Archive for May, 2013
The skies were blue, the breeze was cool, and the cranks were hot for base ball. Such was the scene on a day seemingly ordered up by Abner Doubleday himself, as the Rochester Grangers opened their season on the grounds of the Lumber City Club of Flint. The home nine, a newly constituted outfit limited by experience but not enthusiasm, showed an impressive mastery of ballistic fundamentals and gentlemanly comportment. The lesson was not lost on Granger mahatma Patrick “Barnraiser” McKay , who from the outset coaxed his charges to show their ginger lest they be overthrown by their exuberant hosts.
To the delight of the local assemblage, the hometowners deftly handled the visitor’s stickwork in the early stages while striking with purpose in their turn at the striker’s line. Indeed, the Lumbermen seemed poised to improve upon a growing lead, when with the sacks full, Bob “Anvil” Wynne snatched a long fly from his longfield post and threw out a Flint base runner trying to pilfer home. The play silenced the crowd and truncated an impending sockdolager, setting the stage for a Rochester resurgence. Grangers strongmen Kevin “Six-Shooter” Straub, David “Nails” Mallman and Scott “Chooch” Westgate then visited blows to far-reaching corners of the esplanade, plating a phalanx of base men to salt away a seventeen aces to eight victory.
With little enough time to slake their thirst and water their horses, the ballists then were summoned for an encore performance. With aces scarce as the clouds above, it was defensive maneuvers that predominated in the nightcap. With the score knotted at five aces apiece in the sixth, Mike “Cueball” Johnson, having earlier suffered a gruesome digital detachment requiring attention from the infirmary wagon, reentered the lineup. His well-timed mortar shot to right delivered three aces for the Grangers, staking the visitors to a lead they were disinclined to relinquish. When perambulations had ceased, the Rochesters found themselves on the upward side of a twelve to five final accounting.
The afternoon’s festivities were capped off by the Grangers’ performance of their signature anthem “For the Love of the Game”, followed by a postprandial celebration featuring desiccated mutton, mung bean and sasparilla. As always, the men who don the ivory and black thank their season’s sponsors, Antoniou’s and the Hills Bar and Grille of Rochester Hills for their support. They invite the townsfolk to see base ball the way it was meant to be played, for fresh air and exercise by gentlemen, according to the rules of 1864.