Old Time Base Ball a Good Time; Roosters beat Owls at Historical Extravaganza
The Rochester Roosters defeated the Owatonna Owls in a vintage base ball game during the Historical Extravaganza Sunday. The game was played under the rules enforced in 1860.
The umpire announced the final score as 5-4 in Rochester's favor. The actual score may have been a bit more lopsided but I wasn't going to question the ump. That would cost me a fine, payable immediately. Owatonna jumped out to a quick first inning lead, but the Roosters clamped down on defense and base runners were hard to come by for the local nine after that.
With players such as The Meatball, Toolman, Brother Roy (not me), Birdman, Screwball and Conehead (that was me) donning the blue of Owatonna, I liked our chances. Other stars on the Owls roster included Tiny, Lahey, Bogart, Happy Feet, Billy Bones, Uncle Jerry and Tater Salad. Things got off to a rough start in the pre-game however when one of the Owls was fined for having the wrong color pants. He was levied a fine of two bits. Before the game was over, out-going director of the Steele County Historical Society Laura Resler was tagged with a fine as well.
It was my first time playing vintage base ball and I really enjoyed it. Many on the Owatonna team have played before. The Rochester team has a full summer schedule of games. They have been coming to the society's historical extravaganza for about seven years.
Some of the rules used in 1860 are much different than now, drastically changing how the game was played. A ball caught on one bounce results in the striker being called out, but runners can advance without tagging up. A ball that lands in fair territory before going foul, is a fair ball. Each of these rules frequently lead to confusion on the base paths. Fielders did not wear gloves.
Overrunning first base was not allowed. Thus legging out an infield single gets a bit tricky when you have to put the brakes on quickly. There are no 'free backs' on foul balls and no sliding. The Roosters were more versed on the rules of the time and played that to their advantage.
I played first base and made a couple of decent plays. But I made an error in the outfield, if that sort of stat was kept back then. I got on base a couple of times, but got thrown out at third on a poor base running decision. I've got a bit more to learn about nineteenth century base ball.
A bucket of ice water and ladle was provided in each dugout, though some players brought their own beverages that had hops rather than ice as a basic ingredient. The bottom line is it was a fun event. If the Owls will take Conehead again next year, count me in. Maybe then I will get the chance to ring the bell. Literally. You ring a bell when you score a run.
The full roster for the Owls included Jerry Besser, Jon Partridge, Tim Ulrich, Matt Butler, Will Crowley, James Wagoner, Mike Oeltjenbruns, Bill Traetor, Dan Richter, Andy Oeltjenbruns, Will Partridge and Jake Miller.
The Roosters will host a vintage base ball festival the first weekend in August, featuring teams from around the mid-west and a women's game.