Baseball has the most natural rhythm of all the sports: it starts when the leaves first turn green, and ends when the last have fallen. Thus, the themes of hope and renewal that accompany every new baseball season are well-worn. But perhaps the most exciting facet of the ritual excitement and energy is that it is evenly distributed across every team, player, and fan in the baseball world.
Because after all, it takes a big family to put on a ballgame. We see first the players: dusty and sweaty; here triumphant, there dejected. Then the manager, alternating between scribbling notes, and yelling instructions and encouragement. Behind the game, we see wives selling shirts under a maple tree, and rambunctious children playing with their cousins, both blood and communal. Later that night, the team Mom sews uniforms and buys grill supplies, while the team Dad mixes a new batch of infield dirt for the home field. Yes indeed, it takes a village.
Last Saturday, the Bovina Dairymen transported their village down the mountains to play the newly formed Kingston Guards. Named after the Civil War regiment formed and stationed in Kingston to guard New York’s capitol, they are the newest addition to the New York Vintage Base Ball circuit. The veteran Dairymen, playing in their 50th game under the captaincy of Nick “Cheddar” Frandsen, gave the Guards a stern, yet friendly, welcome to the League.
Playing at Kingston’s Hutton Park—with a short porch in left field all but guaranteeing the score would be high—the Dairymen started the game with five straight hits and never looked back. Plating four in the first, two in the second, and five in the third, Bovina cruised to a 22-2 victory. Leading the charge at the plate were Iron” Mike Brown (5-6, 3 HR), John “Chico” Finn (5-6, 5 2B), and Luke “Burns-eye” Burns (6-6, Cycle).
But the Guards, playing in their brand-new grey uniforms with maroon lettering and high socks, laughed and cursed and played until the end. Smiles and jokes traded airspace with cheers and sighs as the Guards learned the lessons of a new game, and Bovina taught as gently as it could. Dairymen starter Iron Mike hurled an absolute gem: the only blemish came in the third frame, when Nick “Nafro” Africano belted one into the left field trees for a two-run dinger.
After the game, with over an hour until the second game began between the Mountain Athletic Club and the Connecticut Bulldogs, the Dairymen and Guards drew up two combined teams and played an exhibition match. Just for fun. Score was loosely kept, just like when you were a kid.
GAME NOTES. This was the first game in a Dairymen uniform for Owen “Worm” Wormuth. He hit 2-6 with a double, and played a solid outfield amidst the challenging terrain of Hutton Park’s left field. In Frandsen’s 50 games at the helm, the Dairymen are 37-13. Andrews “Drewski” Landsman added a home run for the Dairymen, falling only a double short of the cycle himself. Rounding out the Dairymen offense were Ben “Gamer” Denison (3-6, 2B), Troy “Teabag” Tucker (3-6), Jason “JP” Pardee (2-5, SAC), and Alan “Rocky” Scarpa (2-5). Game attendance was approximately 50.
NEXT GAMES are this weekend in Bovina (May 21 and 22), starting at 11am on Saturday and 10am on Sunday. Creamery Field, 1396 County Highway 6, Bovina Center, NY, 13740. The Dairymen will host the Creamery Field Invitational, which will feature the Mountain Athletic Club, Delhi Polecats, Brooklyn Atlantics, Providence Grays, and Connecticut Bulldogs.