, Black Jack patrolled center field like he owned it.


Secondly, you may add crafty to the list of Brooklyn's epithets.  By no stretch are they the base ball diamond version of the Harlem Globetrotters.  Instead, the Atlantics are defiantly savvy at most appropriate times.  In game one, Brooklyn put an end to Gotham when they successfully pulled off the ol' hidden ball trick.  The play secured the final out of a 10-7 victory.  Atlantics pitcher, Hammy, and first baseman Flash, conspired together and flawlessly executed the ancient ritual.  While Hammy stood outside the pitcher's box and tied his shoe, Flash applied a tag upon the runner wandering off first base.

In the late match, ABBC shortstop, Dream Bucket, demonstrated Brooklyn's proficiency in the field and supreme knowledge of 1864 era rules once again.  In the third frame, the Gothams struck three consecutive hits to load the bases.  With no hands down, New York had the middle portion of their order due up against Brooklyn's hurler, Pigtail.  The next Gothams batter hit a can of corn Dream Bucket's way.  The shortstop smartly dropped the ball, recovered, then stepped on second base for out number one; tagged the runner standing at second for out number two; then threw to third base, where Wild Horse caught the lead Gotham runner off the bag, and likewise tagged him for out number three.  A triple play!  As the late great Mel Allen would say, "How about that?!"  On the play, credit Dream Bucket with a put-out and an assist, and a put-out for Wild Horse.  Memo to runners on base: there was no infield fly rule back then.

Overall, I felt Wild Horse, and TC in particular, were two of the more intense ABBC competitors of the day, and perhaps Brooklyn's most vocal too.  At one point, TC could be heard admonishing his mates regarding poor communication with runners on base.  Otherwise, I saw much of the same from this team.  Meaning, I become more impressed with Flash's sure, bare, hands at first base the more I see him play.  And the Dream remains smooth as silk at short.

As the host team proudly showing off their new digs, the New York Gothams will hear none of this Atlantics stuff.  And why should they?  After three matches against the Brooklyn Atlantics this season, the Gothams have won twice.  And the Gothams have injuries too.  Scratch, the former Spanish League professional, was not in action Saturday.  So the Gothams have little empathy for Brooklyn's recent struggles.

As a matter of fact, this isn't even the same team that defeated Brooklyn back in April.  Scratch aside, this group is an upgrade.  Quite literally, the Gothams have added Lightning to their team.  Offsetting Brooklyn's Dream BucketLightning played an equally smooth shortstop Saturday.  The Gothams new lead-off striker also opened the day's second match with a triple.  His team rode the early  momentum to a big first inning, and eventually closed out a late afternoon victory by an 8-5 final score.  Bugs was tasked with pitching detail.  He admitted early on, he had trouble finding the plate.  Before long however, he was in a grove, and pitched the Gothams to a late day victory.

Closing Ceremonies


Pigtail of the Atlantics and Wickets of the Gothams


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