BATSTO - Saturday was opening day for baseball, Vintage Baseball that is, as the Hoboken Nine and the Elizabeth Resolutes faced off in historic Batsto Village.
“Players enjoy playing against an authentic backdrop,” said Wes Hughes, a volunteer with the Batsto Citizens Committee. According to Hughes, the weekend game was not the first time Batsto has hosted a Vintage Baseball game, as they first hosted one about three years ago. “Once we did it, we thought that it was great,” said Hughes.
The two teams are recreations of factual teams that existed in the 1800s. The current Hoboken Nine play by the baseball rules from 1859, while the current Elizabeth Resolutes play by the rules from 1870. However, on Saturday the two teams decided to play by the 1859 rules.
While the vintage game is familiar enough for casual viewers to follow, some of the finer rules were different enough that the founder of the Elizabeth Resolutes, Paul Salomone, gave a quick overview to the spectators. According to Salomone, some of the different rules include:
• There is no called balls
• The pitcher must deliver the ball underhanded and has to stay behind the line
• The ball is fair or foul where it first touches the ground
• The hitter cannot overrun first base, otherwise he is fair game for an out
• No strike zone
Robert Evans of Pennsville came to Batsto on Saturday just to watch the vintage game, which was his first.
“I didn’t even look up the rules because I thought that would be a little like cheating,” said Evans who was fascinated by some of the different rules of the vintage game.
The most obvious differences did not come from the rules, though — it came from what the players wore or rather didn’t wear. Players did not wear helmets or mitts, which could be a little painful.
As the players warmed up before the game, they through the ball around. For the first few catches, players could be heard saying “Ouch” and “That hurt.”
Despite some painful moments, Al Gallo, the pitcher of the Resolutes, enjoyed playing the game.
“I played high school baseball,” he said. “The vintage game is a little bit more relaxed and a little bit more about the hitter.”
Once the game started, the players held nothing back.
Dressed in vintage baseball uniforms, players were sliding and stealing bases, jumping feet off the ground to catch high flying balls and swinging with all their might as they batted. After playing nine innings, Elizabeth came out on top 17-11.
The Hoboken Nine play vintage teams from all over the country, while Elizabeth Resolutes play teams in the Northeast.