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About the Game

About the Game

We play by the rules and customs of base ball as it was played in the 1860s.

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Getting back to our cruise through the Beadles Dime Base Ball book.. we come to the section called "The Game". A very rudimentary attempt to explain the game to the reader. Of course there is so much more to it, but if you think about, as the game was first getting started, Chadwick did an admirable job of keeping it simple, and helping people get the idea.

A couple of things to note.
"Nine innings are played on each side". Many modern vintage clubs dont always do this, but, just keep in mind, it was done in the 1860s and you can always look at it as time to get some more play in, and time to work on your game. Dont take it personally should the team leading want to complete their inning. It was how they played.

"The side that wins the toss, have the choice of taking the bat or the field at their option". VBBA has evidence * that in actual match games, this toss was a coin, usually a penny. It was in intrasquad or practices where you might see a "bat toss" taken hand over hand, and even then, they called out using a "full hand", not a single finger like some modern clubs have employed. The coin takes the use of full hand vs partial hand out of the equation, making it more fair to both clubs. We recommend using a coin in all matches to maintain the integrity of the game. * Porters Spirit of The Times, Dec 26, 1857.
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Yesterday we learned about the bat itself, as we work our way through the Beadles Dime Rule Book.. today, the next entry is on Batting.

Much of what Chadwick wrote then, it still true today, although the 2 hand grip with the hands separated, maybe not so much.. I like the suggestion about keeping front foot on line to have balls that go straight down, fall in foul ground, not forcing you to run. Of course that batting tip only works well if the umpire sees it that way !! If he doesn't call foul.. even if it is foul..well.. run Forrest, run ! Remember, it isnt that YOU think it is fair or foul, it is what the UMPIRE thinks it is.
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As we move a bit further through the 1860 Beadles Dime Rule Book, we get to the section on the bat. We already have Section 2 in the rules that gives us a bit about the restriction on the bat size, but Chadwick decides to expound a bit more on this lovely piece of wood we use to clobber (or dribble) a base ball.

He repeats the 2 1/2" diameter, made of wood... and then talks a bit more about what kind of wood, and how that affects the weight, and who is best suited for what ...

He (Chadwick) really tried to give as much detail as he could about this game. Remember, it was still fairly new to most, and any advice he could give to help people learn the game, and how to play it, was probably well received, for the most part. And at times, as we research the game, some of these tidbits come in quite handy, so we at time are very grateful for Chadwick's flair for explaining the game. Of course, sometimes, maybe not as much. 🙂

One thing I find interesting, is that there is no limit on the length fo the bat until 1868, and at that time, they LIMIT it to 42 inches. That is where they LIMIT it.. meaning.. you have to believe that there were players swinging GREATER than 42" in that era. I know many of you have bats that exceed that 42" limit, and brag about it. But again, it was a new game. Bat speed (even though Chadwick hints at it) really might not have been that common. God bless the man swinging a bat greater then 42" and having success. It wont be me.

Enjoy.. until next time..
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