Recounting the M.A.C.'s most prolific season to date
While its looking like March will roar into the Catskills like a lion this year, I, myself am looking ahead to the smell of green grass and sound of bat on ball. I've been meaning to write up this recap of the '22 campaign as it was our most prolific season to date. And that's saying a lot, because I thought we couldn't top '21! Hope you all enjoy a look back at some highlights from last season as we look forward to the next that starts at Doubleday Field in just about two months!
When your only homerun in 2021 came from the bat of a 15 year-old fill in player, what do you do? You ask him to join the team. James Davis, (aka "Jimmy Two Bags") joined the M.A.C. full time in 2022 and added some teenage pop to the lineup. We expect good things from him going forward. Especially when his vocal dad, third baseman, "Chopper" Davis, gets off his case. This photo on the left shows an unusually high leg kick from James heading into a swat at the grounds of the Smithtown Historical Society in Smithtown, NY for the season opener matches with the Atlantic Base Ball Club of Brooklyn - a team that replicates one of the first teams in New York base ball in the 1860's. The M.A.C. would drop the first contest in 1864 format but bounce the Atlantic in a '95 game before heading back to the mountains to ride out the rest of the cold weather.
The home opener was a special opportunity to honor one of the finest ballplayers to emerge from the Catskills and certainly the best ballist ever from the Village of Fleischmanns - none other than Judson "Jay" Kirke. While his grandson couldn't attend in person, we know he was there in spirit. It's probably best he stayed in Orlando, FL anyway as the M.A.C. imploded at the end of this one, blowing a 10 run lead in the bottom of the ninth to lose 21-20 to the Bovina Dairymen.
Upon the invite to stage a match on the infield of the Goshen Historic Track - the oldest active harness racing track in the world - the first call we made was to the newly reborn Kingston Guards Base Ball Club who had redoubled their efforts since the previous team folded in 2011. They take their name from the 120th regiment of "Washington Guards" - men from the Hudson Valley that were called to Washington D.C. to guard the U.S. Capitol during the Civil War. M.A.C. took the doubleheader (that was moved to an alternate site when the head groundkeeper at the harness track disallowed baseball on the infield like it had been played as far back as 1863) Following the game we were treated to an up close look at some game-used baseballs on display in the village library. They were from the local teams that played there in the 1860's thru 1880's. Note: In appreciation for being invited to the event, we sent them the game ball - a handmade replica of an 1863 base ball.
On June 17th under the lights of Archibald Field in Stamford, the Bovina Dairymen gave us a good shellacking scoring 12 runs in the top of the first inning. The M.A.C. could not recover and by the end of nine, the score looked more like we'd played football than the usual competitive games we play with them. On the plus, the game and companion chicken BBQ and silent auction raised over $2,000 for the Catskill Mountain Little League. We're planning to hold the event again this June.
For over 15 years, I'd been hearing about the Gettysburg Nineteenth Century Base Ball Festival held annually on the Schroeder Farm located less than a mile from Picket's Charge - one of the largest and bloodiest battles on American soil that occurred on July 3, 1863. It also happens to be the same land where the Civil War movie Glory was filmed. Since I've always played primarily overhand rules (usually 1884, 1886 or 1895), I never wanted to subject myself to the lobbed pitches and bound outs in the 1864 rules for an entire weekend. But I can attest that the 32 teams present for this event were all bringing their "A game" as this was the first time in the festival's long history that they made it a single elimination tournament. Although we dropped our third match of the weekend to the Rising Sun Base Ball Club (who would finish the event as the runner-up), we came home with three commemorative coins for winning three out of four matches over the two days. Our Bovina brothers did the same. We've been invited back and will be making the trip south again this season. What did my heart well was that some of our fans and followers from DelCo travelled all the way down to root us on. I take that as a true testament to the quality of entertainment and spirit we bring to the sport for our rural community here in the western Catskills.
Head coach of the Israel National Baseball Team and former minor league coach with the LA Dodgers in the Arizona Fall League, Nate Fish stepped in to play shortstop, hit a long ball and pitch a few innings versus the Polecats Base Ball Club of Delhi on July 22nd. Delhi's bats came to life late in the contest but the M.A.C. prevailed in the 1895 rules battle under scorching temperatures in the high 90's. Here's the write up from the Mountain Eagle.
Coming off three wins apiece in Gettysburg, the M.A.C. and the Dairymen matched up to celebrate the Town of Bovina Bi-Centennial (two years in the making due to COVID postponements). Bovina emerged the victor in two abbreviated matches of 1864 and 1895 in front of hundreds of on-lookers. It's been a true pleasure to watch the Dairymen rise like cream to the top of fresh cow's milk and their Creamery Field flourish into a vintage base ball venue that people continue to talk about across the County as well as the east coast vintage baseball scene.
The M.A.C. embarked on yet another big road trip in August when they travelled to Warwick, Rhode Island for the Rocky Point Historic Base Ball Fest hosted by the Providence Grays in their 25th anniversary season. It was held at the Rocky Point State Park, once a shoreline amusement park from the mid-1800's until 1994. Rocky Point's place in New England baseball history was solidified in 1914 when Babe Ruth hit a ground rule triple in the seaside ballpark that used to be there while playing for the Providence Grays in an exhibition game after his season had ended with the Red Sox. The M.A.C. emerged victorious in 3 out of 4 matches and while short on players, the squad was bolstered by other competent ballists. It was our first-ever match with the Brandywine Base Ball Club of West Chester (PA) and the first match with the Elizabeth Resolutes since 2008.
A split squad match with the M.A.C.s and Little Falls Alerts at home with the Fleischmanns Vol Fire Department and a rousable match at the Crawford Field in Hamden with the Polecats BBC were the highlights of the last month of a busy summer schedule. We also welcomed back founding M.A.C., Brian Balcom back to the squad after a long hiatus.
The 5th Annual John P Martin Historic Base Ball All-Star Series was held at historic Muzzy Field in Bristol, CT to benefit CCALS.ORG. Through the tireless efforts of the Connecticut Vintage Base Ball Association and over 20 teams represented, this event has grown to be the premiere showcase of 19th century base ball in the Northeast. M.A.C. was represented by former captain, Todd " Moonshine" Pascarella and Collin "Stumpy" Miller.
M.A.C. would make one appearance at the 2nd Annual Cowtown Scramble and it was a good one in that they bested a competitive Westfield Wheelmen in an 1895 match on Creamery Field. The fest is gaining popularity among the vintage base ball scene and '23 expects several more clubs from six Northeast states.
For the last hurrah of the season, we took the Delaware County Vintage Base Ball aesthetic on the road to support the Zane Grey West Society's annual meeting held this year at the lovely Zane Grey Museum in Lackawaxen, PA - former home of famous western novelist. We thought it would be fun to try and showcase 70 years of baseball evolution in a three hour time slot - something I'm guessing had never been attempted. Playing with our friends the Polecats, we showcased 1825, 1858, 1864, 1886 and 1895 rules in a progressive game. The event got great publicity and we were glad to do it. I'm sure Zane would be proud!
2022 Results 16 wins - 9 defeats
4/30 - M.A.C. 11, 23 Atlantic BBC of Brooklyn 23, 8 (L) (W) 5/14 - M.A.C v. Connecticut (L) (W) 5/21 - M.A.C. v Connecticut (W) 5/22 - M.A.C. v Atlantic BBC (L) 5/28 - M.A.C. 20 Bovina 21 (L) 6/11 - M.A.C. v Kingston Guards (W) (W) 6/18 - M.A.C. 9 Bovina 32 (L) 7/16 - M.A.C. 12 Diamond State BBC 10 (W) 7/16 - M.A.C. 14 Talbot Fairplays 10 (W) 7/17 - M.A.C. 9 Rising Sun BBC 15 (L) 7/17 - M.A.C. 16 Addison Mountain Stars 10 (W) 7/30 - M.A.C. 11,4 Bovina 12,8 (L)(L) 8/13 - M.A.C. @ Little Falls Alerts (exhibition (W)) 8/20 - M.A.C. 20 Providence 9 (W) 8/20 - M.A.C. 9 Elizabeth Resolutes 4 (W) 8/21 - M.A.C. 8 v Brandywine BBC of West Chester 6 (W) 8/21 - M.A.C. v Connecticut Bulldogs (L) 9/10 - M.A.C. 26 Little Falls Alerts 18 (W) 9/17 - M.A.C. v Polecats BBC of Delhi (W) 10/2 - M.A.C. 17 Westfield Wheelmen 14 (W) 10/16 - M.A.C. v. Polecats BBC of Delhi (exhibition (W))