Updated 07/04/2012 06:57 PM
Annual vintage baseball game
The Town of Bethlehem celebrated the Fourth of July with their annual vintage baseball game. As our Maria Valvanis explains, more than just the uniforms have changed.
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ALBANY COUNTY, N.Y. -- "It's very patriotic. A very American thing. It's our nation's past time," said New York Mutual's Captain Tom Fesolowich.
Making the annual Fourth of July vintage baseball game, between the Bethlehem Braves and Long Islands New York Mutuals, the perfect way to celebrate America's birthday.
"This is now our fourth year and it seems to be growing in attendance," said Bethlehem Brave's President Steve Peterson.
Wednesday's game featured participants of all ages, from rookie 18-year-old players to an 82-year-old veteran pitcher. Players go by field nicknames, dress head to toe in authentic, wool uniforms and follow 19th century game rules.
"Modern baseball comparing to this is nothing. It’s all different, so adjusting to the rules is insane," said Mutual's player "Fingers."
"Catching the ball on a bounce in 1864 was an out, the batter got three strikes, three balls as well," said Fesolowich.
And perhaps the biggest challenge of the game: The players don't wear mitts, but rather catch the ball with their bare hands.
"Is it dangerous? Yah, a lot of hurt fingers, sore hands," said Peterson.
"It was more of a manly sport," said Fesolowich.
And though the game is just for fun, players hope crowds leave having learned a little bit of American history.
"1864 was the time where there was a lot of players and then the game died down. So we're just trying to bring people back on how to play the game again," said Fingers.
"It's the beginning of baseball as you see it now a days," said Fesolowich.