Thursday, June 19, 2008

An Anniversary Dear To My Heart...

Lithograph of Union prisoners playing baseball at the Confederate Prison in Salisbury, NC
Today is the anniversary of the beginning of modern baseball. According to the Free Dictionary:

The foundations of modern baseball were laid with the 1845 formulation of the "Knickerbocker Rules," which formalized the game. According to these rules, a runner could not be sent out of play by getting hit with a thrown ball; instead, fielders were required to tag or force the runner, as is done today. It is widely thought that the first competitive game under the new rules was played at Elysian Fields in Hoboken, NJ.
The picture above is a representation of a baseball game played by Union prisoners-of-war at the Confederate Prison in Salisbury, NC in the early part of the War Between The States. It is reputed to be the oldest known picture of baseball.

The website where I found this picture had some really good information about baseball during the time of the Civil War that will corroborate some of the information included in the earlier article and offers some other very interesting insights into the national pastime.

There's no question that baseball is my favorite sport. I wish I could play it! Unfortunately I didn't stick with it long enough when I was a kid to learn how. There is nothing like going out to the ballpark on a mild summer evening and watching a game or socializing with friends or both!

And that is the beauty of baseball: as long as you aren't sitting in the line drive foul territory you can pretty much just enjoy being at the game without having to pay too much attention to the game, and if you want to watch, the game is complex enough to keep you plenty occupied.

And there is nothing like the atmosphere of being at the ballgame. There are the smells of hotdogs, peanuts, popcorn, and other ballpark food, the sounds of a well-hit ball and a hard thrown ball smacking the pocket of a glove, the action of a perfectly executed double play, and the sights of all kinds of interesting people. It's just plain hard to beat.

Today would be a great day to go out and root for the home team in honor of this special anniversary. See you there!

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