Category Archives: Sports

Articles about Sports and Athetes

The gentlemanly sport of 1860s base ball

Base Ball without the gloves
Base Ball without the gloves

Back in 1860’s when the sport was young the name of the game baseball was two words, not one.  Though some did wear gloves, many base ball players thought it unmanly to do so.

In 1860 the game was played by Beadle’s Rules which is used by many members of the Vintage Base Ball Association.  The fellow with the bat at the home plate was called the striker.  It was the pitcher’s responsibility as a gentleman, to pitch the ball as close to the center of the home base as possible so as to present a hittable ball for the striker.  The pitch was generally an underhand throw, much like pitching a horseshoe.

Pitcher Michael Page following through
Pitcher Michael Page following through

While there were no penalties to the pitcher for a bad throw, there was no room for deception.  If a pitcher were to put a foot beyond the pitcher’s plate (15 yards  from the home base) or were to start a throw without completing it, a baulk would be called and all men running bases would be entitled to advance one base.

Later rules, such as in the 1867 Haney’s Base Ball Book of Reference used by The Greenfield Village National Base Ball Club, allowed the referee to warn the pitcher that he must throw hittable balls if the pitches were not hittable.  If the pitcher continued to throw an additional three unhittable balls, the striker would advance to the first base.

At the end of the game the teams line up and shake hands
At the end of the game the teams line up and shake hands

Similarly, in the 1860 rules, there was no penalty for strikers to pass up good pitches but to swing and miss a pitch was considered a strike and three strikes were an out, ending the batsman’s turn.  In addition to giving more power to keep the pitcher honest, Haney’s also allowed the umpire to warn the batter if they were not swinging at hittable balls.  On subsequent hittable pitches, he would call a strike if the striker didn’t swing.

By Beadle’s Rules a striker with a successful swing was called out if an opposing player caught the ball on the fly or after only one bounce.  By the time Haney’s rules were printed, fair balls had to be caught before the first drop in order to be considered an out though foul balls caught on the first bounce were considered outs as those were harder to catch, being out of the normal playing field.

The Douglas Dutchers Base Ball team
The Douglas Dutchers Base Ball team

For some anachronistic, summertime fun don your Victorian garb and check out an 1860s style base ball game at Greenfield Village, and other venues or join one of the many Vintage Base Ball Association clubs and take a swing at it yourself!

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Is there a drop in your bucket list?

Olga Wilhelmine glides to the Gold Coast Skydivers Drop Zone from a drop almost three miles up!
Olga Wilhelmine glides to the Gold Coast Skydivers Drop Zone from a drop almost three miles up!

This seems to be a year of interesting invitations.  After swimming with the manatee and joining the Orpheus Krewe for their Captain’s Party it was a delight to chat with one of the lovely actresses, Olga Wilhelmine, who road on the Orpheus float with Quentin Tarantino.  Her invitation?  Skydiving with the Gold Coast Skydivers in Lumberton, Mississippi.  Gold Coast Skydivers have been in business for 21 years and according to Drop Zone, have the top rating of 4.96 out of 5 stars based on 191 user reviews.

There were many happy landings Saturday!
There were many happy landings Saturday!

If you have it on your bucket list to skydive once in your life but don’t want to make a hobby of it, you can go for a tandem drop.  Tandem Skydiving is where you are secured in the parachute harness to an experienced skydiving instructor.  It only takes a ten minute briefing before you jump as the instructor is there the entire time.  You jump from the plane at 14,500 feet and freefall for just over a minute before deploying the main parachute.  After the chute opens you and your instructor have another five or so minutes of the spectacular view while floating down to the drop zone below.

This skydiver demonstrates the purpose in wearing a helmet
This skydiver demonstrates the purpose in wearing a helmet

The Gold Coast Skydivers aren’t just for one time drops.  Their trainers can work you through to certification as a skydiver and some of their staff are certified to train skydive trainers.

Skiing through the clouds!
Skiing through the clouds!

Their Accelerated Freefall Program is a combination of ground school and skydiving.  Instead of the ten minute training, for level 1 you have over four  hours of ground training.  For the Accelerated Freefall instead of just going tandem, you have two instructors that accompany you during the drop to ensure your jump goes smoothly.  On both the tandem and AFF jumps you can pay to have video shot of the jump from boarding the plane to landing.  Since this requires someone to hang onto the outside of the plane to catch you jumping, then following you down, then a person on the ground to catch your landing, and someone to process the video, for only $94 it is well worth the price.  Be sure to check out their video of an actually AFF drop.

Ben Crowell instructs the staff and divers on care and safety in parachuting
Ben Crowell instructs the staff and divers on care and safety in parachuting

Saturday was the annual safety day and Ben Crowell, their safety and training advisor, spoke on safety issues.  For an outsider, it was reassuring to listen to Ben speak on what they do to promote safety in their sport and to test the knowledge of those present on the standards of rigging (setting up the parachute  and backup parachute so they will function properly), jumping, and how to appropriately respond to other potential emergencies.

Opening your chute at over two miles up grants a long and beautiful view!
Opening your chute at over two miles up grants a long and beautiful view!

For more photos from Gold Coast Skydivers check out the photo albums from Saturday and if you want to see the world from a different perspective, check out the drop zone at Gold Coast Skydivers!

More about John N Collins

The Weird Review
Steampunk Soiree
Mardigras Memories
The Dorkumentarian
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NWZPaper.com
National Tourism Examiner
National Steampunk Examiner
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National Art Examiner
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Swimming with the Manatee – a fun stop in Crystal River, Florida

Herbert and Zoe Fellerer on the way to swim with the Manatee
Herbert and Zoe Fellerer on the way to swim with the Manatee

When receiving a text out of the blue inviting you to “Swim with the Manatee” it gives one pause to reflect on the turn of phrase.  It sounds a bit like, “Swim with the fishes”, an adventure from which the traveler doesn’t generally return.  For one with a fear of alligators, sharks, and other creepy critters that dwell in the shallows and deeps, it is also a time to reflect on how much you trust those giving the invite.

A Manatee grazing at the bottom
A Manatee grazing at the bottom – the lines on its back may be scars from propeller cuts

Since it was from one of The Weird Review photographers who wants to shoot Mardi Gras in a couple weeks and his daughter, it seemed a good bet that he would be planning on all parties surviving.  Also, the invite was from Zoe who had been on the snorkeling tour before.

A Manatee in the Crystal River
A Manatee in the Crystal River

It was a cold day and the captain of the boat kept the plastic windows shut to protect the passengers from the wind during the trip upriver to the springs area where the Manatee went for warmth.

A Manatee in the Crystal River
A Manatee in the Crystal River praying for warmer weather

It seemed prudent to permit the other snorkelers to have the privilege of getting the first crack at jumping into the water.  Not that there was a concern there might be gators or sharks in the water, but there didn’t seem to be any.  After the initial shock of the jump into the water, and a swim upstream to the springs area, it was actually quite comfortable and significantly warmer than the ambient temperature of the air.  Due to the unusual cold this year, the Manatee are clustering much closer to the springs and other warmer areas which results in an amazing opportunity to swim with the Manatee this year.

Snorkling, swimming, and snapping pics with the Manatee
Snorkling, swimming, and snapping pics with the Manatee

The Manatee are used to people visiting them in their natural habitat so when you visit you are a guest in their home.  Before taking the tour you are required to watch a video and learn what you can and cannot do while visiting the Manatee winter home.  You are not allowed to swim over them, chase them, follow them to the bottom or otherwise molest them.  They do like to have their bellies rubbed though, and will swim up to you for you to rub them.  Right now there are more Manatee at the warm springs than there are humans to rub their bellies so you may find yourself screaming like a girl when you first realize you are surrounded (not that anyone did this of course!) but you soon find them to be gentle and friendly beings who mean you no harm and are just looking for a friendly pat.

An underwater, snorkling selfie in the Crystal River
An underwater, snorkling selfie in the Crystal River

For a first time snorkeler, there is an initial fear of what is beneath the surface, but once you get down to it, it becomes a peaceful experience as the sounds of the world and the possibility of the cell phone ringing fade and the wonders of the water weigh in.  If you can get to the Crystal River area while it is yet winter, stop by the Crystal River Watersports at 2380 N. Suncoast Blvd in Crystal River, Florida for an awesome experience!  (You might want to call them for reservations – (352) 795-7033)

More about John Collins

Interview with Hacksaw Jim Duggan Part 1

Recently The Weird Review had the opportunity for an interview with professional wrestler Hacksaw Jim Duggan at the Eerie Frequency Pop Culture Expo in Niles, Ohio.