Calling all base ball players, fans, and historians and in the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metro areas! The MidAtlantic Vintage Base Ball Capitol Conference is seeking players, fans, umpires, and base ball history enthusiasts to join us on our Chesapeake (Baltimore region), Potomac & Arundel (DC and Maryland region), and Old Dominion (Northern Virginia) clubs. All ages, genders, and levels of skill are welcome. Come out and play or watch the thrills of vintage base ball.
We welcome new players from Washington, Virginia, and Maryland to join our Club. You don’t have to be an allstar softball player or your old high school’s star infielder to play — our only requirement is that you love base ball and love the history of it. If you are 18-*88, we are looking for you to participate! If you don’t think you can take the field in uniform, you can still participate as an umpire, scorekeeper, historian, costumed interpreter, or behind the scenes to help make the Club a success.
The MAVBBL Capitol Conference teams welcome everyone, without regard to race, sex, or where you stood on the late unpleasantness between the states. If you have an interest, we want you to join us! If you’re interested in joining us, please contact us by email or Facebook.
How to get involved
Here are some descriptions of the ways in which you can participate in our clubs:
- Players: Yes, you can play Vintage Base Ball. The learning curve for vintage skills is a great equalizer: You don’t have to have been a varsity player in college to become a good vintage ballist. What you do need is an interest in baseball history, a good attitude, and a little bit of moxie. Vintage Base Ball is about camaraderie, fair play, and most of all fun. We play or practice up to two weekends a month, and ask that players try to make an effort to play or practice once a month. Players wear vintage-style uniforms and work to learn authentic styles of fielding, batting, and baserunning, all while demonstrating the gentlemanly sportsmanship that characterized baseball in its earliest years. As our growing membership allows, we plan to divide for practices, scrimmages, and even some tournament games into multiple squads, representing many localized regions within the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metro areas.
- Umpires: Want to experience the oldtime bustle of Vintage Base Ball, but not sure that your knees can take nine innings in the garden? Then you can join us as an umpire. Our umpires put Club loyalty aside during the game to call ’em like they see ’em. Dressed in vintage-style civilian clothing — shirt, vest or jacket, and top hat or bowler— umpires stand well to the side to chasten the hurler for avoiding the striker or the striker for letting wellhurled balls pass. Don’t worry if you can’t see a close play: In the old days, an umpire could ask the players involved in a play and expect them to give him an honest answer about safe or out. And if you enjoy hamming it up a bit, all the better! We encourage umpires to get into the act, to fine players 10¢ or a quarter for cussing or displays of excessive egoism (no trotting down the base-path admiring your own hit in Vintage Base Ball!), and to interact with the “cranks” by explaining the game or asking for their input on plays.
- Historical Interpreters: Interested in baseball history, but not in taking the field? The mighty Chesapeake, Potomac, and Arundel have a nonplaying corps of members who support the club with their knowledge and enthusiasm. Historians, scorekeepers, costumed historical interpreters for the “cranks” — whatever your interest, we have a way for you to get involved.
- Enthusiasts: The club has attracted a growing band of enthusiasts —“cranks” — who follow us from match to match to show their support for the team from the charm and capital cities. Our “cranks” shout their huzzahs, such as “Well struck, sir!” or “That’s the ginger!” and get to enjoy an exciting game of baseball the way it was meant to be played.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for interested players:
- We are particularly interested in hearing the time it takes to actually belong to a team in this league. Teams set their schedules in each winter during the annual MidAtlantic Vintage Base Ball League organizational meeting. Teams usually play twice a month, April – September, mirroring the MLB season. Typically they play a doubleheader with another team on a Saturday or Sunday. There are tournaments and special events. Teams will travel great distances to tournaments, such as New York City. Team members do not come out to every game. We recognize that everyone has busy lives, family commitments, vacations, and injuries play a factor. On average, members play once a month. There are approximately 25 members on each of our teams that play at least once a season. You’ll usually get 9 to 11 players travel to a road game (sometimes less) and a few more for home games. A handful come out to nearly every match while others come out once or twice a year. Bottom line, 20-25 is a good target for team membership.
- Do we have to practice regularly? The conference typically holds “spring training” practices for all teams and members in a central location. This past year, we had two practices in March and drew enough for full scrimmages. In-season practices are rare for most clubs because each team plays about every other week, so we don’t want to overload the weekend calendar. Because members in our conference are so geographically disbursed in a crowded, traffic laiden area, we do not generally hold midweek practices. Some clubs do hold midweek practices in smaller towns where there members are all geographically located near each other.
- How often do we have to play? See question to answer 2. Bottom line is, each member plays as much as he/she can and desires. There are no attendance requirements or anything like that.
- What kind of commitment from sponsors are expected/mandated? This is an area we are working on as an organized MAVBBL conference. Today, we have no sponsors. However, we have completed our articles of incorporation and as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. This will open a lot more doors for us, especially with sponsorship.
- Is there a membership fee? Yes, the C&P membership fee is $50 per person annually. Membership fees pay for equipment purchases, any park/field fees, insurance, winter gathering, lodging for overnight tournaments, and other expenses, such as 501c3 filing.
- Is this the vintage baseball where you play with no gloves or would we use gloves? No gloves, no catcher’s equipment, just a bat and a ball. The vintage base ball is a tad larger and tad softer than today’s baseball.