This Week in 'Merica: Vintage Baseball and Jesse Ventura
This is the freedomest blog you'll read all week. More 'Merican than Johnny Manziel roller skating through the Mall of America with a backpack full of Girl Scout cookies while kazooing Miley Cyrus tunes. If you see a terrorist in the wild, just chant this blog at them, throwing in a "The power of Lincoln compels you" here and there for maximum effect. If a member of Al-Qaeda tries to load this page, all their browser will say is "HTTP Error: 1776. How about instead of reading this you go F* yourself."
*F is for Freedom.
'Merican of the Week: Vintage Base Ballers
Sorry, Alabama fans, football might be the only thing going on in your cluttered, questionably-literate world, but the title of 'Merica's sport still belongs to baseball. Since Abraham Lincoln carved the first baseball bat out of a cherry tree, and played the first game of catch in an Iowa corn field (of dreams) with Benny "Sweet Heat" Franklin with a ball of rolled-up kite string, our country has been enamored with stickball. For one group of fine Americans, the current game has lost its innocence though.
Justin Brown says, "Money is often times the root of all evil, and baseball is no exception. The game changed when people started getting paid, and I'm not sure it was for the better." Brown is the Director of Media for the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball. He and his fellow vintage ballers are spreading the base ball gospel, bringing blue-blooded values like sportsmanship, fair play and the love of the game to a growing group of fans across Tennessee.
Vintage base ball is just what it sounds like. It's the game turned back several decades. Players wear uniforms appropriate for the occasion. The crowd-pumping organ is likely to be replaced by a banjo-picking folk trio. Even gloves are, like the egos and salary disputes, left at home.
"Education and history of the game is a huge aspect of what we do; without it, we'd just be another rec league in the city," says Brown. "Our official mission statement charges us to '...entertain and educate our communities by recreating the civility of 19th century base ball.' We promote living history by bringing the 19th century to life through base ball events that use the rules, equipment, costumes and culture of the 1860s.
Association co-founder and Vice President Trapper Haskins brought the game to middle Tennessee from Michigan, and founded the association with a few friends in 2012. Since then it's grown to 8 teams, who play around a dozen games each over a five month season.
The games have all the education value of a Civil War re-enactment, all the charm of a local strawberry festival, and most importantly, are just good old-fashioned American fun.
Brown says, "Personally, what drew me to the game, was the game itself. I'm a baseball lifer, and the son of another baseball lifer. But I could never really find anything that filled the void of actually playing baseball. The vintage game seemed like a perfect fit. Like a lot of our members, I'm just glad I get the chance to play ball again."
If vintage baseball sounds like your cup of tea, find schedules, standings, and info on their website.
To the ballers: For your blatant rejection of what's popular in favor of what's good, and your willingness to skip traditional weekend activities that involve sitting on your round rears watching overpaid over-actors doing things and instead are actually going outside and doing things just, you know, for the love of the game, I hereby award you five freedom points and the title of 'MotW. Your actions have brought great credit upon yourselves, a game in need of a shot of relevance, and weekend sports warriors everywhere.
Might (almost definitely) be a terrorist: Jesse Ventura
Former WWE actor, politician ('nother name for actor), and generally greasy dude Jesse Ventura sued the widow of a deceased Navy SEAL, and last week was awarded $1.8 million. It wasn't just any Navy SEAL, either. It was one of the most successful American snipers of all time. Whether you believe that Chris Kyle is, as he claimed, the sniper with the most confirmed kills of all time doesn't matter. He is without a shadow of a doubt an American hero. In 2012 he also (allegedlyâthe murder trial is ongoing) died at the hands of another veteran while trying to help him work through post-deployment emotional issues.
Kyle wrote a book in 2012, wherein he said that he once punched "a celebrity" in the face. In interviews later he alleged that it was Ventura, who denied that the event took place. Ventura's suit might well have been valid. But after Kyle's murder on February 2, 2013, Ventura should have dropped the suit. Instead he decided to add Kyle's estate as a defendant.
There's a shred of irony to the fact that Ventura continued to pursue a lawsuit against the widow of a man who fought for his freedom to pursue lawsuits against widows. Or is that tragedy? Either way, I have zero hesitation in hereby proclaiming that Jesse Ventura is (also allegedly- wouldn't want to incite a lawsuit) a Possible Terrorist. He is also (in the unquestionable opinion of me and my pet bald eagle) a huge d-bag. And he's now 10 freedom points in the hole.
Until next time, freedom lovers, may all your glories be old, all your skies be spacious, and all your bandstands be American.
And for Abe's sake, won't somebody start a Kickstarter so I can help Kyle's widow pay Ventura?
Of all of the people on Twitter, I am one of them: @fastacton.