Saturday afternoon I was set to cover a base ball game and found myself distracted by, well a baseball game.
For the second straight year the Union Parks and Recreation Department hosted a vintage base ball game at Veterans Memorial Park. I had fun at last year’s event, so I figured I’d go again this year and get some easy pictures and enjoy some base ball (the spelling the players use to reflect the spelling in style during the 1860s where the vintage game is set).
My plans for Saturday were simple. I had things to cover in the morning, but I figured I’d be home by 1 p.m. and in time to watch the first pitch of the big St. Louis Cardinals/Chicago Cubs game on TV. A normal baseball game lasts about three hours, so my plan was to watch the final out of what I hoped would be a Cards’ win and then go take pictures at the vintage contest.
You know what they say about the best-laid plans.
The first half went just fine. I wrapped up coverage at the Union Ambulance District’s wonderful 50th anniversary celebration and got home in time for the game to start. I watched the back-and-forth game between my beloved Cards and hated Cubs and could quickly tell it was going to be a long one.
The scoring went back and forth and each team was using every pitcher on their respective rosters. It was dragging along and I slowly found myself running out of time watching what would, eventually, be the longest 9-inning game in the long history of the Cubs home stadium.
After the Cards took a 7-6 lead in the top of the seventh inning on a two-run homer by Marcell Ozuna, I figured it was time to hit the road. I was feeling confident the Cards could beat the Cubs for the third straight game and hopped in the car to head to the park to watch some old-time base ball.
I listened to the game on the radio and nearly had to pull over when the Cubs hit their own two-run homer to regain the lead.
I got to Veterans Memorial early and sat in my car still listening to the game. With my windows down, multiple people approached and asked what the score was. There were a lot of disappointed head shakes when I informed them the Cubs were winning.
The vintage game started and I began firing up my camera. A few minutes into the game, my phone buzzed with a text from a friend saying something about the game.
Thanks to modern technology, I fired up the game from my phone just as Yadier Molina sent a ninth-inning blast into the seats to tie the game up at 8-8. Out of habit, I raised my arms in celebration.
This was, of course, noticed by all the vintage base ballers I was standing near. One of the players asked me what happened, and before I could answer Paul DeJong hit a go-ahead homer to give the Cardinals the lead.
Just minutes earlier, I was the man with the bad news saying the Cards were losing. Now I got to flip the script.
I told the players the Cards were on top and they all started mildly celebrating. I stopped taking pictures for a minute and talked to a few guys about the Cardinals and their run for the playoffs. It was a nice little conversation with backdrop of an actual game.
Of course, guys who play vintage base ball are probably huge baseball fans. I should have known better than to think I was the only one who cared about the action in Chicago.
As the inning ended, a new group of players made their way to the bench. The story repeated. I was asked the score and we talked about what happened.
Again, the players were knowledgeable about the game and happy with the Cards beating the evil Cubs.
Once the Cardinals’ game was over, I settled in and snapped a few more pictures at the vintage game. It was as enjoyable as it was last year.
Here are players, mostly older, who love the sport of baseball so much that they just found a way to keep playing. In their free time, they headed to Union to show their version of the game to strangers. It was pretty cool to watch.
That, combined with the Cardinals win, was a nice reminder that baseball is the best.