This week I bring you all exciting news on the happenings of our park! I had the privilege of participating in a historic Base Ball game. The game started last week on a warm Saturday afternoon, pitting two teams against each other: The Shermans, soldiers who are stationed at the fort, and the Occidentals, local boys from Vancouver.
Hundreds of people showed up for the event, sprawled out on our grassy lawn in front of the primly houses of Officers Row. We even had vendors, the local news channel KOIN 6, and the mayor of Portland attend. In fact, Vancouver’s mayor, Tim Leavitt, threw the first pitch! Not the greatest pitch in my opinion but good effort. The games announcer was our own former park superintendent, Greg Shine.
Our efforts to re-enact historic Base Ball were excellent. All players were garbed in historic clothing, the Shermans in union army uniforms and the Occidentals wearing all-white with a many buttoned coat emblazoned with a red shield on the front. As opposed to modern sports, we behaved cordially with class and friendliness, and did not let our competitiveness get the best of us. Recommended batting techniques emphasized control over power, as a midair catch from a bat would out every player, and a one bounce catch would out the batting player. The best strategy was to bunt the ball, with a nice daisy cutter. Finally, every time a run was scored, the player would get to ring a large bell.
Oh what optimism I had for our team’s performance! One week prior to the game, we had baseball practice and I felt very confident in my batting skills. As soon as the game started I realized that our teams were mismatched. Not only did we have 4 fewer players than the other team, but their team was also composed predominately of young athletic men in their 20s, while ours was a whole range of ages, genders, and athletic ability. Our players rarely ever had the chance to be subbed out to rest on bench.
But this mismatch did not dull our determination or enthusiasm. Even when the score was 13 – 0 we showed our pluck, rebounding in the next inning with 5 points of our own. How I regretted my sprinting the next morning…
In the end we were crushed 23-8. But everyone had fun, I scored 3 runs, and we got peppered with praises from the spectators. This has definitely been one of my most fun days at Fort Vancouver!