On a dazzling, sun-swept afternoon at Van Hoosen Farm, the Rochester Grangers celebrated their return to vintage base ball. At home to entertain the Lumber City Base Ball Club of Flint, the suspendered stalwarts were keen to reprise their role as ambassadors for the nation’s newest pastime. Looking fit in their ivory and black habiliments, the Grangers conducted their warmups under the watchful eye of procrustean plenipotentiary Patrick “Barnraiser” McKay, who promptly pronounced his charges ready for field exercises. Presiding over the opening festivities were Umpire Bob “Anvil” Wynne and Tallykeeper Debra “Seamstress” Remer, along with local schoolmarm and base ball acolyte Connie Boswell, who added her imprimatur to the goings-on.
Showing few signs of lingering malaise occasioned by the blackthorn winter, the Grangermen were eager to test their mettle against their northerly situated brethren. In their first turn at bat the hometowners took the initiative, propelling the mottled orb to seldom visited corners of the esplanade. Among the blows was a deposit by Henri “Frenchy” La France to the distant riparian wetlands, where after a brief stoppage of play, custody of the spheroid was wrestled from a disquieted ground squirrel.
In the fifth inning the Grangers resumed their ongoing bombination, with extra base wallops by Steve “Steam Engine” Sebert, Kevin “Six-Shooter” Straub and David “Nails” Mallmann drawing commendation from the handsome throng. When the circumabulance quieted, the Rochesters had taken a commanding nine to two lead. Summoning a reserve of ginger, the Lumber Men did justice to their reputations by staging an impressive late inning rally. In response, the Grangers appended their own postscript to the ballistic narrative, pushing across a trio of aces in the eighth inning to leave the Rochesters on the upward side of a twelve to seven final accounting.
Capping off a satisfying ending to a nearly perfect day of base ball, the clubs retired to a post-prandial feast of poached gobstopper and guinea fowl fricassee. Presenting their guests with commemorative pins and an a capella serenade, the Grangers had delivered a grandiloquent opening to the season, and a welcome tutorial on the fundamentals of the game.The townsfolk are next invited to see base ball the way it was meant to be played, for fresh air and exercise, on Sunday, July 19, at 1:00 at the Rochester Museum.